Archive for June, 2009

Guelph: Road Blockade in Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation

[Contributed by Anonymous to news.infoshop.org, June 20 2009]


In the morning of June 17th 2009, a few people dressed in black blocked the Hanlon Highway at Paisley Road during rush hour.

Fallen trees and branches were pulled across the southbound lanes and two smoke bombs were set off to draw attention to the banner, which was dropped from the railway overpass. The banner read: “PARK YOUR CARS! Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation.”

This action was done to disrupt the transport of goods and people, especially those belonging to the Linamar Corporation. Linamar is a member of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which works to improve the efficiency of North American trade. Amongst its plans is the militarization and fortification of the borders and their guards. Like in Awkesasne, Tyendinaga and Peru, we too stand against the SPP and its projects.

Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation means ATTACK!

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Tensions between Montreal North’s youth, police

Updated Wed. Jun. 17 2009
CTV.ca News Staff [Quebec]

A fire burns on a north Montreal street after police and youths clashed on Tuesday, June 16, 2009. (CTV)

A fire burns on a north Montreal street after police and youths clashed on Tuesday, June 16, 2009. (CTV)

Some residents of Montreal North are worried the neighbourhood’s youth are relying on violence to express their frustrations with police, after a night of vandalism resulted in nine arrests.

“I’m worried that young people are developing a culture of violence against the police,” Brunilda Reyes, a community spokesperson, told CTV Montreal in French. “We have to change that.”

The Montreal borough has seen several violent protests since teenager Fredy Villanueva was fatally shot by police last August. During the latest bout of vandalism Tuesday night, businesses were damaged, fires were set, and police were pelted with bottles.

Youth worker Will Prosper said young people are concerned they have been the targets of racism. After Villanueva’s death, politicians and law enforcement officials spoke about reaching out to Montreal North’s youth, but Prosper said there has been little or no concrete action.

“The leaders have not listened to them,” he said.

Most of the suspects arrested Tuesday night are in their twenties. They face a range of charges including assault with a weapon, assaulting a police officer, trespassing, vandalism and public mischief.

According to reports, police went to the park at about 10 p.m. in response to calls about fights in the area.

When they arrived the fight had broken up, but between 50 and 60 youths were in the park.

Officers stayed on the scene to observe the group, but eventually became the target — with the group pelting the officers with bottles and rocks.

About 100 riot police were called in to clear the group, which then went on to cause damage to parked cars, businesses and a school in the area.

Const. Andre Leclerc told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that the group quickly broke out of the area around the park.

“The young people were going in the back alleys and the streets,” Leclerc said. “They were damaging cars and houses and a school.”

One officer was slightly injured in the melee while trying to arrest one of the suspects.

On Wednesday morning, Montreal Police Chief Yvan Delorme visited the scene of the Tuesday night confrontation — a sign of the high level of concern about relations between police and residents in the area.

“The police are saying they know this is a hotbed, there are occasionally clashes with police and there’s a high level of mistrust of police — but also that they have a job to do and when there’s a call about a disturbance they’re going to go ahead and do their job,” Lurie told CTV News Channel.

In Quebec City, provincial Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis said a small group of agitators are responsible for the high tensions in north Montreal.

Dupuis vowed that police would not turn a blind eye but would continue to bring order to the area.

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Protesters out on bail

Photo: Belleville Intelligencer

Photo: Belleville Intelligencer

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.


Akwesasne Counterspin

Tyendinaga Support Committee

No One Is Illegal – Montreal Update on Akwesasne

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Blockade comes to end

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Motorists are once again able to cross the Skyway Bridge after protesters who had closed the Highway 49 fixed link for six days left the scene without incident.

It was just after 5 p. m. on Friday when the small blockade preventing vehicles from crossing the bridge was removed.

“We left on our own terms,” a female protester told The Intelligencer. “It’s contingent with our boys on bail and that’s all I can say.”

The protester was referring to 13 individuals who were arrested and charged at the protest scene early Friday morning. Napanee OPP detachment commander Pat Finnegan confirmed Shawn Brant was among those arrested.

It was at approximately 6:30 a. m. when the OPP’s Public Order Unit arrived at the scene and, after Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service officers — who were in control of the scene throughout the protest — advised protesters they should move or be arrested, the OPP team moved in, police said.

During the arrests, police said a Tyendinaga Police Service officer sustained an injury to his hand and two protesters were taken to hospital with injuries. One was treated for a minor injury, the other remains at hospital complaining of back and shoulder pain.

“The decision to remove the protesters was a joint policing decision made after all other avenues to finding a resolution to the road closure were exhausted,” Sgt. Kristine Rae said.

