Anti-Olympics activists are threatening to take legal action if police officers don’t stop harassing people critical of the impact of Vancouver’s 2010 Games.
The Olympic Resistance Network will release this morning (June 24) a copy of a letter that 12 of its members have sent to RCMP assistant commissioner and Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer demanding a stop to the harassment.
“This type of conspicuous policing creates a chilly climate for dissent,” ORN’s Garth Mullins said in a media advisory.
“Several of us spoke at City Hall against a bylaw amendment restricting anti-Olympics signs,” Mullins continued. “VISU police sat in the public gallery and ambushed us on the steps of City Hall. Earlier this month, VISU police went to my home and workplace. These police state tactics say to people that if you have concerns and speak out, VISU has your number.”
Civil liberties lawyer Jason Gratl said that “court action would be merited” if VISU members don’t lay off.
The media advisory noted that during the past 10 months, over two dozen Olympics critics, members of ORN, and indigenous activists have been accosted by VISU officers in public, at home, at work, and at City Hall.
It claimed that VISU has sat in on various community meetings as a way to monitor and intimidate activists and the public.
“Officers have harassed the neighbours, friends and even parents of Olympic critics,” the advisory stated. “Their message is clear: We know who you are and we know where you live. Police tactics like this attempt to intimidate lawful political organising and freedom of expression.”