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Martin Macias Jr., an independent media reporter from Chicago travelling to cover the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC, has been rejected by Canadian border agents and held without outside contact for at least 7 hours (as of 9pm) today.
Macias arrived in Vancouver from Chicago (via Minneapolis) on a 11:30am Delta Airlines flight on Saturday, February 6, 2010. He was detained for hours by Canada Border Services agents in the Vancouver International Airport and questioned about his plans during the Olympics. Ultimately he was refused entry to Canada. He was then put on an Alaskan Airlines flight to the Seattle / Tacoma Airport (departing at 2:40pm). As of 9pm he had not been able to contact legal counsel or his travelling companion since before his rejection at the border. The information on his rejection was only made available through the US Consulate. It is routine for people rejected at the border to be interrogated by both Canadian and US border agents; he may well still be detained for questioning in the USA at this point. Although he is entitled to a phone call and legal counsel, nothing has been heard from Macias since about 2pm when he still expected to be able to enter Canada as planned.
Martin was travelling to Vancouver for political events during the Olympic Resistance Network anti-Olympic convergence and to document the effects of the Winter Olympics on the communities of Vancouver. He was to leave Vancouver for the USA on Feb. 11. He was travelling with political organizer Bob Quellos of No Games Chicago, who was allowed to enter Canada. They were both to be picked up by Chris Shaw, a member of the Olympic Resistance Network, local Olympic critic, and author of ‘The Five Ring Circus’ who himself has been questioned and detained when travelling to a sports conference in the UK and repeatedly approached by members of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (Olympic policing body) regarding his political activities. Canadian border agents, police, and intelligence units have been actively surveilling, questioning and harassing opponents of the Olympic Games (and their associates and families) for years. Media, such as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, have been subject to questioning and increased scrutiny as well.
Macias (20 years old) was a leading member of No Games Chicago - which successfully opposed Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He is a youth organizer for the Chicago Environmental Justice Coalition, and Comite 10 de marzo, an immigrant rights organization. He is also a media reform activist with community radio station Radio Arte where he serves as the host/producer of First Voice, a radio news zine. He has covered the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Power Shift 2009 in Washington D.C., and local social justice issues in his community. He currently chairs the Peace Committee at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Macias can normally be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent media, activists and opponents of the Olympics are gathering in Vancouver for the Feb. 10-15 anti-Olympic convergence organized by the Olympic Resistance Network. It begins with a two-day conference (Feb. 10-11) and a mass protest and march on the day of the opening ceremonies (‘Take Back Our City,’ 3pm Friday, Feb. 12 beginning at the Vancouver Art Gallery) organized by the 2010 Welcoming Committee, and continues with three days of political events and demonstrations. Visitors have been subject to interrogations, detention, and rejection at the Canadian border repeatedly and members of the Olympic Resistance Network have been interrogated at the US border and denied entry to the USA for speaking tours.
Bob Quellos: 773-531-2341
Chris Shaw: 604-710-8291
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