Picket Report, Spiker
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Edmonton >Picket Report, Spiker
From: Martin O'Brien
Subject: Picket report: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Date: 12 Mar 2000 00:00:00 GMT
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Picket report, March 12, 2000. Edmonton, Alberta. Canada.
I arrived at the picket at 2:30 about half an hour after the picket
had started. Unfortunately, bus service isn't the best on Sundays.
This was the first ever picket for the Edmonton org. I was quite
eager, and somewhat nervous. The org is located in an inner-city area
which used to be notorious for drug trafficking.
When I was a block away from the picket I saw two people carrying
protest signs, and about 8 or 9 milling about. I thought, "Wow! What
a turn out"! However it turns out that about 1/3 of them were
Scientologists. Upon joining the group I introduced myself to a few
SPs. At the first handshake with an SP I was immediately zoomed in on
by a clam running a video camera. In the half hour I was there I was
photographed more than I was when I was at my sister's wedding.
Notable events: In the half hour I was there I saw 3 flyers handed
out. I heard two honks. Had one drive-by Thumbs Up. And a fellow in
a Jeep unrolled his window to show his support.
"Are you guys critics?" He asked. I responded yes. "Keep it up,
those guys are nuts" was his reply.
About 20 minutes into the picket a tall gentleman with a goatee came
by to see what was up. A fellow critic and myself talked with him
about the Xenu story, the cost of $cientology, and the bait-and-switch
methods. The passerby had trouble getting his head around the whole
thing and, briefly, thought we might be recruiters rather than
critics. Upon realizing that we were critics he shook his head and
said "these guys are, like, Trekkies or something.
For about 10 minutes I took over a picket sign but had to pass it off
again when I realized my hands were cold. In future, even if the
weather is seemingly nice, I'll wear long underwear and gloves.
There were about 4 or 5 $cientologists milling about at any given
time. One of them was obviously designated as the handler for the
day. He resembled a shorter, salt-and-pepper haired Mike Rinder. He
spent most of the time talking with the critics who seemed to have
organized the picket. He did not try bullbaiting or any overt form of
intimidation. Instead he seemed to be discussing the moral and
philosophical implications of $cientology, while criticizing us for
not giving out our names. The rest of the $cientologists were of
retirement age, with the exception of the $cientologist's videographer
whom I did not get a good look at. The age of the $cientologists
disturbed me because it struck me that perhaps this org was preying
on, and profiting from the elderly. I think at least three of the
$cientologists were over the age of 60. Perhaps in their late 60's.
Things that were good about the picket:
A local TV station and local Newspaper came by.
The location, though in one of the less admirable areas of town, has
nice wide sidewalks, and the "Church's" land-lord did an excellent job
of keeping the recent snowfall off the sidewalk. This made for very
easy movement. Traffic in the area was light, but the building is on
a corner so we were able to get traffic going two different ways. The
"church" is located near a community college so lunch-hour pickets
could be very effective. The $cientologists milling about made it
look there were A LOT more protesters.
Things that might be improved:
I didn't make up any signs, but I think that some very too the point
signs might be a good idea next time. A few times people were not
sure if we were for or against the "Church". A few "Scientology
Kills" signs would rectify this problem. Also, I think next time I'll
dress warmer. I forgot how cold it can get even on nice days if a
person is outside for a very long time. A thermos full of coffee
would be a godsend as well.
Things that were funny:
The "Free personality test" sign in front of the church had the
church's old address (they moved a year or so ago) on it covered
(poorly) with Whiteout. This looked rather unprofessional.
There is a sign at the back of the building saying something to the
effect of "Tenets wanted. $250/month rent, any tenant welcome.
And the funniest moment of all, the look on a passerby's face when he
heard the Xenu Story.
(more from another post:)
Wulfen, the great Toronto enturbulator was a popular soul at the
Edmonton picket. Rebecca, one of the $cienos sent to mill about
during the picket, approached a number of us Suppressive folks and
asked if we were Wulfen. She even asked a passer-by if he was Wulfen.
I guess the $cientologists are not immune from being enamoured with
I also need you ARS folk's help. One of the handlers was named
Andre and claimed to be a public for 25 years. He had a certain way
about him that made me suspect that he was OSA flown in to help.
Further, he had a bit of a tan which one just doesn't get in Edmonton
during the winter. His picture is at:
If any of you recognize him, please let me know.
Quick note from Wulfen: I'm just flabbergasted by this. Did the
Edmonton Scientologists really think that I'd fly in to the picket?
Wow. I'd like to know exactly what the heck was their line of
You can email your Andre hints to oilswell@NOSPAMoilersfan.com - note
the spamblocker and remove it to send email.
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