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#ShutDownCanada action in Regina fails and succeeds at the same time.

Police knew plan in advance, but economic disruption happened anyway.

by Daniel Johnson

#ShutDownCanada action in Regina fails and succeeds at the same time.
Photo by Jim Russel's
Photo by Jim Russel's
#ShutDownCanada action in Regina fails and succeeds at the same time.
#ShutDownCanada action in Regina fails and succeeds at the same time.

The plan for Regina was conceived with safety of participants  in mind. The plan was to activate the rail signalling system at the Albert Street crossing, to safely block the street using the rail crossing while also delaying the train scheduled to leave the oil refinery down the line we were on.

  Banners from the light platforms over the street were also part of the plan, but that was also prevented by heavy police presence. 

I went to trigger the signal, it didn't start, nothing, I realized the signalling system had been deactivated, and the plan had to change.

Then suddenly I was surrounded by cops. They knew everything. The RCMP told me they had arranged for the line to be stopped and the signalling system to be deactivated. I can only speculate as to how they found out, there are many ways they could have found out. 

But what I know is they were ready and waiting. 

 They could have charged me with a lot of things, but they didn't.

I walked across the street to where people were waiting for the action to start, to tell them it wasn't starting. I was surrounded by media. Every major media outlet was there, we had generated a lot of interest leading up to the action, and now I had to explain that it wasn't happening, or at least not happening the way that was planned. 

   So we just blocked the street off and on the old fashioned way, without the signalling system, until police intervened once again. 

   I haven't watched any of the news stories yet. 

  We succeeded because police had to block the line to prevent the action we originally planned, delaying the train without us seeing it, and we also blocked Albert Street off and on for quite awhile before they stopped us. 

   But it was not the success it could have been. 

  I would also like to clarify a dispute, and deal with some accusations pointed at non-indigenous organizers in general, and myself in particular. 

  Our understanding of the action when we first started organizing the Regina event was that #ShutDownCanada was to be an economic disruption to undermine Harper's government, that anyone who felt that this was a positive strategy was welcome to join for whatever reasons they had for doing so, but that they wanted the missing and murdered indigenous women to be one of the central causes. 

    Shortly after we started, organizers in Regina were quietly and politely asked by a small group of #MMIW activists, including an elder I've long respected, to not make the stolen sisters a central cause in our event.

   They said they could see why we wanted to do it in relation to environmental issues, and stopping Harper, but that they didn't feel it was an effective strategy in connection with the #MMIW issue. We respected this, and kept environmental issues at the center of our messaging. Now there are other people criticizing us for not focusing on #MMIW.

We can't please everyone, especially while blocking traffic on a major city street at one of the busiest times of the day. 

Global News coverage of #ShutDownCanada Regina

CBC News coverage of #ShutDownCanada Regina

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Daniel Johnson (Daniel Johnson)
Regina Sask
Member since Août 2013


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