Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Spirit Train Disrupted, Banner Dropped from Train

Spirit Train Disrupted, Banner Dropped from Train

On September 29, 2008 around 30 protesters greeted the Canadian Pacific Railway “Olympic Spirit Train” as it brought its propaganda machine through Edmonton. Highlighting that the train and the Olympic Games are interlinked with the same corporations carrying out the largest industrial project on earth known as the Tar Sands, protesters disrupted the “spirit train” celebrations with the spirit of resistance. Under the slogan of “No Games, No Tar Sands on Native Land!” demonstrators from the the community of Fort Chipewyan in “Alberta” came in solidarity to act with Native 2010 Resistance, the Olympics Resistance Network, Edmonton Anarchist Black Cross and the Indigenous Environmental Network to let the public know what’s wrong with the Olympics and the Tar Sands. Their message articulated the vast increases in Indigenous land displacement, homelessness and the expansion of environmental destruction brought about by the corporate agenda around the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Tar Sands-- most notably by CP Railways, Petro-Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Protesters distributed flyers, stickers and balloons for children and youth with counter-2010 information on both and used their presence and their voices to confront the “festivities” and alert the larger Edmonton public to the massive destruction being wrought on peoples and the land. Chanting slogans aimed at the event, protesters were met by police who forced them back with bicycles, only to see the crowd regroup and continue to dispel the notion of an “apolitical event”. During the disruption in front of the “spirit” train stage, police cordoned off protesters using force and moved them back, while also putting their hands into the megaphones being used by protesters. The corralling of protesters by police was an attempt to hide and quell protest efforts, however, the ‘safety zone’ protesters were pushed to actually became an area of interest for high school students who showed up in the hundreds to listen to what the demonstrators had to say. Some students became very interested in learning what the protesters had to say and engaged in dialogue on the spot, creating a victory for outreach and education.

During the event, two protesters managed to scale the “Spirit Train” itself and hang a giant banner that read “Resist 2010” containing one of the symbols of the spirit of resistance-- a thunderbird flying off with the five ring symbol of the Games. After affixing the banner to the train the two protesters managed to successfully escape on foot, fleeing the train and eluding police capture. Police climbed aboard the train and removed the banner.

The event marked another victory against the propaganda machine of the 2010 Games and the Tar Sands Gigaproject. Protesters urge continued solidarity with the resistance in Vancouver as the train moves through to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Mississauga, Smith's Falls and finally Montréal. The largest spectacle in the world of the 2010 Games and the largest industrial project in history of the tar sands continue to displace Indigenous populations, lead to the vast expansion of homelessness and environmental destruction and we will continue to see more and more resistance to their attempts to escalate corporate domination, environmental destruction and massive human rights abuses.

Edmonton organizers strongly encourage people in the cities yet to be visited by the Spirit Train to continue to escalate the campaign to disrupt the propaganda machine and expose the Olympics and the Tar Sands projects as great threats to human and ecological survival with creative and disruptive forms of resistance.

No Games, No Tar Sands on Native Land! Homes not Games! Protect the Earth from corporate destruction!

For more information, please check:

macdonald@oilsandstruth.org (Edmonton)
edmontonabc@riseup.net (Edmonton)
ienoil@igc.org (Ottawa)
Olympics Resistance Network (Vancouver)

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