Home > ISU, Observing, olympics > Press Release: BCCLA pleased with restrained policing at Opening Ceremonies

Press Release: BCCLA pleased with restrained policing at Opening Ceremonies

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
February 13, 2010

ATTENTION EDITORS: The previously announced Sunday, February 14 press conference at the BCCLA has been cancelled. The next briefing is scheduled for Monday, February 15, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. at 1188 West Georgia Street.

BCCLA pleased with policing at Opening Ceremonies demonstration, Observers record few issues

Vancouver, B.C. – A full contingent of Legal Observer teams monitored the policing of the demonstrations at the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. The large demonstrations that started at the Vancouver Art Gallery were notably peaceful. Restrained policing and protest marked the procession of the march to BC Place Stadium. Very few incidents involving police were observed, with the exception of a police barricade push-back that was unannounced and the fact that the majority of RCMP officers attending were not wearing legible badge numbers or names for accountability purposes.

“We were very pleased with the effective and restrained policing of the demonstrations that we observed prior to and during the Opening Ceremonies,” said BCCLA Policy Director Micheal Vonn. “We know that the Legal Observers contributed significantly to the success of these demonstrations. We were thanked by many people attending and were told by some that our presence gave them the confidence that the events would be safe and their rights respected.”

The Legal Observers were asked by event organizers not to attend the “Heart Attack” demonstration on Saturday, February 13. Several arrests were reported by media to have taken place at this event. Event organizers did call on the Legal Observers during the event. Although our Observers attended as quickly as possible, the crowd was largely dispersed by the time we arrived. Aside from witnessing and documenting police in full riot gear and with an array of armaments, we have no reports from this event and little footage to share.

Our Observers will be participating in the Murdered and Missing Women Memorial March tomorrow (Sunday) and preparing for the homeless tent city protest (Monday) as well as sharing video highlights from the Opening Ceremonies demonstration and several smaller events, on Monday, February 15, 2010. All 8 a.m. press conferences are held at 1188 West Georgia.

As always, BCCLA staff and board members are available for comment on civil liberties issues, including as they relate to the Olympics.

Micheal Vonn, BCCLA Policy Director: 604-630-9753

FOR MORE DETAILS:  media@bccla.org or 604-630-9755

  1. Ian Stockdale
    February 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    What is the rationale for not attending an event simply because the event organizers asked Legal Observers not to attend. After all, surely we wouldn’t fail to attend an event because the police asked us not to attend. What about the rights of people who attend an event but are not the organizers of the event? Shouldn’t the rights of ‘rank and file’ attendees to events ‘trump’ the wishes of the event’s organizers? I’m a Legal Observer. Please advise.

  2. Robert Williams
    February 15, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    What a farce asked not to attend the Saturday demonstration, talk about censorship. We will observe the police but not the protests. No clips of the hooded thugs smashing windows. You are no better that the police when it comes to the videos.

  3. February 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM
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