Nova Scotia

Anti-Olympic activists decry 'Orwellian' treatment

Two Antigonish activists say the RCMP invaded their privacy in an attempt to protect the Olympic torch.

Two activists in Antigonish say the RCMP invaded their privacy in an attempt to protect the Olympic torch.

Jesse Campbell and Rachelle Enxuga were contacted by RCMP after they placed anti-Olympic posters around the northern Nova Scotia town.

"Just keeping tabs on a community discussion group in that way, I find a little bit Orwellian. It's kind of bizarre," Campbell told CBC News.

The posters invited people to attend meetings before the torch relay passed through Antigonish on Tuesday. One depicted a riot police officer with Olympic rings on his helmet, while the other had handcuffs instead of rings.

"It's supposed to be intentionally provocative," Campbell said of the posters.

He said he believes public money is better spent on housing and social programs than on sports infrastructure for the Olympic Games.

Enxuga said the RCMP called them on their private unlisted number and instructed them to go to the local detachment to discuss the meetings and any planned protest.

Enxuga and Campbell decided not to go. They contacted the RCMP and said they were asked for personal information, such as their hometowns.

They also said the officer knew that 11 people had attended their first meeting and three people were at the second one.

"If they're looking into how many people were at our meetings, who knows if they were looking into who these people were at our meetings," said Campbell.

He said he made it clear to the officer that they didn't plan on protesting at the torch relay event.

Campbell said he understands that police must investigate potentially threatening groups, but he's upset with how the RCMP contacted them and the questions they were asked.

Sgt. Brigdit Leger, an RCMP spokeswoman, said police monitor protest groups and make contact with them before any major public event.

"Before an event and throughout an event, we gather information and we seek to either confirm or disregard individuals as a potential threat to the safety and security of the torch relay, or any other public event," she said.

There were no disruptions as the Olympic torch passed through Antigonish on Tuesday.

Enxuga and Campbell were there and handed out pamphlets. They say they have no plans to file a complaint against the RCMP.

In B.C., hundreds of anti-Olympic protesters interrupted the torch relay as it wound through downtown Victoria on Oct. 30.

As the torch and its entourage were heading toward a celebration at the B.C. legislature, organizers and security forces quickly packed the torchbearers into vehicles and moved around the demonstrators.