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