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Gastown riots

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Gastown riots

The Gastown riot, known also in the plural as Gastown riots, also known as "The Battle of Maple Tree Square," occurred in Youth International Party (Vancouver Yippies)[1] against the use of undercover agents and in favour of the legalization of marijuana. Of around two thousand protesters, 79 were arrested and 38 were charged.[2]

Police were accused of heavy-handed tactics including indiscriminate beatings with their newly issued riot batons. They also used horse-back charges on crowds of onlookers and tourists.[3][4][5]

A commission of inquiry into the incident was headed by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Dohm. The Inquiry cited the Yippies as instigators of the Smoke-In, calling them “intelligent and dangerous individuals,” but was highly critical of the police's conduct and described the incident as a police riot.[6][7]

The Gastown Riots are commemorated in a two-story-high 2009 photo mural called Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971 by local artist Stan Douglas, installed in the atrium of the redeveloped Woodward's Complex.[8][9]

References

  1. ^ "Operation Whirlwind," Georgia Straight, Aug. 3, 1971.
  2. ^ "Gastown Riot". Canada's Human Rights History ( 
  3. ^ "Aldermen seek probe of wild Gastown clash," Vancouver Sun, Aug. 9, 1971.
  4. ^ Collins, Doug (1971-08-15). "Pot and Politics: Canada and the Marijuana Debate - 1971 Gastown riots over Vancouver smoke-in" (video).  
  5. ^ "Photos: The 1971 Gastown riot" (photos).  
  6. ^ "Police charge yippie plot," by Jes Odam, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 1,1971;
  7. ^ "Excessive force cited," by Iain Hunter, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7, 1971.
  8. ^ Kamping-Carder, Leigh (2009). "At The Gastown Riot: Vancouver artist Stan Douglas reimagines a neighbourhood’s troubled past".  
  9. ^ Woo, Andrea (2012-03-02). "Gastown Timeline: From ‘Gassy Jack’ to riot to Woodward’s redevelopment".  
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