Cross-Canada day of Action Against Olympics and Tar Sands Greenwashing, called by the Indigenous Environmental Network, and other groups.
Besides the London event, there were also protests held in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, and other cities and towns across the country. (There was even an event in London, England, timed to coincide with the Canadian protests.) In each city, the focus was the same: we were trying to raise awareness about and to protest against the social dislocation and environmental destruction associated with the Olympics and its leading sponsors, including RBC (the leading financier of tar sands projects) and PetroCanada/Suncor (which directly operates six tar sands projects).
The tar sands, in Alberta, are the world's most environmentally destructive energy source. 'Tailing ponds' of toxic waste from the tar sands are known to be poisoning the drinking water and food sources of Indigenous communities downstream along the Athabasca River, leading to demonstrably elevated cancer and death rates in those communities, not to mention the massive contribution of tar sands projects to climate change.
The notorious National Post editorial board, responding to the protests, denounced us as "spoilsports" for demanding social and environmental justice. If nothing else, we can take some pride in that.
The London event was organized out of the Activist Assembly, with the support of Mobilization for Climate Justice-London and other groups and individuals.
Outside the McDonald's we used our megaphone to lead ourselves and a number of sympathetic passersby in chants, including, "What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!"
Over the course of the day, hundreds of Londoners were given copies of various leaflets exposing the corporate greenwashing and social and environmental injustice associated with the 2010 Olympics and their leading sponsors. And the campaign to put a stop to the disastrous tar sands mega-project received a very real boost.
Check out some great photos from the event here.
The author of this report is an activist in Mobilization for Climate Justice-London.