For several years in the run up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, a group of activists has held the Poverty Olympics, a protest peopled by mascots such as Itchy the Bedbug and Creepy the Cockroach. 2010 marks the third annual Poverty Olympics.
The protests focus on how “world class city” Vancouver is also home to “world class poverty.” New building developments sprung up to house Olympians and tourists, while thousands of Vancouver residents live in poverty, sleeping in tiny, bed bug and cockroach-infested single room occupancy units, in shelters, or sleeping rough in the parks and streets.
The Poverty Olympics torch relay just occurred:
On Sunday, a group calling itself the 2010 Poverty Olympics torch relay used its “mascots” — Itchy the Bedbug and Creepy the Cockroach — to protest homelessness and poverty in B.C. at the site of the Olympic countdown clock by the Vancouver Art Gallery.
And here’s the promo for the 2010 Poverty Olympics on Sunday, February 7th, including events such as “The Community vs. Mr. Condo” and “Skating Around Poverty”:
(Note: if you do not see an embedded YouTube video, click here.)
Poverty Olympics mascot Itchy the Bed Bug is right at home in Vancouver, where his bed bug friends make life in the Downtown Eastside and other neighborhoods very itchy for residents.
And the influx of visitors to the city in a few weeks’ time should add to their numbers. Travelers bring bed bugs wherever they go.
Some people believe that bed bugs were given a boost in Sydney, Australia by the 2000 Olympics there. It stands to reason: you can’t really have tens of thousands of people descend on your city, without moving some bed bugs around too.
For the latest on this and other 2010 Olympic protests, see the Vancouver Sun’s Louder, madder, more prepared: Here come the protesters.