|Reactions to the FTAA Summit|
Women's Action was peaceful and beautiful [Thursday]. We gathered at
the women's space and processed behind a 15-foot Goddess puppet on wheels,
called Nemesis. It was built by some of the Quebecois women.
Women from the Maquiladoras in Mexico were with us, as well as the founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. We had a joyful march, with people waving at us from their windows. At the perimeter, the police hung back and we were all able to approach the fence, hang the amazing weavings that women had brought, and weave yarn into the fence.
I met Maria Eva, one of the women who were part of the training I did in Argentina. We hung the banner she had brought from the Primavera de Praga group and wove through it the ribbons from our group of women in Cazadero.
People were drumming and dancing, but at a certain moment, Sappho, one of the Quebecois Witches, got them all into a circle and we began a spiral dance. The women of the Garden Affinity Group brought in their wonderful web and did their weaving ritual in the midst of the spiral, and we raised an amazing cone of power that just rang through the streets of the city.
As we grounded, I looked over and saw Nora Cortines from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, grounding with us. She sat up and spoke of the 30,000 activists who had been killed by their dictatorship, and we felt them enter the circle. Some of us went out and joined the CLAC march for a bit -- also a powerful, angry and beautiful energy.
On Friday, our plan was just to flow, stopping for ritual and to read the Cochabamba Declaration and to divide at a certain point at which people were willing to take more risk might go one way, and others stay safe. As we processed on the safe street, we heard that the CLAC march had arrived and had taken down the fence! Willow and I literally jumped for joy!
We began to regroup to head up there, getting reports of tear gas and battle above. We slowly worked our way to the edge of the fighting. People were streaming down the street to get away from the tear gas. At a certain point, we stopped and made a circle and sang, "Hold on, hold on, hold the vision that's being born." We processed up the street, singing and holding a grounding energy, making our way to the top of Rene Levesque where a pitched battle was going on in front of the theatre. We walked in to cheers by much of the Black Bloc. We again formed a circle and began a spiral. It was a marvelous, magical life changing moment -- to keep chanting and dancing joyfully with tear gas cannisters flying all around us, provicing an energetic centre. But finally the tear gas got a little too close. We all got hit and had to leave. But we were able to leave calmly, staying together and helping each other and others who had been hit.
We regrouped down below and went to another blockade at Richelieu. It was peaceful, but a bit disconnected when we got there. But again, people cheered the River, we formed a circle and did a spiral, and we had a wide view beyond the city just as the sun was setting. The whole area was full of very toxic-feeling gas residue, riot cops were coming down the street and massing on out other exit routes. So at that point, we beat a strategic retreat and decided we had done enough for the day.
All night long, there were clouds of tear gas over the city -- so heavy we couldn't open our doors or window.
|Ero Talvila writes from Toronto.|