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Archive for February, 2008

Olympics Welcome to Vancouver signs paintbombed

[Posted by anonymous on February 27, 2008, at friendsofgrassynarrows.com]

26 February 2008 Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver)

Three olympic Welcome to Vancouver signs (at the southern highway entrances to Vancouver) were attacked with paintbombs. The presence of the olympics in our city makes us sick. Its signs and symbols litter the city, it speeds up gentrification, and is an insult to native peoples. We hope that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) president feels unwelcome and the resistance to the olympics continues to spread.

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Student walkout Tuesday

By Robert Mangelsdorf – Maple Ridge News [British Columbia] – February 23, 2008

Students across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows plan to walk out of school on Tuesday, March 4 to protest the district’s switch to a co-ordinated linear timetable, but the organizer of an earlier rally wants nothing to do with it.

A group on the social networking website Facebook, titled “SD42 District Kids Protest For Scedule [sic] Changes!” calls for students to protest the switch to a coordinated linear timetable across the district by staging a sit-in at the school district office, 22295 Brown Ave. in Maple Ridge, at 8:30 a.m. March 4.

School board chair Cheryl Ashlie said, while the district supports the students right to protest, it is also responsible for their safety, and wishes the students would protest on their own time.

“These situations create a no-win situation for school administrators,” she said. “If they allow events like this to take place, then they’re endangering the students, and if they don’t allow the events, they’re crushing their democratic rights.”

Ashlie said given the reaction to the timetable changes, a second public consultation might be held to address some of the students concerns.

“If you’re going to ask a bunch of people to follow you, you’d better know what you’re talking about,” she said.

The group is organized by a pair of Garibaldi students, Genaya Grasby and Kandace Turmel, and already has more than 200 members.

On the website, the group states that, “[N]ext year every school in our district is going to be on the same scedule [sic]. Recently, SRT had a protest because of wanting to keep their [sic] semester system. Baldi wants to do the same, because we like our block orders…If you don’t agree with all of SD42 being the same, take a stand with us and protest!”

But the organizer of the protest at Samuel Robertson Technical says, while she supports the cause, she wants nothing to do with the event and won’t be attending.

“They are basically saying to everyone that it’s OK to skip school, and I don’t support that,” said Teesha Sharma, a 16-year-old student at SRT. “I respect what they are trying to do, but they really need to rethink their approach.”

Sharma was recently removed from her school’s student council, as well as the district student advisory council, and barred from planning any school events for her part in organizing a lunchtime protest that got out of control on Feb. 8. The protest was over the district’s timetable change.

However, shortly after the rally started, a number of unruly students led the group of about 250 Grade 11 and 12s off of school grounds, despite Sharma’s efforts to stop them. The students then disrupted traffic and pelted vehicles with fruit while marching down 104th Avenue.

Sharma failed to enter the school when told to do so by an administrator.

She believes the school administration was heavy handed in punishing her.

“They basically took away everything that I love,” she said. “I take full responsibility for my actions and I’m empathetic with [the administration’s] position, but I think they just handled this whole situation poorly.”

On Thursday, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Michael Sather gave a speech in the provincial legislature in support of Sharma’s right to protest, and encouraged the school’s administration to reverse its decision.

“Rather than suspending Teesha for a couple of days, the administration chose to take her lifeblood connection to the school from her,” he told the legislative assembly.

“Our schools function to train students to be leaders. We must do everything to encourage these qualities in our youth. We must not crush them, but must nourish them in contributing to their community. I hope that the school will reinstate Teesha, that she can finish her Grade 12 on the high note that it should be ending on and that she will go on to be a great leader in our society.”

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Lockdown, visitor ban continue at Millhaven Institution near Kingston, Ont.

Published: Friday, February 22, 2008
Canadian Press

KINGSTON, [Ontario] – Millhaven Institution, west of Kingston, Ont., remains in lockdown status one week after some incidents involving unruly prisoners.

A staff member was assaulted by a prisoner last Friday but was able to return to work the next day after receiving medical treatment.

