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‘I don’t think buildings have feelings’, protester says

A violent protest Saturday morning that saw windows smashed and at least seven arrests was called a success by an Olympics Resistance Network organizer.

“For the militants, it’s good,” the ORN’s Gord Hill told reporters at an afternoon press conference at Pigeon Park. “For the resistance, it’s good.”

Only hours before, dozens of riot cops cracked down on a protest march through downtown Vancouver.

Many activists appeared peaceful. But a sizeable contingent of black-clad protesters with covered faces used newspaper boxes as battering rams to smash storefront windows. Activists tussled with police and several were hit with wooden batons.

Hill was unapologetic about the actions of militant protesters. “I don’t think buildings have feelings. They are not comprised of vital organs and tissue,” he said.

Any property damage was minor, Hill said, and directed at major corporations. Protesters broke windows at the Bay and TD Bank. They also smashed SUV lights, tipped a scooter onto its side and flipped a city dumpster.

Hill suggested a repeat of today was unlikely at future protests.

“I cannot speak for everyone in a social movement,” he said. “I can tell you the rest of the planned actions do not have the same militant aspect to them.”

The Vancouver Police Department confirmed seven arrests from today’s demonstration. Resistance Network organizers estimated 13 to 15 people were arrested, many of whom were innocent of any wrongdoing.

“Vancouver Police respect the rights of those who wish to express their criticism but that does not give them right to commit crimes and jeopardize the public's safety,” read a VPD statement issued today.

Protesters spat on, kicked and taunted officers in an apparent attempt to provoke a confrontation, the VPD said.

“The criminal element apparently willing to wield anything that might cause damage or injury marched among about 200 legitimate protestors this morning,” the statement read.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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