25 students detained during peaceful protest

(restructured post for new readers)

Students peacefully protest the arrest of a fellow student Photocredit: Geoff Dunbrack

On April 4th students lit a bonfire and held a music and dance night in support of the grassy knoll on campus. The Fire Department arrived to put out the large bonfire, and this escalated into a number of confrontations and students being arrested.

The press release below was sent to me before there was anything to be found on the RCMP media website or any other news source, but from the limited information I can’t help but wonder if the police used unnecessary force if its intentions were to put out a bonfire. While I don’t think the police needs to act differently in a student space from anywhere else (as the press release suggests), the police conduct makes me think of 1968 Germany.

I ask that anonymous comments be at least signed with initials.

Press release from Students for a Democratic Society as well as more photos behind the jump.


Today a peaceful celebration in defence of public space at UBC was violently quashed by the RCMP. This press release was written on April 5th at 1 a.m. with limited available information. All the events discussed herein have been either captured by camera or can be corroborated by multiple eyewitness accounts.

On Friday, April 4th, UBC students loosely associated with Trek Park and SDS held “Knoll Aid 2.0,” a musical celebration of public space on campus. Knoll Aid 2.0 was part of a larger campaign against the commercialization of campus, the demolition of the grassy knoll, and the development of a $40 underground bus-loop. Knoll Aid 2.0 was an overwhelmingly peaceful event and featured local musicians, free food, and three simultaneous petition drives. It was attended by primarily UBC students.

Though Knoll Aid 2.0 began at noon on Friday, at around 8:00/8:30 RCMP and the Fire department arrived at the area known as “Trek Park” (a liberated space near the grassy knoll) because some students had created a small bonfire. Citing a bylaw violation, the RCMP approached one student, Stefanie Ratjen, in a rather aggressive manner and began speaking with her. After a dialogue, the contents of which are still unknown, Stefanie was grabbed by an RCMP officer and thrown to the ground, pinned, and handcuffed. Her face was literally shoved in a puddle of mud while an RCMP officer sat on top of her. After this uncalled act of police aggression, fellow students came to her aid. One musician was immediately arrested for questioning the RCMP officer’s treatment of Stefanie. For approx. two hours students formed a chain to protest RCMP action and several students attempted to peacefully negotiate the release of Stefanie and the musician (whose name at this point is unknown). During this time approx. 30 RCMP cars with officers from across Vancouver and the lower mainland including Richmond came to UBC. Campus security was also present and threatened to discipline students if they did not cooperate with the RCMP. Police officers systematically attempted to break the human chain students had formed by pushing, shoving and kicking. RCMP officers randomly arrested any student present at the scene including Bahram Norouzi who was arrested in the middle of a CTV interview. At around 10:30 p.m. on approx. 25 students were arrested and detained. They were brought to a Main and Hastings detention center where they presently still remain.

This press release would like to draw attention to the conduct of the RCMP. A university is intended for students, not the police. Upon entering student space, the police should have had the decency, at the very least, to deal with students in a respectful and dignified manner. Instead, RCMP officers were highly aggressive and belligerent. RCMP officers committed gross abuses of power by, for example, threatening to release dogs on students and pointing taser guns at students that were already pinned down to the floor. The actions of RCMP officers are testament of police misconduct, if not brutality. We demand the release of all students arrested and demand that all charges be dropped. Furthermore, we demand an inquiry of the RCMP’s actions in relation to this event and the treatment of students. Lastly, we demand that UBC administration defends student’s rights to a peaceful protest.

To repeat, this was a peaceful celebration/concert in defence of public space. The RCMP had no right to violently quash a peaceful student protest.


Trek Park for the People

Students for a Democratic Society

Student Environment Center

Social Justice Center

Here are some photos taken by students on the scene.

Photocredit: Geoff Dunbrack


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