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Press release: BCCLA Calls on Canadian Border Services to Explain their “Inland” Patrols

February 16, 2010 4 comments

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
February 16, 2010

For immediate release

BC Civil Liberties Calls on Canadian Border Services to Explain their “Inland” Patrols

ATTENTION EDITORS: The previously announced daily press briefings at 8:00 a.m. at 1188 West Georgia are cancelled. Press briefings will be announced by media advisory.

The BCCLA is calling on the Canadian Border Services Agency to explain the presence of “inland” patrols in downtown Vancouver which are increasingly being noted by the BCCLA Legal Observers.

CBSA officers patrol the DTES on Tuesday evening

Legal Observers attended at yesterday’s major demonstrations which proceeded peacefully: an anti-war demonstration that took place at the Vancouver Art Gallery Monday evening and an anti-houseless demonstration took place at noon. The housing demonstration culminated in a “tent village” that is situated in a vacant lot in the 100 block of West Hastings Street. While all went well at these events, the Legal Observers are noting policing changes.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, BCCLA: “We are sensing a shift in the policing culture of the public demonstrations, in particular we are noting the presence of Canadian Border Services Agents patrolling public space. We are unclear on their authority and mandate and ask the CBSA to clarify for the public what they are doing patrolling our downtown streets.”

The Legal Observers have also seen Corrections Officers present at demonstrations and will be seeking clarification on this as well.

Vonn: “We are seeing an edgier tone to the policing of the demonstrations with increased incidents of our Legal Observers being pointedly photographed and addressed by name by police officers who are apparently interested in letting our volunteer citizen observers know that the police have gone to some effort to identify them.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, BCCLA, 778-829-3471
David Eby, Executive Director, BCCLA, 778-865-7997

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Press release: Police visit media centre, observer office

February 15, 2010 3 comments

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
February 13, 2010

Police visit media centre, observer office

Vancouver, B.C. – Uniformed members of the Vancouver Police Department and two uniformed members of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) walked through the ground floor of an independent Olympic media centre and tried to enter private offices in the back before being asked to leave by building management.

They did not produce any search warrant and said they had attended to view an art show that was taking place in the building. During their self-guided tour of the W2 Culture and Media House, they entered the technical hub of the building, which services more than 100 journalists and the Legal Observer program for the 2010 Olympics, and appeared to be attempting to access upper floors that host the Observer Program.

“The police are well aware that this space is dedicated to media, and that the Legal Observer office is in this building as well,” said David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “All of the groups in this space have positive relationships with the police, there is no need for this kind of show of force.”

Officers from the CBSA have been seen at all of the major demonstrations to date by the BCCLA’s legal observers, raising concerns that VISU is using nationality to target particular protesters.

“In light of a number of issues at the border involving those who disagree with the Olympics being detained, harassed or turned back, it’s hardly reassuring that the CBSA is on the front lines policing these protests and visiting media and Observer spaces,” said Eby.

The BCCLA will be sending the details of the incident to the Vancouver Police Department to request a formal explanation.

CBSA and VPD visit media centre uninvited from Legal Observers on Vimeo.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, (778) 829-3471

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