Agents provocateurs were outed at the FTAA protest in Montebello in August 2007. I expect they’re at it again in BC on the first day of the Olympic torch relay, this time with marbles.
The huge contingent of police officers watched as the group blocked traffic in several major intersections and even threw marbles at the feet of horses used by the Vancouver police mounted squad.
Victoria police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton said “restraint was the order of the day” Friday night, explaining that officers did what they could to keep the peace. There were no torch-related arrests in Victoria Friday, Hamilton said.
Let’s start with initial media reports of protesters throwing marbles on the ground in front of or at the feet of police horses.
Then we hear of reports from the protesters and observers that no protesters threw marbles.
Then as of 4pm yesterday, CanWest stories of protesters accusing police of throwing the marbles, on at least the Ottawa Citizen and Victoria Times-Colonist websites, are “not available.” Maybe they’ll return again.
At this stage, it’s unclear who threw marbles, or if they were thrown at all. Civil liberties observers saw no marbles at all.
At this stage, we have ambiguity.
Those who like to believe the police and the $1b VANOC security force are good people who would never lie or entrap or discredit protest can shake their heads at the mean protesters who want to kill horses.
But anyone who paid attention to the FTAA meetings in Montebello, Quebec in August 2007 knows that protesters caught on film 3 police officers dressed as protesters, with faces covered and rocks in hand prepared to incite violence.
If you weren’t one of the almost half a million people to watch the footage, you can see it here.
Within days the Quebec government admitted the masked men were police officers.
And from VANOC’s perspective, that was probably a critical error in their game plan. Don’t admit anything, then the ambiguity allows people who lean your way anyway to believe the dastardly deed was actually committed by the protesters.
So we start with marbles and as the quote above indicates, stoking public sympathy by talking about police retaining order and restraint, keeping the peace and making no arrests.
You can be sure that if the marbles came from the Olympic security forces, the next action from agents provocateurs will take advantage of this goodwill they’re building in the public to step up their interventions.