(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


163 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 4:01 am

    “All the people that are whining about the protest tend to be arrogant privileged white students like yourselves.”

    The racists insane ramblings of Jasmine Ramzee Rezae

  2. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 4:09 am

    She really is a piece of work. I divide my reaction to her between intense frustration and hysterical laughter.

  3. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 6:45 am

    On the Students for a Lawful and Progressive Society’s wall:

    Jasmine Ramze Rezaee wrote
    at 3:45pm
    This group is an abomination and probably a CSIS front.

    Jasmine Ramze Rezaee wrote
    at 3:43pm
    I’m tired of these white people that want to “save” Darfur but bitch about students protesting commercial development right under their noses. You have your priorities, we have ours, and they’re not mutually exclusive. Quit thinking that you’re somehow morally superior because you care about Darfur and show some solidarity.


    Yep, she’s absolutely fucking loco.

  4. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 7:08 am

    Ok, so I’ve only read one third of the commentary on this massive post so please excuse me if this has already been covered.

    Everyone seems to be questioning the actions of the students when the firefighters arrived, whether or not police actions consitituted brutality, etc etc etc

    But really, would any of this have happened had there not been a fire burning on a slab of pavement in the middle of a freekin’ university campus? Bon fires might be well placed when you’re camping or drinking in the middle of some field in the boonies, but not so well placed at UBC (the farm being one exception).

    The way I see it: no fire = no fire department = no cops = good, safe protestin’ times for all! Agree?

    Besides, if this fire had anything to do with protest then people could have at least done it up right with an effigy or something!

  5. MitchRite on April 9, 2008 11:28 pm

    Ok this topic is exhausted.

    Puppies or kittens, people? Personally I’m all about kittens.

  6. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 11:30 pm


    I think this puppy/kitten debate may cause further rifts within the AMS.

    kittens for life

  7. Ashley on April 10, 2008 1:30 am

    I concur, kittens are quite obviously superior.

  8. Anonymous on April 11, 2008 2:45 am

    puppies. They’re much more delicious than kittens.

  9. Anonymous on April 12, 2008 8:57 pm

    Jasmine’s Quotes sure are interesting:

    Does anyone else find it slightly ironic that she grew up in a million dollar plus house in Mackenzie Heights.

    You should check who you call ‘priveleged’ Ms Ramze, before people wonder why you have so much damn time on your hands.

  10. Anonymous on April 12, 2008 11:23 pm

    also, Jasmine supports her right to protest, but not the right to protest for anyone she disagrees with. for example, she tore up signs at Block Party that said “Kno to the Knoll” and other things of that nature, and verbally harassed the very peaceful people who brought those signs.

    hypocrisy at it’s best

  11. Anonymous on April 13, 2008 12:35 am

    Ah, more poster ripping for Jasmine’s resume. Add that to the Canadian Forces poster in the SUB I guess. That mixed with the constant immature, foul and hateful comments she posts on some groups and you got yourselves one big freakin’ hypocrite. Is she graduating this year? Hopefully we won’t be seeing much more of her.

  12. Ashley on April 13, 2008 1:20 am

    More like a hippie-crite. Am I right or am I right?


  13. padra on April 23, 2008 9:00 am

    “apparently Stefanie Ratjen jumped in front of the firefighter hose when they tried to put out the fire. Why would you do that? It’s not like it wasn’t illegal to have the bonfire going”

    may i point out here to all the people who write about the police being justified because the students ‘interfered’ with the fireman,

    IF you watch the vidz you will see that the firemen turns on his hose, stef and a few others stand in front of it for A WHOLE 20 SECONDS!

    20 seconds of protest then the water hits the fire and moments later it was out.

    i dont want/need to argue the legalities and i dont want/need to argue if the fire was dangerous, but i WILL argue that singing and dancing in front of the waterhose for 20 SECONDS was nothing more than a jester protest.

    there was no malice
    nobody touched/assaulted the fireman
    nobody damaged equipment

    to be arrested for the 20 second delay is ludicrous!
    if the fireman turned up the pressure Stef would have been blown away.

    i’m sure the fireman never felt threatened and the police went too far in arresting anyone.. . . did the actual person who started the fire get arrested?

    once the arrests were made the protest was no longer about the knoll.
    these students were strong to sit around the police car knowing they could be arrested for protesting the arbitrary arrest of Icarus. they believed he was not arrested lawfully and did what they thought was right.

    anyone who puts them down for it accepts an authoritarian state and has obviously not read the charter

    for their peaceful protest 19 students were handcuffed and threatened with taser and dogs. what is this china?

    ‘police just doing their job’
    where have we heard that before?

    it may come as news to you but policemen ARE NOT ROBOTS
    they do not ‘have’ to do anything. the actions taken are relative to the situation and they must use their training and experience to decide what actions need taking.

    personally i’m glad people were arrested because it calls to light 2 issues. 1 of the knoll
    2 of the RCMP misconduct and bad decision making that has become all too common

    have you seen the photos? it seems like there were more policemen than protesters. someone must have really convinced them the sky was falling!

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