People will be free to protest the 2010 Games and will not be arrested for having anti-Olympic signs posted in their windows, the Vancouver’s police chief said yesterday.
In a statement Thursday morning to “clear the air,” Chief Const. Jim Chu said critics and media had painted a “dire picture” of supposed police actions during the Games.
“The scenarios that are described, sometimes simply in an effort to generate fear and conflict, are becoming ridiculous,” Chu said.
Protesters will not be penned or corralled into protest zones and people will not be jailed for anti-Olympic signs in their windows, he said.
Earlier this month, a pair of anti-Olympic activists launched a lawsuit against Vancouver for bylaws aimed at combating guerilla marketing, but which the activists say infringes on charter freedoms.
“The VPD has no intention of entering any Vancouver residence of a sign issue during the Games,” Chu said. “We are not the sign police.”
The City of Vancouver is responsible for enforcing signage bylaws, and Chu said he has been assured that the city will not focus on any signs that are personal or political in nature.
To have a sign removed, the city would have to obtain a warrant through the courts. Even then, he said, police would only stand by to ensure that peace is maintained.