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It would almost be funny if it wasnt for the more than 100 RCMP officers surrounding the demonstration with riot clubs at the ready, some standing just back of the crowd with tear gas grenade launchers at the ready. A police helicopter circled overhead, and the sound of the crowd was almost drowned out by the barking of police German shepherds who looked like they ate hippies for breakfast.
Although they were expecting 500 protesters, including some of the same kinds of radicals who turned anti-globalization demonstrations in Vancouver, Seattle and Quebec City into riots, the police presence seemed excessive.
When the protesters chanted "Two, four, six, eight, we dont want a police state" and "this is what a police state looks like this is what a police state looks like" I could see what they meant.
Rather than backing off and letting the protest run its haphazard course, they seemed determined to get in the faces of the activists. They made a few questionable arrests for disturbing the peace, and when a scuffle broke out along the police line when the protesters who were in the parking lot attempted to succor the protesters who were being arrested in another area, a scuffle broke out that culminated in an officer shooting pepper spray into the eye of a 56-year-old Vancouver woman up for the protest who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If there were any doubt who the real enemy was, the police or the PNWER, these incidents erased them.
The protesters united briefly to march on police headquarters, and the police obliged them with a march down Village Gate, under the Ted Nebbeling Bridge while hundreds of tourists making vacation movies followed them with video cameras. The police then hemmed them in at Blackcomb Way, and forced them back to the parking lot and the buses they came in. It was a trap and the activists fell for it.