Other incidents include fires being set in a maximum-security area and a weapon being found in the kitchen.

The Institutional Emergency Response Team was brought in to help return things to normal.

Authorities are restricting inmate activities and banning visitors from the maximum-security prison until the investigations are complete.

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Six men charged in prison riot

By Monisha Martins – Maple Ridge News [British Columbia] – February 22, 2008

Six men charged in connection with a riot at a Maple Ridge prison last August remain in custody.

The men were among 31 inmates at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre who caused extensive damage to a living unit in the prison last year.

Donald Addley and Cash Vansanten have been charged with forcible prison break with intent to free themselves.

The pair, as well as Matt Conley, Peter Pete, Kyle Vaugan and Johnny Nguyen, also faces one count each of taking part in a riot.

Conley has also been charged with uttering threats.

Documents filed at the court registry show that Addley entered a guilty plea to the charges on Wednesday and has already been sentenced to five years in prison.

The others are scheduled to appear in court for bail hearings at the end of the month.

The charges stem from a riot at the prison on 256th Street that took three correctional tactical unit and 12 members of the RCMP’s emergency response team four hours to quell.

B.C. Corrections reported that 10 cells and a guard’s office were damaged during the incident.

It was the first of two riots at the provincial prison in the past six months.

B.C. Corrections is still investigating the latest riot, which happened on Feb. 9. No charges have been laid.

In that riot, 31 inmates housed in the remand section started destroying their cell block.

The incident started when three inmates refused to be transferred out of the block.

As the incident escalated, other inmates started small fires, broke windows, dislodged sinks and toilets, and kicked through doors, almost breaching a second cell block on the floor.

The prison was built in 1990 for 254 inmates. The facility is currently 72 over capacity, with most of the inmates doubled-bunked, two to a cell.

Next year, the facility will expand by 135 cells, to 389 from 254, requiring an addition to the building.

Construction is due to start in February 2009 and be complete by December 2010.

In the meantime, temporary housing for 100 inmates will be complete by May. That will be in the form of a large tent, as used in some U.S. prisons.

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Vandals target city’s newest hotel; opening not delayed

February 15, 2008
VIK KIRSCH
MERCURY STAFF

GUELPH [Ontario]

Quick action prevented vandalism from marring Tuesday’s opening of Guelph’s newest hotel.

The Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre was vandalized early Tuesday when someone smashed the glass of the main entrance door and adjacent windows, causing $1,500 damage, Guelph Police reported Wednesday.

A security guard notified police shortly before 4 a.m.

“Very disappointing,” hotel general manager Alan Boivin said yesterday, describing the incident.

But he added an area glass company replaced the damaged pieces by noon.

“We were very well taken care of,” Boivin said. “We were able to clean it up in time.

At 3 p.m., on schedule, the hotel opened its bar lounge and welcomed its first guest, Boivin said.

Guelph Police spokesperson Sergeant Cate Welsh said bricks were used to smash the glass, though it appears no entry was gained.

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RBC Targeted Again

Ottawa Anarchists, 14.02.2008
[Published at ottawa.indymedia.org]

Another attack on RBC, corporate sponsor and accomplice to the genocide and ecocide perpetrated by VANOC and the various levels of Canadian government.

On the night of February 12th, 2008, bricks found their way through the windows of a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. The branch targeted is located at Bank St. and First Ave. in the Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa. This action – on the 2 year mark before the 2010 Olympics – was done in solidarity with the ongoing struggle against all sponsors of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver-Whistler, BC.

It is part of the No 2010 campaign which opposes the Olympic Games on stolen land, the final “ratification” of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and the G-8, all of which are planned to hit Canada in that year. It is done in solidarity with the struggle of First Nations in Coast Salish and the rest of Turtle Island against clolonial genocide. It is in solidarity with Vancouver’s homeless, who are being relocated in a process of gentrification. It is in solidarity with all those who fight the ongoing ecocide perpetrated by VANOC and its corporate sponsors, including the RBC.

