Saturday, June 30, 2007


Subject: Why anti-Atlantica protesters wear masks

I am writing in response to Jack Yazer’s letter (Black masks unnecessary for Canadian protests, June 30).

People in Canada are purported to be free in their expression and beliefs. However, everyone who harbors beliefs that endanger the status quo are targeted usually by the violent arm of the state, that is, the police or the military.

When attending any protest in Canada, it is advisable to bring a handkerchief soaked in vinegar in a sealed plastic bag, to use as a breathing filter when the crowd gets sprayed. This protection can be seen as obscuring your identity, which is nevertheless preferable to inhaling the crowd-subduing chemicals. Tightly sealed eye goggles are necessary, if not a clean gas mask with a fresh filter, long sleeves, and jeans to protect against the various irritating chemical sprays, powders, dogs, and police who drag arrestees.

There were (no doubt) many reasons why the legitimate anti-Atlantica protesters wore black masks. Jack Yazer was correct to identify that black masks are characteristic to the Palestinian intifada. Black masks are/were characteristic to the Chinese pro-democracy movement, the South African transition, the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Spanish anarchists, the (successful) anti-World Trade Organization Black Bloc affinity group strategy, and worldwide actions of ecodefense, etc. In fact, black masks are typical of direct action everywhere. Anti-Atlantica protestors may be identifying themselves as allies of these various movements by wearing black.

That said, infiltrators or agents provocateurs can disguise their identities behind masks as well!

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