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Posts Tagged ‘police’

Press release: BCCLA to VPD: Leave the big guns at home for demos

February 19, 2010 1 comment

BCCLA to VPD: Leave the big guns at home for demos

The BCCLA has asked the Vancouver Police Department to stop bringing semi-automatic military weaponry to demonstrations in Vancouver, even where demonstrations present public order issues.

A VPD officer carries a Colt C8 carbine

Video:

2010-02-19 – New VPD Crowd Control Weapon from Legal Observers on Vimeo.

“Even in a scenario like Saturday where a group of protesters engage in illegal property damage, as well as reprehensible violence against police and citizens, the Police were able to restore order without pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, Tasers or handguns,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “Do they really need military grade semi-automatic rifles?”

The BCCLA has monitored police action over a number of major public order events over many years, including the Guns and Roses riot, the so-called “Riot at the Hyatt”, and the Stanley Cup riot. Saturday is the first instance the BCCLA is aware of where military guns have been deployed for civilian crowd control purposes in Vancouver.

“High powered rifles in a stressful situation add to the risk of law enforcement and security measures going seriously wrong,” said Holmes. “The public has not been told of any security threat that would justify the presence of such weaponry. Just as the sonic gun raised controversy last fall, so too the presence of these weapons should be explained and, unless absolutely necessary, they should be withdrawn.”

Vancouver Police Department public order officer Vince Forsberg confirmed that the weapons were deployed to back up Crowd Control Unit police officers who do not carry firearms, and said that he understood them to be “intermediate weapons” designed “to allow an accurate shot at an intermediate range (usually under 100 meters).”

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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

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

Categories: border, ISU, olympics Tags: , , , , ,

Press Release: BCCLA pleased with restrained policing at Opening Ceremonies

February 14, 2010 3 comments

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.

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

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

Just visiting: Police from other places

February 8, 2010 1 comment

In addition to the VPD and RCMP officers making themselves visible around Olympic venues and around the city, there are police from every other province adding to the ranks.

We’ve snapped a few photos of the various badges we’ve noticed around town, but we know we haven’t got all of them yet. If you have any you’d like to add to the gallery, let us know! Add it to our Flickr Pool or email it to greg@bccla.org.

February 6, 2010 – Olympic Village

February 6, 2010 2 comments

The Olympic Village was one of the first areas of the city locked down before the Games. We took a wander around the security perimeter today. There is an amazing amount of video surveillance around the Village, and the double layers of fencing are hardened with concrete barricades. There are also lots of ISU personnel around, from RCMP to private security.

Here are some of the photos we took:





The Vancouver Statement

January 6, 2010 1 comment

Photo: The Blackbird

The BCCLA has signed on to the Vancouver Statement of Surveillance, Security and Privacy Researchers about the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games:

The BCCLA is endorsing the statement of Canadian and international researchers who study “mega-event” security. Surveillance and privacy experts have called on Canada to “moderate the escalation of security measures for Vancouver 2010” and to be as transparent as possible about security and surveillance practices. The statement also calls for an independent and public audit of Olympic security and surveillance measures post-Games and to have full and open public discussions about proposed “legacies” such as public video surveillance.

The full text of the Vancouver Statement is below:

As researchers from Canada and the wider world, who are conducting research on the global security dynamics of mega-events, we agree:

  • that the Olympic Games should be a celebration of human achievement, friendship and trust between people and nations.

However, having analyzed past and planned Olympics and other mega events, from a variety of historical and international perspectives, we recognize:

  • that recent Games have increasingly taken place in and contributed to a climate of fear, heightened security and surveillance; and
  • that this has often been to the detriment of democracy, transparency and human rights, with serious implications for international, national and local norms and laws.

Therefore, we ask the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada:

  • to moderate the escalation of security measures for Vancouver 2010 and to strive to respect the true spirit of the event;
  • to be as open as possible about the necessary security and surveillance practices and rationales to withdraw temporary bylaws that restrict Charter rights of freedom of speech and assembly;
  • to work constructively with the Provincial and Federal Privacy Commissioners;
  • to respect the rights of all individuals and groups, whether they be local people or visitors, and pay particular attention to the impacts on vulnerable people;
  • to conduct a full, independent public assessment of the security and surveillance measures, once the Games are over, addressing their costs (financial and otherwise), their effectiveness, and lessons to be learned for future mega-events;
  • not to assume a permanent legacy of increased video surveillance and hardened security measures in the Vancouver/Whistler area, and to have full and open public discussion on any such proposed legacy.

We hope that these recommendations will contribute to a unique and positive Olympic legacy by which Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada will be remembered for setting the highest ethical standards.

November 23, 2009