Volume 92, Issue 7

Tuesday, September 15, 1998

here we go


Protest hearing delayed

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

The public inquiry into the actions of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officers involved in breaking up a student protest in Vancouver last November was delayed another three weeks yesterday.

One of the student protestors, Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, said the new delay was requested by protestors upset with the way the Public Complaints Commission, an administrative tribunal of the RCMP, has handled the inquiry. The Commission instantly granted the RCMP a five-month delay but made the student protestors apply three times for a three-week adjournment, she said.

The protest was organized in opposition to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit which saw controversial leaders such as Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Indonesian President Suharto visit the campus of University of British Columbia.

Protestors who crossed police lines were pepper sprayed and forcibly removed by RCMP officers working security detail.

The inquiry was set to commence April 14 and address the 47 complaints registered by UBC protestors against the police.

Sgt. Russell Grabb, spokesperson for the RCMP in Vancouver, said the long delay of the inquiry was to accommodate student protestors who might not be around during the summer. "All of our evidence had to be brought forth by the end of May," he said.

Westergard-Thorpe said the student protestors are the only group involved in the inquiry that is not receiving federal funding for their lawyers and lacking access to all the evidence in the case.

The inquiry is set to resume October 5.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998