Protesters out on bail
Posted By W. BRICE MCVICAR
THE BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER [Ontario]
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A handful of protesters arrested late last week in connection to the Skyway Bridge blockade have been released on bail.
John Boots, Brendan McLaughlin and Benjamin Loft were all released on $1,000 bond with conditions not to associate with the others charged following Friday’s arrest and not to participate in “unlawful protests” following their bail hearings at the Ontario Court of Justice Monday. McLaughlin and Loft had been charged with mischief while Boots faced charges of mischief and assault.
The trio are among 13 individuals arrested late last week after a five-day blockade closed the Skyway Bridge connecting Deseronto to Prince Edward County.
Mohawk protester Shawn Brant also made a brief appearance in the courtroom where he was told he will remain in custody until June 22. Brant was charged with breach of conditions.
That courtroom was filled with approximately 75 supporters who cheered and applauded as each of the three released were welcomed by family and friends. Those supporters had marched from Market Square up Pinnacle Street to the Ontario Court of Justice to show their support for those who had been arrested.
“We’re just a few supporters who came up to show our support for the injustice that happened with our people,” Thomas Bruce Maracle said before the march began.
Maracle claimed Friday’s arrests were in contradiction to negotiations the protesters had been undertaking with police.
“They spilled Mohawk blood all over the highway,” he said. “They broke the peace, they broke their honour and they broke their word.”
Maracle said the police action has created “a whole new situation.” There is a great deal of anger among local Mohawks, he said, and the situation needs to be managed.
George Smart, who was also among the supporters, also pointed the finger at police for making the arrests prior to “proper discussions.”
“We’re here to say we should be able to exercise our authority and our rights on our territory,” Smart said.
Maracle, following the bail hearings, said the result was not what the people had wanted. He said the protesters should not have been arrested.
“We’re not happy that our people were incarcerated for standing up for what we believe in,” he said. “We were in a negotiating state with the community and the police were dishonourable.”
Further bail hearings are scheduled to take place later this week.
Paul VanHooser and Charles Kloestra, both charged with mischief and assault, will remain in custody until Wednesday when bail hearings are scheduled for the pair.
Terry Maracle, William Hartin, George Zachariah and Dave Barberstock were all released Friday after being arrested and charged with mischief.
Three youths have also been charged in connection to the matter.
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