Anti-poverty group splatter B.C. premier's office with paint

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Anti-Poverty Committee (APC) has taken full responsibility for four people splattering latex paint on the front of British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell's office in Vancouver Thursday afternoon. They tried to break into the office and frightened staff.

The four were described as three women and one man wearing white painter suits and face masks. One was recording the event on video. A constituency assistant said they put posters on the outside of the building. They splattered the front of the building with paint.

The paint represented three official colours of the Olympic flag; yellow, red and green.

"I think the activists should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said the premier. "Frankly, this is about seeing their faces on television."

Attorney General of British Columbia Wally Oppal spoke out against the group: "It's disturbing when you have people like these, who are continually intimidating law-abiding citizens and I think the public is getting sick and tired of this group."

The group vandalised and broke into Campbell's office in Vancouver last May when they posed as a flower delivery service and quickly ransacked his office breaking windows and throwing pictures, office documents, and various other items. They also threw yellow paint and put posters on the Olympic Clock in downtown Vancouver last April.

They believe that poor citizens are losing their homes due to the money spent and developments near the city on preparation for the long-awaited 2010 Winter Olympics.

"Why we went to the premier's office was to protest the budget, the lack of any real money being spent on what poor people need, you know, housing, not hotels but real social housing," said David Cunningham, a spokesman for the group. The budget has "billions of dollars compounded in surplus at the expense of poor people's lives," he told the CBC.

Cunningham said the group will not stop the "criminal acts" until the government's budget surplus is spent on social housing and on the citizen's.

"Just after 2 p.m. a group of people attended the premier's office … and threw paint on the exterior of the building," said Const. Jana McGuinness of the Vancouver Police Department. "This is a criminal charge. This is mischief, so if charges are warranted we'll definitely be laying charges."

No arrests were made as the four managed to leave before police arrived.