Vancouver police say no agents provocateurs sent to anti-Olympic protests
The Vancouver Police Department has not used agents provocateurs to incite protesters to commit illegal acts during anti-Olympic demonstrations, according to a spokesperson.
“We do not use agents provocateurs,” Const. Lindsey Houghton told the Straight today (February 24) by phone. “We do not infiltrate protest groups.”
A week ago, Harsha Walia, a spokesperson for the Olympic Resistance Network, told the Straight that activists suspect several people who participated in the protests on February 12 and 13 were undercover police officers.
At the time, Houghton told the Straight that he was “not aware” of any agents provocateurs being deployed by his police force.
“I said I’m not aware of any, and I’m telling you now that we did not have any,” Houghton said today.
On February 12, the Straight observed activists accusing a man of being an undercover police officer at the Take Back Our City protest outside B.C. Place during the Olympics opening ceremony.
While the man appeared to be a photojournalist, he refused to identify his media affiliation when asked by protesters and remained silent as activists levelled their accusations at him. After the crowd chanted, “I smell bacon, I smell pork”, the man accepted an offer by officers to leave through the police line.
Houghton said he has watched the Straight’s video of the alleged agent provocateur exiting the protest. According to him, the man is not a police officer.
“He is an independent journalist,” Houghton said.
Const. Olivier Lapointe, a spokesperson for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, told the Straight last week that, if there were agents provocateurs at the Take Back Our City and 2010 Heart Attack protests, they wouldn’t have been from the Olympic security force.
Previously, in a July 2009 interview with the Straight, another VISU spokesperson wouldn’t rule out the use of agents provocateurs during the Winter Olympics.
Although Houghton said that Vancouver police have never used agents provocateurs, he left open the possibility that the department could use them in the future.
“I can’t say we would,” Houghton said. “I can’t say we wouldn’t. If the circumstances are so grave and risk the public safety, we would certainly use any tactic to save someone’s life or potentially thousands of people’s lives. I think people would expect us to do everything we can to save people’s lives.”
Activists accuse a man of being an agent provocateur during a protest outside the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics on February 12.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.
See also: Video contradicts Vancouver police statement on plainclothes officers at tent city
Feb 24, 2010 at 4:03pm
"If the circumstances are so grave and risk the public safety, we would certainly use any tactic to save someone’s life or potentially thousands of people’s lives."
I'd love to hear an example of provocateurs "saving a life", let alone thousands.
Feb 24, 2010 at 4:50pm
Well they are finally on the record at least. By the way what did the 11 cops sent home do in order to get the boot? Do we get to find out?
don't beleive the hype
Feb 24, 2010 at 4:53pm
Wow that was a fast turn around for the latest VPD fibbing:
"if the police are going to be releasing public statements, they really do need to make sure that they are accurate and truthful. Otherwise, they’re going to lose the confidence of the public in what they say to the media.”
Feb 24, 2010 at 8:47pm
this seems a lie 'too far'!
Feb 25, 2010 at 12:53pm
"Const. Olivier Lapointe, a spokesperson for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, told the Straight last week that, if there were agents provocateurs at the Take Back Our City and 2010 Heart Attack protests, they wouldn’t have been from the Olympic security force."
Wow! That makes me feel much better knowing that any agents provocateurs trying to provoke violence and random property destruction are not from VISU.
But why would a constable even know what was going on with such activities? "In Canada, as in the United Kingdom, Constable . . . is the lowest rank in most police services, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constable#Canada
A constable would normally have no need to know such sensitive information, so would not be told.
Feb 25, 2010 at 1:27pm
OK, we have domestic terrorists in Vancouver Yes, that is what they are. And the political wing in this domestic terrorost group is David Eby, Geoff Meggs and Tim Stevenson. These ORN/Black Boc dipshits piss and moan about the level of security and the dollars spent. Well, guess what we had a domestic terrorist group, vowed to use any tactic necessary and not disavowing violence either before or after the acts of vandalism on the Heart Attack 2010. With that threat like this to the public, athletes and tourists what did these teeney-bopper terrorsists expext? As for Megg and Stevenson, we can hold them to account next election.