We will continue targeting corporations that support this genocide and ecocide.

We say scrap the SPP;
Down with the G-8; and
Fuck the Corporate Circus!!!

RIOT 2010!

– Ottawa Anarchists.

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Taxi drivers angered by mayor’s remarks

Jake Rupert , The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Anger verging on violence erupted at city hall Wednesday after taxi drivers interpreted remarks from Mayor Larry O’Brien as disrespectful.

Just before council voted to maintain its requirement for all taxis to have security cameras installed by July 1, Mr. O’Brien said for him, the matter is primarily a question of public safety – and driver safety second.

This prompted outrage and shouts of “f— you” as about 60 drivers filed out of council chambers before the vote was taken.

Union leader Yusef Al Mezel immediately called the remarks demeaning and insensitive and accused the mayor of treating cab drivers as “second-class citizens” during a heated moment outside council chambers, while several police officers looked on.

“This is too much,” Mr. Al Mezel said. “We are hard-working taxpayers, and they are treating us like criminals.”

Mr. Al Mezel and other union leaders said the camera decision, which will cost each car owner $1,500, will contribute to an expected strike in the spring. They say contract talks with Blue Line, the city’s largest cab company, are going poorly, and the drivers are fed up with the company and the city’s management of the industry.

After the vote, Mr. O’Brien said he didn’t mean any disrespect. He said his meaning was that the cameras would protect the public and drivers equally and apologized for “any confusion” his comments may have caused.

But by that point, the drivers said, they were beyond apologies. They said they will not install the cameras, and if the city wants to try to punish them or take their licences, the city will have a fight on its hands.

Taxi drivers and company owners say the cost of the cameras is too much. They also say the city has left the door open for invading drivers’ privacy by not guaranteeing any information collected by the cameras would only be used in criminal investigations.

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Cabbies threaten no fair, no fare

Drivers vow to strike unless city reverses decision on security cameras

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, CITY HALL BUREAU
Ottawa Sun [Ontario]
Thu, February 14, 2008

Ottawa’s cab drivers stormed out of a city council meeting yesterday angry, disgusted and threatening to strike.

Seconds before council voted to force taxi drivers to have security cameras installed in all city-licensed cabs by July 2, about 100 drivers stood up and walked out.

They were offended by a comment made by Mayor Larry O’Brien.

“The key issue in terms of my decision-making related to public safety, of secondary issue was the safety of the drivers,” said O’Brien.

It was after that comment the drivers left the meeting.

Yousef Al Mezel, president of Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 1688, led the charge out of council chambers, yelling he didn’t appreciate being called a second-class citizen.

“We are taxpayers and we should be respected,” said Al Mezel. “We should be respected in that chamber.”

On scene all day, members of the police tactical unit and patrol officers stood close by as taxi drivers began to protest loudly through the corridors of city hall.

“He’s a racist,” yelled one driver.

POLICE PRESENCE

“He’s calling us second-class citizens. We are not. We are taxpayers,” yelled another.

Al Mezel also questioned why so many police were stationed at City Hall.

“They think we are criminals,” he said.

As taxi drivers left City Hall, they said they wouldn’t respect any bylaw that forced them to install cameras in their vehicles and repeatedly threatened to go on strike.

“The whole city will be shut down,” said Al Mezel. “We will not accept this and we will take action. We will not install the cameras.”

O’Brien attempted to clarify his comments after the drivers left and said he’s concerned with the public safety of all citizens, including drivers.

“I don’t know how they could have taken my comments otherwise,” he said. “There are benefits for passengers and drivers.”

DRIVER ASSAULTED

O’Brien was also quick to point out that the night before the vote, a cab driver was assaulted and robbed by two men who then stole his vehicle and that if a security camera was installed the crime might have been prevented.

Mohamed Alsadi, national representative for CAW Local 462, said the mayor’s remark was regrettable and a strike is a possibility.

“It’s very real,” he said, and added there is $70 million in the union’s strike fund. “If I tell you it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” he said.

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