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Anti-Olympic activists demand police lay off

* Story updated at 4:26 p.m. on June 25, 2009.

VANCOUVER - A lawyer for Olympic Resistance Network members wants the RCMP Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit to stop the "abusive and unlawful" treatment of his clients.*

Lawyer Jason Gratl wrote June 11 to V2010 ISU Asst. Comm. Bud Mercer to complain about "thinly veiled threats" by Joint Intelligence Group officers to interfere with his clients' employment and personal lives during the week of June 1-5.

"The ISU's conduct is an infringement of my clients' rights to free expression, free association and privacy," Gratl wrote. He offered to receive ISU correspondence for his clients.

ORN members distributed the letter at a Wednesday news conference beside the Olympic countdown clock.

Names of Gratl's 11 clients were blacked out, but ORN members who claimed they were contacted by plainclothes officers at or near their home or workplace include Chris Shaw, Garth Mullins, Cara Fisher and Harjap Grewal.

"Not everybody is happy putting their face in front of the media," Mullins said. "If someone is known to police or of interest to police, that just casts a pall over people."

Cpl. Bert Paquet said ISU received the letter, but "we will respond in due time." He said Mercer was "tied up at an important meeting out of the country and not available via phone."

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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