British Columbia

Protesters force Harper to delay appearance

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to postpone a visit to a Vancouver Chinese community centre Wednesday because protesters had surrounded the building and wrapped tape and a bicycle-lock chain around the handles of the front doors.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to postpone a visit to a Vancouver Chinese community centre Wednesday because protesters had surrounded the building and wrapped tape and a bicycle-lock chain around the handles of the front doors.

Harper was scheduled to make an afternoon visit to the centre to see a rehearsal for Chinese new year festivities next week.

An estimated 100 people, including Chinese new year performers, officials and journalists were inside. Police quickly cut the lock and removed the tape.

It's believed Harper's security detail made the decision to postpone the appearance and his motorcade did not approach the building.

The prime minister made the visit a few hours later, once the demonstrators had dispersed.

 The Vancouver Police Department later said it was warning demonstrators they could not jeopardize the health and safety of others.

"In this case there were chains put on doors of a building where there were people inside, and that is unsafe," said Const. Lindsey Houghton.

There were no injuries or arrests in the incident, said Houghton.

Many of the estimated 150 protesters carried placards denouncing the federal government's decision to appeal a B.C. Court of Appeal decision that a Vancouver safe-injection site could remain open.

The facility, called Insite, is located on the Downtown Eastside, one block from Wednesday's protest.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced Monday that the government would seek leave to appeal that decision before the Supreme Court of Canada.

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