APC under attack from the VPD. What do we do? Stand up fight back!
December 5, 2004
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has added to their number of arrests in their campaign against Anti-Poverty Committee (APC) members. During last week’s demonstration against George Bush, APC member Jagdeep Mangat was arrested while walking away from the demo. A large number of officers detained Jagdeep when he was out of view of the crowd. He was held over night on an outstanding warrant dating back to May 8, 2004. The false charge was assaulting a police officer.
In front of the Justice of the Peace the next day, Jagdeep was ordered not to participate in any demonstrations as his one and only condition for release. The Crown Council who requested this condition spoke only of Jagdeep’s involvement with the Anti-Poverty Committee. Continually describing the APC as “anti-establishment” the Crown stated that Jagdeep’s role within the organization is that of an agitator. His job, as described to the court, is to orchestrate violence in otherwise peaceful demonstrations.
These charges, harassment and allegations are nothing new to the APC. Since coming together almost every ‘core’ member has been subjected to brutal violence and false charges at the hands of the VPD. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have outlined various strategies deployed by the police to repress the APC. Allegations ranging from the “stalk piling of ammunition”, to “paid enforcers and agitators" have been made by VPD intelligence. APC members have been physically brutalized during demonstrations and after. Almost every APC activist has been churned through the courts and currently lives under unreasonable probation conditions.
By escalating their systematic campaign of brutality and harassment the VPD have attempted to marginalize the APC and suppress their efforts towards social change. Under these constant assaults the APC has continued organizing and has not stopped advocating civil disobedience and disruptive methods as strategies to fight back.
Jagdeep's fist court appearance on the false charge of assaulting a police officer will be December 9, 2004. The APC is currently organizing a legal defense committee that will raise legal funds and mobilize support. Jagdeep has been very clear in explaining that it is not himself that is on trail but the Anti-Poverty Committee.
BRITANNIA TRIAL UPDATE #1
December 1st, 2003
The trial of people arrested at the Britannia Police Riot started today, December 1st. Five people are on trial facing charges that include: unlawful assembly, causing a disturbance, and assaulting police. All of the defendants at the trial are pleading “not guilty” on all counts.
Lawyer for defendant Murray Bush has filed a constitutional challenge. The constitutional challenge alleges that Murray was assaulted by one or more police officers, threatened by police, stripsearched without appropriate grounds, denied access to legal counsel in jail, and that the extent of his detention was unreasonable and arbitrary.
There were a number of delays during the trial because of lack of disclosure of evidence by the crown. The crown also showed a video by a private investigator named Dale Crump who happened to be at the scene of the demonstration.
The crown announced that it was planning to call as many as 24 cops to testify and one civilian, Enzo Guerriero, the Executive Director of Britannia Community Centre.
The crown witness, Inspector Huston, admitted that police took
defendants to the Canadian Tire parking lot, and that this was not standard procedure. Several of the defendants say that they were taken to the parking lot and threatened.
The trial runs until December 12 (except Fridays) at:
222 Main Street
Starting at 9:30 am
What's coming up on Tuesday? We will probably hear the testimony of Inspector Huston, and Enzo Guerriero.
It is really important for supporters to continue to come out in
solidarity with the defendants in this trial. There is a lot of money and time being spent here to criminalize dissent and protest.
Brittania Police Riot Trial Dec 1st
Call Out To Support Community Members Arrested at Britannia Police Riot
Please come out and show your support for activists arrested at the Oct. 3, 2002 demonstration at the Britannia Community Centre. Seven community members are on trial including journalist Murray Bush and minister George Feenstra. It is very important for people to come out and bear witness to this attempt by the Vancouver Police and BC Liberal government to repress political dissent and to normalize police brutality.
When: Trial Starts Dec. 1 at 9:30 am
Where: Adult Criminal Court – 222 Main Street Room 513
On October 3, 2002, a peaceful demonstration was held at the Britannia Community Centre/Canucks Family Literacy Centre. People gathered outside to protest because Gordon Campbell was invited to open a new Literacy Centre. The opening was invitation only and the majority of the community was excluded from attending. The demonstration was organized by Britannia parents, and other community groups, as a protest against government cuts to education and childcare.
The protest began as a very relaxed affair and Campbell had already cancelled his attendance, but the atmosphere changed when United Church minister and children’s clown George Feenstra was arrested and brutalized by the Vancouver Police. The crowd voiced their objection to this unlawful arrest and assault, and the police responded with violence. In total, 9 people were arrested, including 2 juveniles. Journalist Murray Bush was arrested while attempting to assist a child who was being assaulted by the Vancouver Police.
