Why did BCCLA skip violent demo?

Did the BC Civil Liberties Association withdraw its “legal observers” from Saturday’s violent downtown anti-Games demo because of safety concerns? That was BCCLA executive director David Eby’s explanation to the Vancouver Sun.

Evidently worried about the nature of the unfolding protest, the BCCLA asked its volunteers to stay away.

Or was the decision made at the request of organizers of the riot that moved through the downtown core? That was the explanation offered to the Globe and Mail, and included in the statement issued by the BCCLA during the weekend.

Either way, the absence of the BCCLA from Saturday’s’ events compromises the organization’s independence as a monitor of “policing.”

According to the Saturday statement, the BCCLA observers come and go at the request of protest organizers, staying away when requested and rushing in when police take steps to enforce the law.

For the record, the BCCLA has denounced the violence and expressed satisfaction with police conduct.