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For release October 26
Rose Henry has had enough of the phone calls from the Olympic security police.
The 51-year-old human rights advocate says an officer with the
Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit phoned twice a day for about a
week. The intelligence officer pressured her to "meet for coffee" and
to give him information about her own work and her fellow activists.
Henry was "scared" by the calls and unsure what to do, so she asked
her Vancouver lawyer for advice. "He said, 'Rose, you have done
absolutely nothing wrong, and there's no reason for them to harass
you. You can just tell them to f--- off,'" she reports.
"I don’t want to deal with these guys," she says. "I know I'm right in
standing up for human rights. I shouldn’t have to defend them against
the police officers who are supposed to protect us."
Henry also talked to fellow activists in Victoria, who offered support
and advice. "I'm glad we are all on same page," she says. "All of us
have done nothing wrong. It's like [the police] are trying to set us
up, and putting words in our mouths."
Henry is forthright in her criticism of the Olympics. "I would support
the Olympics if it was a fundraiser for people in need, and if the
money they're spending was staying in the community. But it's a
one-way street – all that money is flowing out to corporate
investors," she notes.
"At the same time, they're chopping programs for the arts, battered
women and disabled children and people with mental health problems."
A cheerful and tireless campaigner for social justice, affordable
housing and human rights, Henry has lived and worked in Victoria for
27 years. She is widely known for her volunteer work to end poverty
and homelessness, and for her legal challenges to voter identification
laws that discriminate against people without current identification
or an address. One such challenge goes before the federal court this
year, with a hearing scheduled for Monday, October 26 in Vancouver.
Rose Henry and other indigenous activists are speaking out against the
Olympic Torch Relay launch in Victoria on Friday, October 30, starting
at 2 pm. More info: www.no2010victoria.net.