They took us in a paddy wagon to the back of the Canadian Tire parking lot, Murray said. There were at least 20 police officers in the parking lot and two paddy wagons and several police cars. We were kept in the parking lot for about two hours. We were taken out of the paddy wagon for 5 or 6 minutes each and had our personal belongings taken. Our handcuffs were double locked. Two of the people in the van were juveniles, one of them was the child. They were also handcuffed behind their backs.
Murray recalls that when they opened the door of the wagon, some of the police started shouting and swearing. They were addressing the young man sitting next to him in the paddy wagon. "That's the fucking one," one of the officers shouted. "Why don't you get out and we'll settle this now, tough guy" Murray heard the policeman scream, while at least 20 other policemen stood by, many joining in. The agitated officer finally said, "that's okay, we know where you live, we'll take you out." Vancouver Police now deny that the incident ever took place.
The mistreatment continued at the jail: the arrestees were stripsearched, asked if they were "professional agitators," refused access to lawyers, and held in overcrowded cells. Murray was held for 26 hours. The prisoners were required to sign conditions prior to release including no contact with the other arrestees, and preventing arrestees from being within 2 blocks of Gordon Campbell. These types of conditions are being used more frequently by the state in an attempt to break political organizations and dissent.
Please attend this trial to demonstrate your support for the Britannia 9 and to show the government and police that we have a right to political dissent and a right to take a stand against police harassment and brutality in our communities.
Support APC Members on Trial in January
On January 27, 2003 seven members of the Anti-Poverty Committee will be attending trial for direct action taken against the Disability Review Process.
The Disability Reassessment Process, iniated October 2002 marked one of the many vicious assaults on the poor and working people of British Columbia.
The disability review process created by Murray Coell, Minister of Human Resources, involved the reassessment of 19,000 people with disabilities. In January 2002, the ministry mailed out forms to individuals with disablity benefits. The deadline to complete and return the form was designated for three months away, on March 15, 2003. The reassessment process itself involved a 26 page form, which had to be filled out by a recognized health professional, and a physician to verify and assess a person's disability or diagnosis.
This three month process involved disability recipients having to prove to the government that their disability was valid enough to continue qualifying for disability status, which included food supplements, bus passes, housing, and enhanced medical care, otherwise they would be reduced to regular welfare benefits, forced into job clubs, and turned out into a depleted job market, with their health and lives at risk.
Many people were unable to complete their forms in the time frame and faced being deemed ineligible. The stress, grief and illness increased as people struggled to find doctors, advocates and registered nurses who would agree to complete the time consuming form for them. Eventually, a government leak informed the people of this province that the Ministry of Human Resources had a mandate to cut 9000 people with disability status (DB1) off from their benefits.
During this time many people with disabilities, activists and organizations from all different fields joined together to oppose and fight the disability reassessment process. The Disability Coalition - Vancouver was formed, which organized workshops, forums, and published material to raise awareness and garner support. The Disability Coalition worked advocated for the rights of people on disability benefits and organized people to take action on the streets, by holding rallies and marches.
On March 15th, The Ministry of Human Resources building responsible for processing the disability forms was occupied and closed. Seven members of the Anti-Poverty Committee will be facing criminal charges for this action. The Ministry of Human resources response to this action was to close the office for five days and the deadline was extended to the end of March for forms to be handed in.
The strength of these tactics and the combination of people and groups working together pressured the Liberals to lessen their attack on people with disabilities. From the 9000 people with disabilities originally slated to be cut off disability, 400 people with disabilities lost their benefits. While this remains an atrocity and it comes at the direct harm to people's lives and health, it proves that when the people combine strength and fight back together, an impact can be made and the Liberals can be forced to retreat.
We Ask You:
1. We ask you or your organization to stand behind our demands to end the ongoing disability review and reinstate all those who where denied ongoing disability support!
Attached is a letter of endorsement that we will present in court to show the support that we have from all communities.
Please sign this form, and fax to 604-682-2726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. We are calling out to people whose lives have been affected by the Disability Review Process to contact the Anti-Poverty Committee, we require people who would be interested in being witnesses for the trial, providing a written story of the impacts to your life, family, and health.
3. If you are able to make a financial donation to the legal costs of this trial, please Contact Megan Oleson 604-255-7915 or email email@example.com
Cheques can be made out to Anti-Poverty Committee.
#102, 119 West Pender st. Vancouver, BC V5K 1S5
United we will win!
Megan Oleson - Anti-Poverty Committee