Arrests made at Cannabis Day event at Vancouver Art Gallery (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Dec 19 2017, 3:58 pm

A few dozen protesters clashed with police Wednesday morning at the annual Cannabis Day protest on the south grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Demonstrators and officers were shouting and shoving, and some people were placed in handcuffs, though it’s not clear what sparked the turmoil.

The crowd had been chanting, “Let them go! Let them go!”

Police had confronted event organizers earlier in the day. Two people were arrested at the event after officers saw someone openly selling pot, including to youth, and refused to stop.

  • UPDATE 6:10 p.m. – Vancouver Police say four people were arrested, not two.

Organizer Jeremiah Vandermeer says only a few tents and tables were set up on the south plaza steps when the situation became tense.

“The city and police surrounded us with a whole bunch of cops and city officials trying to force us to shut down the booths — puffing up their chests and getting right in the face of our activists.”

Organizers had said they were determined to still hold a huge event, despite city crews putting up fencing around the gallery’s north grounds on Monday night, prompting the group to move to the south side.

City manager Penny Ballem has denied the fencing was installed in a bid to force the event to move or cancel.

The city does not support the unsanctioned pro-marijuana event, and had asked for it to be held near the Cambie Bridge.

Vandermeer says it was unrealistic to move with just three weeks’ notice.

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