2010 protest questions answered

We know that protesters at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will have the benefit of trained human rights observers to ensure that security forces stay within bounds.

But what information is out there for run-of-the-mill Games visitors on the reasons for the protests and how they might unfold?

Well, the reasons  are complex and the nature of the protests are, as Donald Rumsfeld might say, a “known unknown.” The FAQ page at the N02010 website has this to say:

FAQ: Why do anti-Olympic groups vandalize businesses and even carry out arson attacks?

Groups that carry out militant direct action are just one part of the anti-Olympics movement. Most do not carry out vandalism or arson. Those that do have targeted corporate sponsors of the Olympics as a form of sabotage (along with police & military targets). This can increase the costs for corporations seeking to profit from the Games, and could potentially deter some corporate investment. All militant direct actions that have occurred have consisted of property damage and no person has been injured as a result.

So you should be fine, but watch out for fires and broken glass.

According to Gord Hill,  a  No2010 activist, the disruption has been effective:

Over the last three years, the anti-Olympic movement has forced the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) off the streets, to the point where it no longer holds large, public ceremonies (as it did in 2007). Anytime the organizing committee does have events, it requires a large policing operation to secure them. This is because we have successfully used direct action to disrupt Olympic events.

VANOC forced off the streets? Not in my neighbourhood.