The Battle of Ballantyne Pier was a clash between city, provincial, and federal police and Communist-led protesters on 18 June 1935 in the East End of Vancouver, Canada. It lasted for about three hours and was the climax of a strike by longshoremen. Local political and business leaders alleged that the strike was illegitimate because they believed it was part of an international Communist conspiracy to spark a Pacific coast Bolshevik revolution beginning on Vancouver’s waterfront. The strike came on the heels of another Communist-led strike of relief camp workers that precipitated the On-to-Ottawa Trek, which was also understood to be motivated by seditious intent. 18 June 1935, about 1000 protesters, consisting of striking longshoremen and their supporters, marched towards the Heatley Street entrance to Ballantyne Pier, where strikebreakers were unloading ships in the harbour. Mounted police chasing protestors through Vancouver’s East End during the Battle of Ballantyne Pier.Unlike earlier waterfront strikes, longshoremen were prevented from picketing the docks to discourage strikebreaking, and claimed that they were going to go en masse to talk to the scabs. They were led by Victoria Cross recipient Mickey O’Rourke and a contingent of First World War veterans and marched behind a Union Jack flag, to great symbolic effect. At the entrance to the pier, they were met by Chief Constable Colonel WW Foster, who warned the demonstrators that they would not be permitted to …
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Find out how hundreds of dock workers get their job assignments each day at the ILWU Local 13 Dispatch Hall in this “Pulse of the Port” segment.
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