A hundred years ago, a lot happened. The first world war for one. Over the next four years, there will be a lot of marking of poignant battles. Recently, the anniversary of the second battle of Ypres – the first test of mettle of the Canadian troops against a German gas attack, the assault of British troops at Gallipoli.
Today, a protest of the Armenian genocide by the Turkish (then of the Ottoman empire). On Parliament, there was a demonstration. Clearly, after 100 years, this hasn’t rested with these people. I went up to the Hill to see the protest, and was surprised at the turnout. So much so, that a large police presence was on hand. As you can see in the photos below, organizers set up two separate areas – one side for the Armenians to protest and display their anger, and the Turks on the the other side, expressing their opinion that the genocide didn’t happen (or maybe to the extent claimed).
Again, the beauty of Canada, both are equally allowed to say what they think, and the entire demonstration was peaceful (that I saw and haven’t seen any other altercations).
Its been an interesting few days, as the eyes of the world focused in on Ottawa and the events that occurred. Living here, and working not a block and a half away from the entire thing, I was front and centre for it all. The building where I work was on lockdown, and I watched from my window as the police gathered, and dispersed to make sure the streets were safe.
Quite. A. Day.
One of the things that I love about the city, and country, is our freedom and openness. As I mentioned earlier in a post, I enjoy walking up to Parliament Hill, and being able to wander the grounds, and be near the building. It is, after all, where things happen. And I liked seeing what the protest of the day was. I have a few photos of various protests. The beauty of the country and city, is that there is freedom of speech, and the freedom to protest whatever you believe in. For example:
The protest against abortion (or something like that, it wasn’t fully clear), but the entire front of the lawn was decked out with pink and blue flags.
And just last week, a small protest about the cancellation of the mail being delivered to homes by Canada Post employees. The protest was surprisingly small, and I only knew of it through some online media which I don’t even recall. There was more media there than actual protesters, but the guy talking was some pissed and shouting his cause.
And finally, this guy, who is there every day. He has his signs, his chair, and rain or shine, he is there for what he believes in. Most people I’ve seen ignore him or at least read the signs. But he has his rights, and he’s exercising them.
Now, I may not agree with their protests, but its their right, and freedom to say what they need to say. That’s the beauty of this awesome country.
But after Wednesday, that bit has been stripped away. Today I walked by the Parliament buildings and the gates were closed, two RCMP per potential opening, and no one on the front lawn, not even old man gay marriage.
The city will stay on alert for a time, just in case some other nut-job tries one on in the same fashion, but I suspect that this freedom that was there before may just not be the same again. Too bad.
Ironically, the same morning as the shooting events, I got off the bus a few stops early, and decided to walk by the Parliament buildings, just because I like to be near them. Its Canada; its history. On my way, I happened to see “old man gay marriage” walking towards his “job” of giving his opinion. Knowing I had the above photo, I thought this would make an interesting post. Little did I know, that an hour later, it would most likely be his last walk there for some time.
Things have changed.