Monday, November 17, 2008

Down with this sort of thing

Saturday morning, and the rain is hanging around in clumpy clouds, but it’s not falling yet. My jacket is damp anyway. It’ll hold off for a few hours.
Victoria Park is busier than I expected. A flash of lights and burp of a siren tells me the police are here. Strange – I’m here for an anti-Scientologist protest. That’ll only be a few guys, but there’s two dozen people milling about. I ask around. Anti-poverty rally. That’s what the cops are here for, too.
I find one of the anti-Scientologists hanging around in the corner. We chat. He’s got a friend with him, but the friend is here to protest poverty, not cults. The religious protester is young, dressed in a nice black suit, red shirt, black shoes. A step up from the casual clothes he wore when I interviewed him yesterday. The friend is younger, pimply. He speaks with excessive confidence, but I can see the nervousness under the surface.
The Scientologist goes for breakfast at McDonald’s. Conversation halts. Something catches the young guy’s eye and he walks off quickly, after politely excusing himself. He reaches up a telephone pole and, carefully, using both hands, pulls off a “9/11 was an inside job” sticker.
He won’t tell me why, apart from that they all live in their parents’ basements. He smiles when he says it, like it’s obvious from there.
The anti-Scientologist comes back, eats his lunch. There’s a big crowd now, 35 people, and four or five cop cars.
A few more anti-Scientologists show up. As I’m chatting with the first guy, he straps on a V is for Vendetta mask. The others follow suit. It’s hard to chat with a guy in a V is for Vendetta mask.
A cop comes over. Friendly, he makes sure they’re not up to no good. He smiles, but it’s just on his lips.
The religious protesters decide to head down Spring Garden Road, handing out pamphlets warning against a dangerous cult that takes over people’s minds. They do this in V for Vendetta masks, and people aren’t sure. Most take a pamphlet, but I think it’s just Halifax politeness.
I take my photo – that’s what I’m there for – and leave them to it.
I make it home before the rain starts.


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