By midmorning, police had assumed the original position the protesters held since Sunday evening in support of Akwesasne Mohawks.

That position was lost later in the morning, however, when as many as two dozen protesters blocked access to Bayshore Road, while others — namely native dissident Jerome Barnhart — loudly ordered media and the public away from the scene. A short time later the protesters resumed their original position and were again preventing vehicles from crossing the bridge.

Clad in camouflage and wearing white sneakers, Barnhart barreled across Highway 49 shortly after 8:30 a. m. barking orders that all media “should get away from here right now.”

“You need to leave right now, or else,” he said, his finger now pointing down the highway.

“The CBC is not allowed here and neither are you. Get the f–k out. And don’t be pulling off the road down there … we’re going to be watching you and where you go.”

A vehicle with individuals from the protest group followed the retreating reporter from the scene.

An OPP helicopter was circling the scene throughout the day and a police marine unit was nearby, Finnegan said.

There was a heavy police presence around the bridge, including several dozen officers and vehicles parked at the Picton Arena and another, smaller group of officers at Centennial Park in Deseronto.

Finnegan confirmed his concerns that if the bridge had remained closed during the weekend there could have been clashes between the protesters and people from neighbouring communities, including tourists.

He also said Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Donald Maracle requested the OPP help the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police clear the bridge.

Meanwhile, support among Mohawks for the protesters in both Akwesasne and Tyendinaga — who are not all natives — appeared to have bottomed-out, according to sources on both reserves.

As many as 100 Mohawks from Tyendinaga who are opposed to Brant’s actions confronted him and his followers Thursday evening at the bridge site, demanding he and others remove themselves from the scene.

Also, earlier this week, The Intelligencer has learned, the Rooseveltown, New York, long house of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs representing Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora peoples, — ‘Haudenosaunee’– formally asked Shawn Brant to remove the roadblock. The message was sent to Brant formally, through Tyendinaga police chief Ron Maracle.

The longhouse is considered the epicentre of the Mohawk community.

Brant had earlier claimed he had support of Akwsasne “clan mothers.”

As well, earlier this week representatives of the band council of Akwesasne — the elected native municipal leaders — voiced displeasure with Brant’s actions, claiming it could negatively impact the situation in their community.

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Mohawk police chief’s vehicle shot up

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Six bullets were pumped into the personal vehicle of Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Chief Ron Maracle, The Intelligencer has learned.

The incident occurred while the vehicle– a black Ford F-150 — was parked in the lot of the police station on York Road between 4:30 p. m. Thursday and 7:30 a. m. Friday.

Three of the windows of the vehicle were shot out and the body along the passenger side was riddled with holes.

At the time, Maracle was at the scene of a protest that had blocked the Skyway Bridge near Deseronto.

Police would not confirm suspicions the incident was linked to the blockade, however, a criminal investigation has been launched.

A resident whose home is in close proximity to the police station, said she did not hear any gunshots Thursday night. The incident, the woman said, is “frightening” as living so close to a police station would lead one to believe she is safe.

“It’s scary. I thought living here we’d be safe but that’s a little too close,” she said, adding she did not want to be identified.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at [stop snitchin’] or Crime Stoppers at [stop snitchin’].

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Six Nations Solidarity Action: “Native protesters cause highway chaos”

Photo The Spec

Photo: The Spec

June 11, 2009
Paul Morse
The Hamilton Spectator [Ontario]

A protest march by Six Nations natives snarled traffic along some of greater Hamilton’s busiest highways today.

Several dozen natives on foot and in cars proceeded along the Red Hill Valley Parkway, Linc and Highway 403 to Brantford to protest the arming of border guards on the Akwesasne reserve in eastern Ontario.

The Six Nations group of up to about a dozen on foot, followed by a small convoy of cars, walked onto the southbound Red Hill Valley Parkway shortly after 8 a.m. with half a dozen Hamilton police cruisers, a motorcycle cop and one marked OPP cruiser behind.

Hamilton police, who patrol the Red Hill and the Linc, say they were informed of the protest last night and decided it was in the best interest of everyone to allow it to happen.

“We took a balanced approach, working with them and the community,” said media officer Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings.

“We wanted to make sure that, if it was going to take place, that it was done safely.”

Police escorted the natives up the fast lane of the parkway from Queenston Road, along the Linc, then west on 403 to Brantford, throwing traffic into chaos.

At times, traffic was backed up for kilometres.

Native spokesperson Jessie Anthony said women from Six Nations organized the protest yesterday after receiving a call for support from the Akwesasne reserve.

