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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-06-10 04:35 AM
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Protesters amass ahead of Olympics

Thousands of domestic demonstrators prepare to rally as the Olympic Resistance Network, which opposes what it sees as the Games' corporate culture, in Vancouver. Officials back off plans to stop them.

By Kim Murphy

February 6, 2010

Reporting from Vancouver, Canada - While past Olympics have been magnets for protests over issues such as aboriginal rights in Australia and oppression in Tibet, the Vancouver Winter Games are preparing to host one of the biggest displays ever of organized opposition to the Olympics themselves.

Building on years of disgruntlement over the increasingly corporate nature of the Games -- and widespread alarm over a projected $5.6-billion price tag -- a resistance network has vowed to post thousands of protesters outside venues, some of whom aim to disrupt the events.

Security analysts have warned that such domestic protesting is as great a threat to the seamless unfolding of the Games as the possibility of a terrorist attack.

Canadian officials, however, have promised to give the demonstrators as much leeway as possible, backing off plans to ban signs, cordon off protesters and use high-tech sonic weapons to disperse unruly crowds.

That open door reflects not only British Columbia's tradition of tolerance and commitment to free speech, but also an acknowledgment of Vancouver residents' reservations about hosting the Games, the infrastructure for which will probably take years to pay off.

In recent weeks, politicians and small-business owners have been among those raising questions about whether the two-week event, which begins Friday, can possibly be worth the large public expenditures, traffic disruptions and environmental damage.

"Some people are always going to love the Olympics, but most people just want it to go away," said Chris Shaw, an ophthalmology professor at the University of British Columbia who wrote a book arguing that Vancouver's bid was an excuse for real estate developers to launch a multibillion-dollar, publicly financed building boom.


An array of groups with individual agendas will descend on Vancouver, much as they have during other high-profile events like World Trade Organization and G-20 meetings: North American aboriginal groups that say the games are being hosted on unceded "stolen land." Conservationists alarmed at the construction of the 62-mile Sea to Sky Highway connecting the city to the skiing venues at Whistler. Opponents of tar sands oil development in northern Canada. Anti-poverty activists who say the Olympics have further marginalized Vancouver's poorest residents.

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Countdown_3_2_1 Donating Member (778 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-06-10 05:19 AM
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1. This is Pathetic. Protest the Olympics?
The ideal is humankind united behind a love of sports.

But no, the professional protesters have to ruin even this.
There are noble causes, but this is not one of them. Go home.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-06-10 05:34 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. oh, please. The Olympics is nothing but politics and corporatism.
We don't cheer for individual athletes because we admire their athleticism; we cheer for them because of what country they represent. We didn't go to the 1980 Olympics for political reasons, and the Soviets didn't come to LA in 1984 for political reasons.

A host country use the Olympics to demonstrate how superior they are to other countries. The countries that win the most medals use the occasion to brag how superior they are to other countries.

They cost billions of dollars to put on, benefit their people in the host countries not one whit except in leaving a giant tax bill.

They attract massive corporate sponsorship; athletes compete in order to gain the giant monetary benefits from winning.

Marginal "sports" are added year after year solely to allow countries to drag in more medals, rather than out of concern a real sport is not being represented.

Athletes routinely cheat using steroids or doping, all in the quest to gain lucrative endorsement deals after they win medals.

Olympic officials and delegates are routinely bribed by potential host countries, so being an Olympic official is a lucrative way to get money.

There's nothing left of sportsmanship in the Olympics. It's all politics, money, and corporatism.
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Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-06-10 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. "Nothing left"...what bullshit.
There are still athletes...and yes, while many of them are hoping for a big payday they believe will come with winning an Olympic gold medal, others are truly just seeking to challenge themselves and see how much they can accomplish when they put themselves to the test.

Their motivations are pure and can never be tainted by anything else...not by politics, not by nationalism, not by commercialism, not by the cheating of others, not by the bribery of officials.

And the Olympics offer these athletes the opportunity to come together, across the boundaries of sports, to become friends, to get to know people who don't all share their language and life experiences, to feel what it's like to be part of something bigger than themselves.

So long as those athletes exist, the Olympics, with all its other flaws, will be worthwhile.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-06-10 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. How dare they exercise their free speech rights, hey?
They should save them for when they really need them, like "dry powder"!

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