Protest leaders not immune from disruptive behaviour
Vancouver's ardent anti-Olympic protesters may have thought they had a higher purpose in speaking out for the poor and homeless, but some of them found out Saturday they just don't get no respect.
Some anti-Olympic protest organizers learned they weren't immune from disruptive behaviour when they tried to hold a news conference to discuss the fallout from a vandalism-marred march that morning.
The meeting with reporters was held at Pigeon Park, a little tree-studded corner of concrete on Vancouver's gritty Downtown Eastside, usually home to drug dealers and their clients.
Coalition spokeswoman Alissa Westergard-Thorpe was explaining to reporters how the riot earlier in the day that resulted in seven arrests wasn't really violence and that the march was a successful effort to showcase the issues such as homelessness and poverty.
But as she spoke a lean, bearded middle-aged man loomed over her.
"I've got a warrant for your arrest," said the man, who later identified himself Khatsahlano, an aboriginal name also tagged to Vancouver's upscale Kitsilano district that is so not the Downtown Eastside.
He told a reporter later that he lives in a tent on the sixth floor of a vacant building in the neighbourhood.
"Can we talk when I'm done?" said Westergard-Thorpe as another activist tried to tug him out of the media scrum. "If you'll just give me a second."
Khatsahlano went back to adjusting a display he'd set up on the back wall that included some native art and a picture of Elvis. But soon he came storming back.
"Aren't we here for trouble, everybody? Trouble's our middle name," he yelled in his outside voice, as another unidentified man wailed in the background in English and Spanish.
"We need to hear big voices," said Khatsahlano. "It's a great thing that's happening with the Olympics, and the protests. The protests, ladies and gentlemen, is a big thing."
When aboriginal activist Gord Hill's turn came to speak, he was back.
"Welcome to the Downtown Eastside," said Hill.