“We knew this was going to be a rolling blockade march to support what’s going on in Akwesasne.”

Spokesperson Dawn Smith said the Red Hill Valley falls within the Haldimand Tract.

“We chose to start at Queenston because it encompassed all the major highways that run along our territory.”

“It was because of the way the highways connect,” Anthony said. “It was more a decision on how many people we could reach to make them aware of the situation that’s going on in Akwesasne.”

The native marchers would not say if Hamilton is now on their radar for land-dispute protests.

“When we do this, we don’t pick an area and say ‘OK, we’re going to go and bother Hamilton or Brantford,’” Smith said.

“It depends on the situation, what is being developed and how it is going to affect our next seven generations,” Smith said.

The natives said Hamilton police expressed concerns about the march until they learned that protesters did not plan to block the highway completely.

Anthony said the arming of Canadian border guards on the reserve was tantamount to an armed occupation.

The natives also protested the closing of a bridge that connects the American and Canadian sides of the reserve.

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Mohawk protesters block Ontario bridge over arming of border guards

CBC News [Ontario]
Last Updated: Monday, June 8, 2009

Mohawk protesters block access to the Skyway Bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County.  (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

Mohawk protesters block access to the Skyway Bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

About 40 Mohawk protesters blocked a bridge in eastern Ontario Sunday evening in support of a nearby First Nations community engaged in a standoff with the federal government over the arming of border guards.

Protesters blocked either side of the Skyway bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County.

Shawn Brant, a well-known activist in Tyendinaga, helped organize the blockade. Brant and other Mohawks plan to stay on the bridge until the federal government makes a commitment to hold what they describe as meaningful talks with Mohawks in Akwesasne. The Akwesasne territory is located near Cornwall, Ont., east of Kingston.



Talks between Mohawk officials from the Akwesasne and the Canada Border Services Agency broke down last weekend over the issue of arming guards assigned to posts on Cornwall island, which is in the middle of Akwesasne, a territory that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state.

The border guards in Cornwall were set to start carrying 9-mm handguns last Monday, under a new federal policy enacted across the country. Instead, guards left their posts at midnight last Sunday, citing safety concerns, after hundreds of Mohawks set up camp near the border to protest the gun policy.

Canadian authorities then shut down the Seaway International Bridge into the United States at Cornwall last Monday. The bridge, which spans the St. Lawrence River, handles about 2.4 million crossings annually.

Possibility of closure

A boy joins Mohawk protesters at their demonstration. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

A boy joins Mohawk protesters at their demonstration. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

For the time being, travellers have been advised to use a point of entry at Prescott, which is 60 kilometres west, or the Dundee crossing, which is 17 kilometres southeast.

The Akwasasne protesters are angry about guards being allowed to carry guns, because they say it violates their sovereignty, and increases the likelihood of violent confrontations.

The federal public safety minister said Sunday the border crossing might be shut permanently unless Mohawk leaders accept a decision to arm border guards.

Peter Van Loan told CTV’s Question Period the government is examining all options, including moving the port of entry.

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Prisoner restrictions halted at Matsqui
Lawyers plan to take complaints to court

Mary Frances Hill, Vancouver Sun [British Columbia]
Published: Saturday, June 06, 2009

Corrections Canada called off severe restrictions on prisoners in Matsqui Institution on Friday after lawyers for the prisoners went public with complaints about deteriorating conditions.

Prisoners had been locked in their cells for 23 hours a day for nine weeks following a protest against an increase in work hours.

However, authorities did not reverse the transfers of 14 convicts who had come forward with prisoner complaints.

“This is a partial victory,” said lawyer Donna Turko, who represented the group along with prison rights lawyer John Conroy.

Turko said the convicts will again have access to toilets, sinks, phone facilities and common areas in their “ranges,” or wings of the prison.

She said the lawyers still intend to go to B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to deal with issues that have arisen from the conflict, such as the transferred prisoners and other rights issues.

Conroy said the 14 had acted as representatives for 220 Matsqui prisoners. Two of the transferred prisoners, Jean Paul Aube and Stephane Turcotte, had claimed in court documents that prisoners were getting limited access to food and facilities since staging the protest.

Some were defecating in their cells and throwing the waste out the windows, and the lawyers said the stench of human waste permeated the upper floors of the prison as record-high temperatures hit the Fraser Valley this week.

Turko said Corrections Canada had bowed to media pressure.


“Conroy said the prisoners have solidarity. When they held a strike vote, about 95 per cent supported the action. He said there is no threat of a riot.”

