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Anti-Olympics activists allege police spying

VANCOUVER - Olympic Resistance Network members are accusing the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit of spying and intimidation.

Chris Shaw, author of the Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games, said RCMP Cpl. Jeff Francis and Vancouver Police Det. Doug Fell of the Joint Intelligence Group found him near Tony's Coffee Shop on West Broadway during the noon hour Wednesday.

Shaw was taking a break from his ophthalmology laboratory on the Vancouver General Hospital campus. He said he declined a private meeting with the cops to discuss his opposition to the Games, but challenged them to "hold public forums, invite the press."

"They know who we are, they're watching us," Shaw said. "They're trying to get activists to talk to them."

Veteran anti-globalization protester Garth Mullins said he had a similar encounter near his workplace last Wednesday around 3 p.m. Two other JIG members suddenly appeared beside him near the Burrard SkyTrain station.

"It seemed to me like an intimidation tactic," Mullins said.

He said at least a dozen other anti-Games activists were visited by police last week.

In an e-mailed statement, RCMP Cpl. Jen Allan said police have the right to ask questions and gather information and will respect citizens' constitutional rights.

"V2010 ISU seeks to either confirm or disregard individuals as potential threats to the safety and security of Canadians and visitors to Canada," she said. "V2010 ISU will not confirm the nature of our discussions with the individuals you have identified."

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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