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Olympic Resistance Network Speaker Prevented From Speaking Out in Portland

Marla Renn, a member of the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN), was travelling to Portland, Oregon to speak on the negative impacts of the 2010 Games. Renn was scheduled to speak at educational events at Mt. Hood Community College, Reed College, Portland State University, and the Red and Black Cafe. She was held for over six hours as both Canadian and US border guards interrogated her about the subject of her speech, her contacts in Portland, and her political activities. She was previously denied entry for a Seattle speaking event on the grounds that ten anti-Olympic shirts were unauthorised commercial merchandise, but the shirts were found after she had already been questioned on political issues. Likewise, the excuse for rejecting her this time (lack of employment since her graduation in August) was brought up after her planned speech and political activities were addressed by border guards.
Our speaker was detained; however, events progressed with even more power thanks to the help from members of the local American Indian Movement Chapter.

Critics of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games (being held in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada) continue to be subject to police harassment and intimidation, including another activist detained and questioned at the Pacific (Truck) Crossing border station and denied entry to the USA on Thursday, December 10, 2009.

Marla Renn, a member of the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN), was travelling to Portland, Oregon to speak on the negative impacts of the 2010 Games. Renn was scheduled to speak at educational events at Mt. Hood Community College, Reed College, Portland State University, and the Red and Black Cafe. She was held for over six hours as both Canadian and US border guards interrogated her about the subject of her speech, her contacts in Portland, and her political activities. She was previously denied entry for a Seattle speaking event on the grounds that ten anti-Olympic shirts were unauthorised commercial merchandise, but the shirts were found after she had already been questioned on political issues. Likewise, the excuse for rejecting her this time (lack of employment since her graduation in August) was brought up after her planned speech and political activities were addressed by border guards.

Renn was targeted for immediate questioning at the US border. She was photographed and fingerprinted, her property was searched, her cell phone was taken and accessed, and her documents (even the book she was reading) photocopied. She was warned that any attempt to enter the US within the next six months may result in two years imprisonment. At the Canadian side of the border, she was again searched and questioned extensively on the Portland events, her speech, and attempts to build anti-Olympic support in the USA. "Continued harassment of peaceful organisers and speakers by the police and border guards show that their real objective is to silence dissent and not to protect the public," says Renn.

Recently, journalist Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now) was travelling to speak in Vancouver and was detained and questioned about her speech as border guards assumed she would be criticizing the Olympics. Professor Chris Shaw, also of ORN, was detained and questioned at the UK border when travelling to speak on Olympic issues at an academic conference. Other activists have been questioned and even rejected at the Canada-USA border.

Across Canada, political organisers have been subject to harassment, surveillance and questioning about anti-Olympic activism. People's housing, academic work and employment have been jeopardized by police visits. Even family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers (people not involved in political activity) have been contacted by police. The targets of these investigations are community members involved in open public organising, with publicly accessible groups, meetings, events, and websites. Combined with the efforts of the City of Vancouver and Olympic officials to deny free expression by restricting political displays in public space, the intent is clearly to silence public criticism and traditional protest methods, such as political signs, speaking events, marches, and rallies.

 http://cascadiaconvergencenetwork.wordpress.com/

Obama & Harper 12.Dec.2009 08:44

Den Mark, Vancouver

President Obama & Prime Minister Harper are both of such moral decrepitude that they fear t-shirts with slogans on them. OUTRAGEOUS!

Free speech 12.Dec.2009 10:16

gk

Silencing free speech is not acceptable. I now oppose the Olympics with its commercialization and tactics at the border.

Video Selections On This Topic 12.Dec.2009 11:59

Relay

Website with videos of the 2010 Olympic resistance...............


Controversy 12.Dec.2009 15:59

--

Damn. Seems like the Olympics has stirred up more controversy among officials than any of the more pressing issues--not to trivialize this one. God forbid anyone should speak out about athletics!!!

More Complex 12.Dec.2009 17:28

CCN

Its not simply about athletics. The development of Olympic venues has largely been happening on stolen native land. Native peoples have been resisting for years, in respect of their sovereignty, against the Canadian Colonial regime. The average First Nation person in Canada has the average life span of 31 years of age because of projects and policies such as, the Tar Sands that poison Native Lands in the name of producing 20% of the oil consumed by the U.S. The Olympic development along with Tar Sands mining brought about an onslaught of repression never seen before, with an increase in military and police spending of $90 million. Funding which is primarily being used to crush native resistance and further the genocide against native peoples. Please visit no2010.com for more info. Native peoples are stuggling for their land as we speak and the Olympics are a front of repression against all disenfranchised people in Canada.

Olympics organizing 13.Dec.2009 07:05

. . .

Thank you for your crucial reporting on this situation.
Clearly the mere idea of a handful of Canadians & some Portlanders' discussing the issues surrounding the Olympic games has the powers-that-be in a rabid frenzy.
This fascistic behavior at the border is very illuminating!
Now we know what we have to do.

Mask Stripped 13.Dec.2009 08:56

Den Mark, Vancouver

For too long too many progressives have viewed Canada as some squeaky-clean country. It's good to see that wrong image stripped away. Olympics brutality, tar sands pollution, seal pup massacres, First Nations injustices --- the list of crimes is long.