Although the Vancouver 2010 Olympics already officially kicked off yesterday, anti-Olympics protesters are still in full force. Yesterday, protesters managed to force the torch relay to be re-routed; this morning, they also started a riot in downtown Vancouver.
Amidst all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder: are these protesters getting their message across or they somehow giving their own cause a disservice?
A quick glance over Twitter trending topics and over my Facebook page suggests the latter. Some of my Facebook friends who are not Olympic fans are even condemning of these riots themselves.
We’ve heard all the anti-Olympics sentiments before. In fact, in BC, the popularity of the Olympics is not as high as the rest of Canada. We know that our governments should be taking care of housing and poverty issues. We’ve all heard the argument regarding the spending and the debt that comes with the Olympics. Make no doubt about it: these issues are also in the minds of most British Columbians as the Olympics open.
But I also think that while we all have the right to express ourselves, we also have the responsibility of doing so in a safe manner. Violence, regardless of how passionate you are about your issue, is not the answer. Vandalizing businesses, kicking cars, threatening the media and wearing masks while doing so is cowardly. It makes you look like a party-pooper without a purpose. It short, it doesn’t accomplish anything positive.
As the taxpayers who paid for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, all BC residents likely have at least some reservations with this event. But the Olympics are here now – don’t we have a responsibility to welcome our guests and make sure that they feel safe?