Thursday, November 17, 2011

Storming Brookfield and Avoiding Arrest

The time has come
Stay, make a stand for human arrests and get arrested?  Or get the hell out of there?

That was dilemma a group of friends and I faced  on Human Rights Day 2008.

We were protesting against the enforced sexual enslavement of 200,000 women during WWII at the hands of the Japanese military.  We were outside the Japanese embassy and were faced with a wall of Korean riot police.

A vote was cast by the protesters and it was decided that we would retreat and take our message to the street.  My vote was to stay.

In a way, I regret that we retreated.  If we stayed and got arrested, it would have made for a powerful headline: Foreigners gets arrested in Korea on human rights day by the Korean police for protesting human rights violations against Koreans.*

Here is the video that I made about the protest:

I was in a similar position today.  I joined with the Occupy Vancouver movement as an act of solidarity with those protesting in New York (where the shit is hitting the proverbial fan as I write this).

We marched to the Vancouver offices of Brookfield Asset Management.  Brookfield has way too much sway in U.S. Politics.  Michael Bloomberg - the mayor of New York City - is basically Brookfield's bitch.

Inside the reception area for the building Brookfield is in
After some chants outside of the offices, some of the protesters stormed forward and actually went into the building.  Wheee!

Other protesters with hesitant.  There was a line in the sand. Step over that line and arrest became a possibility.

I too hesitated.  I did not want to get arrested.

Why the change of heart compared to that day three years ago?

I am currently applying for permanent residency here in Canada.  If I break the law, it is almost certain that my application will be rejected.

The girl that I love dearly is in Canada. This is where we are building our life together. For the first time in seven or so years I have put down some roots.  I don't want to mess that up.

The occupation of the Brookfield offices did end peacefully. I did enter the building in the end and got a number of pictures.

* The one thousandth protest outside the Korean embassy is happening on December 14th 2011.  If you are in Seoul, I urged you to make your way to the Japanese Embassy and stand with the Korean grandmothers.

There is an event planned for Otawa/Toronto. Contact Angela Lytle at for more info.

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