– Abbotsford New, June 6, 2009

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Matsqui prisoners transferred days before they were to air complaints in court

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun [British Columbia]
June 4, 2009

Fourteen Matsqui prisoners — including two who filed a petition against the prison over inhuman living conditions — have been transferred to other institutions, just days before they were to get their day in court.

Prison rights lawyer John Conroy said the 14 prisoners had acted as representatives for 220 Matsqui inmates, who have been locked in their cells for 23 hours a day since May 11.

Those transferred include Jean Paul Aube and Stephane Turcotte, who claimed in court documents that inmates have been given limited access to food and bathroom facilities since staging a work stoppage nine weeks ago to protest an increase in work hours.

Conroy and lawyer Donna Turko plan said they intend to take the prison warden to B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

“The people who were talking to everybody and keeping them cool … [the prison] is shipping out,” Conroy said.

He said the prison argues that the prisoner representatives had been stopping inmates from going to work but that in fact, 97 per cent of the inmates supported the work stoppage, which has been peaceful with no signs of violence.

Aube is now at Mountain Institution and Turcotte at Mission Prison, Conroy said, while three others have been transferred to maximum security at Kent. He didn’t say where the other nine were sent.

Conroy and Turko spent Thursday collecting affidavits from 50 inmates affected by the work stoppage.

In court documents, Turcotte and Aube said that for the first six weeks of the stoppage, the inmates were allowed to eat regular meals in the dining hall. But since May 11, they have been kept in their cells for 23 hours and are having to wait hours to use bathroom on each floor, which they say is inhumane, they say. Some are defecating in their cells and throwing the waste out the window.

“It’s not a healthy situation for them; they don’t even have any toilet paper or anything to clean themselves with,” Conroy said.

Turcotte and Aube also claim prisoners aren’t getting enough food, have limited access to call family or lawyers, and that the situation has affected prison transfers and unescorted temporary absences to visit dying relatives.

Alain Charette, spokesman for the Correctional Service of Canada’s Pacific region, insisted the inmates were not in a lockdown situation but noted “there are some restrictions.”

The issue arose after CSC decided to implement a more structured work day, in which prisoners were required to be involved in work and scheduled activities — including counselling and schooling — for 12 hours a day instead of eight.

Matsqui is the first prison in the Pacific region to implement the new policy, which is aimed at preparing inmates for reintegration into society, Charette said.

He wouldn’t say if the prisoner transfers were related to the work stoppage.

“I’d rather stay away [from that issue],” he said. “If [the lawyers] see a link, that becomes an issue for the judge to decide. It’s too close for me to say it’s not linked or not going to be linked.”

Charette refused to comment further, saying the matter is headed to court.

“We’re still working on coming back to a normal situation in a new structured 12-hour day,” he said.

But Conroy said if the prison wants to implement community standards, it should be improving basic living conditions, such as providing toilets and sinks in cells.

The prisoners say previous jobs held by inmates have been cancelled and now everyone must fill out applications for new jobs, which has the potential to cause serious conflict among inmates.

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Updates from No One Is Illegal – Montreal and links to corporate news articles

Mohawks gather near the Seaway International Bridge to protest the arming of border guards (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC)

Mohawks gather near the Seaway International Bridge to protest the arming of border guards (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC)

Update – 5:35am
Monday, June 1, 2009

— CBSA guards abandon posts
— Seaway International Bridge is blocked to vehicular traffic by police
— Protesters maintain presence at border crossing

Dawn is breaking on the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne, where local residents have protested for months to oppose the arming of Canadian Borders Services Agency (CBSA) guards on their territory. More than 50 protesters are maintaining a presence near the Canadian customs building on Cornwall Island. There are at least five fires burning to keep demonstrators warm. Many more residents and supporters are expected to be on-site as the morning progresses.

According to residents of Akwesasne (as well as mainstream media reports), CBSA border agents abandoned their posts just before midnight, out of fear of reprisals from the community. CBSA agents were due to be armed at the Port of Cornwall crossing on June 1, a policy universally opposed and condemned by the Akwesasne Mohawk Community.

Vehicular traffic onto the Seaway International Bridge has been shut down by police on both sides of the border, although pedestrians are still being allowed to access the bridge.

The Mohawk territory of Akwesasne straddles the jurisdictions of Ontario, Quebec and New York State, and is a major international border crossing between Canada and the United States. CBSA guards began arming in 2007, and there are currently more than 800 armed CBSA guards across Canada. The entire CBSA aims to be armed, in stages, by 2016. The CBSA announced that their agents at the Port of Cornwall would be armed by June 1 of this year.

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