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BC Civil Liberties Association concerned about RCMP surveillance of Olympics opponents

CBC reports that, “the Olympic Resistance Network sent a lawyer’s letter to the RCMP unit in charge of Olympic security demanding it end what the group calls its abusive and unlawful conduct against its members.”

“The protesters claimed that even though the group does not condone violent protest, police are following them and questioning their neighbours and family to learn more about their plans for the Olympic period.”

“Cara Fisher …is opposed to the Games but said that doesn’t give police the right to knock on her neighbours’ doors or show-up at local businesses asking about her whereabouts. …Fisher said she is one of approximately a dozen protesters who have been under surveillance over the last few weeks.”

“Such police tactics violate the protesters’ constitutional rights, said David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. ‘We respect and appreciate that we’ve asked the RCMP to do a job, which is to keep the Olympics safe, and they have a role to play in doing that, but we’re very concerned that the tactics we’re seeing will result in a chill on free speech,’ Eby said.”

On February 12, the Globe and Mail reported that, “Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan confirmed yesterday that security costs for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be in the range of $1-billion, a figure five times higher than original estimates.”

The CBC report can be read at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/06/24/bc-olympic-protest-lawsuit.html.

The B.C Civil Liberties Association website is at http://www.bccla.org/.

The Briarpatch magazine article “Class-War Games: The financial and social cost of ‘securing’ the 2010 Olympics can be read at http://briarpatchmagazine.com/class-war-games/.

The Globe and Mail report on the $1-billion security bill is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090212.OLYMPICSSECURITY12/TPStory/?query=olympics.

Look for the Council of Canadians statement on the 2010 Winter Olympics in the coming days.