Monday, June 24, 2024

B.C. Civil Liberties Group Denounces State Attack on Free Speech


Canada British Columbia Vancouver free speech repression police Palestine racism discrimination oppression genocide ethnic cleansing Zionism violence dehumanization denial of rights land theft colonialism

In a letter sent to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the B.C. Prosecution Service on June 11, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has expressed concern over incitement and promotion of hatred charges laid against Charlotte Kates, the International Coordinator for the Palestinian prison solidarity network, Samidoun.

On April 29, Kates was confronted and arrested on a bus by VPD officers for allegedly committing two offences at a “Free Palestine” rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery three days earlier. VPD charged Kates with public incitement of hatred and willful promotion of hatred. 

In a video, Kates can be seen praising the strike by several Palestinian armed groups against the Israeli military on October 7. She does not appear to incite hatred towards any particular population, nor to express support for any particular Palestinian group. Rather, she describes the attacks as resistance and deplores the indifference of politicians to the deaths of over 40,000 Palestinians following October 7.

In its letter, BCCLA asks “that the investigation and charge approval process consider Kates’s constitutionally protected expression during its engagement,” citing the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

BCCLA called the charges an “overreach,” saying it “sets a dangerous precedent,” criminalizing expressions of support for Palestinian resistance to colonialism, occupation and apartheid. “Charges of this nature not only serve to silence the political speech of the individual charged, but also have a chilling effect on protest and freedom of expression for everyone.”  (more...)

B.C. Civil Liberties Group Denounces State Attack on Free Speech

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