If there’s one thing that can be agreed on since Vancouver radicals upped the ante with an arson in May- the city is in a bit of a pickle. There are individuals in the Downtown Eastside who’ve been radicalizing parts of the community for years. And, now, it’s got to the point where political extremists are running around with torches believing the city is all theirs.
What comes next in the progression from traffic blocking, to flaming torches, to arson is anybody’s guess…
Currently the most potent symbol of the fight against gentrification is the Pidgin restaurant. Pidgin is a mid-priced establishment built across the street from Pidgin park, a gathering place for many of the city’s poorest people. Pidgin’s average priced dish is $12-$16, one of the lowest priced options is the “daily pickles” which costs $5.
Protesters have taken focus on the $5 pickles, sometimes inflating the price (as high as $8), and often misrepresenting the dish as a single pickle. The (anarchist) Vancouver Media Co-Op encapsulated the pickle meme well with their picture gallery titled The Pickle Makes Us Strong.
As part of their campaign Pidgin protesters created a mascot they named “The People’s Pickle”. The pickle was left in the entrance of the Pidgin one rainy day last week. Five minutes later, when the protesters returned, they claimed the pickle was no longer there. The protesters cried foul play- an unconfirmed report indicates one or more protesters may have tried to enter the restaurant to recover the missing pickle.
Intentional or not, it seems like the pickle was a trap. Anyone who took the responsibility to move the pickle out of the way put themselves at risk of retaliation, a booby trap, or something worse. The People’s Pickle should have more rightly been called the Trojan Pickle. An unconfirmed source indicates the pickle was taken away by someone at the restaurant.
When Vancouver Police spokesman Randy Fincham was contacted about the missing pickle he initially responded saying it may be difficult to locate any records on the pickle unless I had a report number or the name of the officer involved. But after some clarification by email he was able to provide an answer.
The People’s Pickle is now in the custody of the Vancouver Police after being turned over to them by an unnamed party. According to Fincham, “Investigators are in the process of attempting to return the pickle to its lawful owner”. The mystery of the missing pickle is over, but there’s possibly more still to come of this story.
If it’s accurate that someone blocked the front door with the pickle this may be looked at the same way as Robyn Claire Pickell was charged (that name isn’t a typo) for trying to lock Pidgin’s front door shut with a chain. In both cases people could have got hurt if there was a fire. And, if one or more protesters tried to get into the back door, they could be charged for trespassing.
The VPD’s Fincham wasn’t able to provide details of any ongoing investigations. But, he was able to confirm ongoing problems with the Pidgin picket, saying: “There are demonstrators that continue to push the limits of what would be deemed a “peaceful protest”. Investigations into the actions of demonstrators at Pidgin Restaurant are ongoing.”
No spokesperson from the Pidgin restaurant was available to comment today.
The Pidgin protest has been ongoing for a few months and the only thing that’s been accomplished seems to be the wastage of countless hours of activist, police and government resources. The public has got quite tired with this protest, and the police are stuck having to investigate pickle capers. Meanwhile real people, with real problems, are being left without the help they so desperately need. That’s tragic.
The Pidgin protesters (and their supporters) should be real proud of themselves…