On Thursday, I went to get groceries with a friend (she isn’t a fan of lugging groceries on a bus). On the way back, the bus driver asked if we were getting off before such-and-such a street. My friend answered that we were getting off at so-and-so street, a block before. The driver then told us that the street in front of city hall was closed because “some Black Lives Matter guys” had painted “Black Lives Matter” on the street. He added that it was vandalism, and the protesters should be jailed.
My friend thanked him for the information, and we got off the bus, unloaded the groceries, and went down to city hall to check it out.
We got there about five hours after the “Defund Police” had been painted, and after the word “Defund” had already been pressure washed off the street. I used my phone for a quick check of social media posts, etc looking for information.
I did notice the City of Hamilton’s twitter post stating the letters had to be removed for “safety reasons”, which sounded a bit contrived. So I looked for myself.
The City was right. Five hours after the letters had been painted, the paint was still wet. I recorded a short video of one of the private contractors pressure washing the paint from the street. If you look carefully, you can see the paint is still at least tacky when the spray from the pressure washer hits it.
If the City had opened Main Street West any time before Mid-afternoon or later the next day, the vehicles travelling over the letter would have smeared the paint, resulting in a mess, and possibly even obscuring the letters themselves after long enough. So avoiding a mess is reason enough to clean it off.
The safety issue is also a valid objection (despite the City of Hamilton’s tendency to label anything a “safety issue” if they find it inconvenient; a trait the City shares with my ex-landlord). Wet paint is slippery.
It would be interesting to see the City of Hamilton’s reaction of this “Artistic Disruption” were repeated with quick setting paint (something that sets solidly in an hour would be perfect). I am genuinely curious as to what the City would do.
The protest was held to coincide with the Hamilton Police Services Board meeting going on at City Hall.
By looking over some of the videos of the protesters in action, I can say that the protesters were disciplined, worked smoothly as a team over a distance and had the whole “mural” painted in under an hour. They were clearly using a hierarchical command structure, and communication devices that were not cell phones. The had drone assets available (there are some lovely overhead photos of the “mural” out there) and dealt with the inevitable (in Hamilton, at least) douchebags in the crowd in a creditable manner:
It was also abundantly clear from some of the videos posted on darknet that the cops had no warning whatsoever this would happen, and no clue what to do about it.
Impressive teamwork. I think the protesters frightened the cops a little.