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Olympic Protesters Smash Windows in Downtown Vancouver

The protest was organized by the Olympic Resistance Network

By Lauren Bertolini
|  Saturday, Feb 13, 2010  |  Updated 4:55 PM PDT
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Olympic Protesters Smash Windows in Downtown Vancouver

Getty Images

Vancouver Police surround demonstrators on Robson St. in downtown Vancouver during a protest against the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

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The first day of Olympic competition was marked with conflict as more than 200 masked Olympic protesters took to the streets of downtown Vancouver on Saturday.

The protesters were dressed entirely in black with scarves covering their faces as they vandalized cars and stores in the upscale neighborhood.

 A video released by the Vancouver Media Coop shows a protestor dressed kicking in a shop window. Another shot shows the Hudson's Bay Company display window shattered by a metal newspaper box.

A group of protesters chanted "Homes not games," and "No Olympics on stolen native land," while beating drums, according to CTV.

Police Chief Jim Chu said seven protesters were arrested on a variety of charges, after police in riot gear quickly moved in and quashed the protest. One of the protestors faces weapons possession charges. Chu said the protestor had a bicycle chain wrapped around his fist and was threatening passers-by.

The protest was organized by the Olympic Resistance Network, an umbrella group for many causes surrounding the games, ranging from environmental concerns to economic issues.

As heard in the protesters' chants, the ORN focuses on native Indians who wish to reclaim their land and anger over the amount of money spent on the Olympics versus public housing.

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe of ORN told CTV that the protest was planned as "a day of autonomous actions, independent groups, with a diversity of tactics around the Olympics."

Westergard-Thorpe also told CTV that she does not consider the action of the protesters "violent" because no-one was hurt.

The ORN staged a mostly peaceful anti-Olympics event on Friday evening called "Take Back Our Streets," with protesters marching to the stadium where the opening ceremony was held.

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