More than a dozen people protested along Highway 75 in Morris, Man., Friday afternoon
Demonstrators gathered in Morris, Man., on Friday, standing in solidarity with the 1492 Land Back Lane camp in Ontario and protesting the Manitoba government’s throne speech promise to introduce anti-blockade legislation.
“We’ve come together to protest, to show solidarity with Six Nations in Ontario and Land Back Lane camp,” said Harrison Powder, one of more than a dozen people at the protest on Highway 75 at the south end of Morris.
“Those people have been arrested there … while they’re trying to defend their treaty rights.”
Members from the Haudenosaunee community of Six Nations set up the camp in July on an area of land in Caledonia, Ont., slated to become a subdivision, but which people at the encampment say is stolen, unceded Haudenosaunee territory.
Ontario Provincial Police have arrested demonstrators at the site. On Friday, an Ontario Superior Court judge gave the camp until Oct. 22 to vacate the land before he rules on making an injunction against their presence permanent.
Powder said Friday was a national day of action for communities across Canada to stand in support of the 1492 Land Back Lane camp.
“We’re not the only community [and] we’re not the only groups who are protesting,” he said. “It’s happening across the country right now.”
Demonstration to fight promised anti-blockade law
The demonstration, which lasted roughly 2½ hours, was also a protest of legislation promised by Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government that would restrict future blockades.
The government announced its intention to bring forward the new law in its throne speech earlier this week, saying the legislation will prevent “illegal protests and blockades,” referring to railway blockades earlier this year.
“There’s no way that this is designed to infringe on anyone’s right to lawful protest,” Premier Brian Pallister said at the time.
But Powder said that’s exactly what the law will do.
“The Charter of Rights guarantees us these rights … in Canada, to be able to protest bills, to express ourselves, to be able to … defend our communities,” he said.
In comments prior to the throne speech Wednesday, Pallister said blockades “take away” the rights of people they impact. Powder said Friday that’s incorrect.
“The most we do is disrupt the public for a few minutes,” he said.
In the case of prolonged blockades like the railway blockades earlier this year, Powder said people fighting government action are sometimes left with no other venue to make their voices heard.
“For us, you know, that’s the only way we get attention sometimes,” he said. “The public won’t pay attention, the politicians don’t pay attention to us, until we do something like blocking the railway. And that’s unfortunate.”
With files from Radio-Canada’s Patrick Foucault
By CBC News · Posted: Oct 09, 2020