Saturday, February 19, 2011

A 60's Moment Remembered

While reading Sixty Things to Do When You Turn Sixty, a recent gift from my wife, a chapter on political protest reminded me of the night I was arrested in one back in '69.  I was on my high school student council that year and as I recall all high school councillors in the city had been summoned to an "information session" one evening sponsored by the U of Lethbridge Student Union regarding a topic raging controversial at the time, namely the future location of the U itself.  Basically, U of L students, staff and bureaucracy wanted the new campus to be built west of the river (as did most of the city fathers who were looking to anchor future development over there) but significant countervailing forces, our MLA, speculators, and landowners (all of a certain religious ilk as it turned out) were trying to keep it in the same area as the LCC campus, where the U of L was temporarily housed at the time.  After a fiery presentation and considerable cajoling on the part of the very long-haired and scruffy wild-eyed university revolutionaries present, we who succumbed (virtually all did) were handed appropriate signage and bussed to stage a sit-in on the street in front of MLA Landeryou's house, quickly bringing traffic to a halt thereby of course.  It wasn't long before the police showed up, concurrent with the local media who had (as it turned out) been alerted to the event by the organizers.  (Imagine that, a stage-managed spontaneous radical student protest in southern Alberta of all places - but it was 1969, after all.)  Some negotiating with said peace officers ensued but we nascent radicals were nevertheless rounded up and arrested en masse.  After a stern lecture from the constabulary we were released an hour later and dispersed, our point (and theirs) having been made.  I was a bit embarrassed about being manipulated thusly (albeit for a good cause, as it turned out) - and about my new criminality - and thought I would just forget the whole thing, until later that night when I settled down to watch the 11 pm news with Dad and there I was in living color - obviously with some explaining to do!