Three social activists were assaulted and arrested by police on August 31st while distributing The Fire This Time newspaper in a Vancouver metro station. This happened despite the fact that Translink rules explicitly authorize the distribution of “printed material for non-commercial purposes” within its facilities.
The activists had already been handing out their paper for an hour when two Translink officers asked them to leave. The activists refused to leave while reminding the agents of the posted rules. A dozen RCMP cops were then called in and arrested the activists. The cops also seized the remaining 150 copies of the newspaper and deleted the video that one of the acivists had filmed from his cell phone. Fortunately, several witnesses also filmed the scene, which is now widely available on the Web.
On September 7, nearly 75 people attended a public forum to condemn this political repression. The BC Civil Liberties Association requested Translink investigate why their officers ignored the activists’ freedom of expression. Meanwhile, The Fire This Time supporters resumed the distribution of the newspaper in various subway stations.
The Fire This Time presents itself as a “movement for social justice.” The group was created in 2003 following a split from the Anti-Poverty Committee. Its monthly newspaper is circulated widely with the objective of promoting social struggles and international solidarity.
As a mass newspaper upholding communism and revolution, it goes without saying that the Partisan condemns political repression against The Fire This Time activists and expresses to them its complete solidarity.
For more information on the fight against political repression in Vancouver: http://stoppoliceassault.com.