Category Archives: Protests and Resistance

Activism, Civil Disobedience and Direct Action

Federal ministers agree to discuss ‘Six Nations’ historical claims’ as occupation continues

Demonstrators have occupied the McKenzie Meadows development in Caledonia for more than a month, renaming it “1492 Land Back Lane.” (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Demonstrators have been at McKenzie Meadows for more than a month

The federal government has committed to engage in negotiations around unresolved land issues related to Six Nations amid a month-long occupation of a housing development outside Caledonia.

Skyler Williams, a spokesperson for demonstrators at the McKenzie Meadows site, said the Six Nations Elected Council and Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council have received a letter from Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett agreeing to sit down and discuss the situation.

“Understand that we are a nation unto ourselves, we’re not Canadian citizens. We’re Haudenosaunee people and need to be treated as such,” Williams explained Thursday.

“The peaceful occupation of our lands is what we’re about and being able to move that conversation forward is paramount for us.”

A spokesperson for Bennett confirmed the letter was sent, adding Canada “deeply values” its relationship with Six Nations and is “committed to continuing to work collaboratively to address Six Nations’ historical claims and land right issues.”

The statement stressed the importance of peaceful dialogue for building a stronger relationship.

“With regard to the McKenzie Meadows Caledonia housing development, we encourage the parties involved to continue to work together through open dialogue to find a constructive, respectful, and positive way forward,” it added.

Dialogue is something Ontario Premier Doug Ford also pointed to when asked about the land occupation Thursday, revealing he’d met with Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill.

Demonstrators set up camp at the McKenzie Meadows on July 19, saying it’s  unceded Haudenosaunee territory and renaming it 1492 Land Back Lane.

On Thursday they began dismantling barricades across area roads set up after an OPP raid on August 5 where police fired a rubber bullet and arrested several people at the site.

Demonstrators handed over a pair of bulldozers to OPP liaison officers Thursday, 26 days into their occupation of the nearby McKenzie Meadows residential development. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Demonstrators also previously returned two bulldozers that ended up behind the blockades.

Williams said both actions were aimed at deescalating the situation and ensuring the focus of discussions stays on “the real issue here and that’s the land.”

by: Dan Taekema · CBC News · Posted: Aug 21, 2020


$16.5M settlement in lawsuit over mass arrests at 2010 G20 summit

G20 summit protesters clash with riot police in downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

$16.5M Toronto G20 settlement

A decade-long legal battle over mass arrests at the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto has come to a close after police and hundreds of protesters and others reached a $16.5 million settlement.

Lawyers representing those behind the class-action lawsuit said Monday the agreement comes after 10 years of court proceedings and negotiations with the Toronto Police Services Board.

Under the settlement, those arrested will each be entitled to compensation between $5,000 and $24,700, depending on their experiences, the lawyers said in a statement.

The deal also includes a public acknowledgment by police regarding the mass arrests and the conditions in which protestors where detained, as well as a commitment to changing how protests are policed in the future.

Those who were wrongfully arrested will also have their police records expunged, the lawyers said. The class action represented some 1,100 people who were arrested during the event.

Sherry Good, who launched the lawsuit in 2010, said the agreement “does bring about some justice,” and she hopes the right to free expression will be better respected from now on.

“The terrifying way in which I and 400 others were suddenly and arbitrarily surrounded and held by riot police on a street corner for four hours in a freezing downpour changed forever the way I look at police, continues to give me chills,” she said in a statement.

Thomas Taylor, who joined the lawsuit as another representative plaintiff, said the incident showed him “how very fragile civil liberties are for so many of us.”

“For me and hundreds of others, being suddenly surrounded and held captive by frightening numbers of riot police when we had done nothing at all, going through violent and unlawful arrests, and then being thrown into a nightmare detention centre, was a stunning and horrifying experience,” he said in a statement.

Toronto police said the force is “pleased to reach resolution” but did not otherwise comment on the agreement.

Canada’s most populous city hosted the G20 summit of world leaders in June 2010.

Many public demonstrations were organized to address issues like climate change, globalization, and poverty. Thousands of protestors demonstrated peacefully, but some protests were accompanied by deliberate vandalism.

Police reacted by encircling large groups of hundreds of protestors in several locations in downtown Toronto with cordons of riot police, holding them for hours, and then transferring many of them to a temporary detention centre in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said Toronto Police Services objected to the class-action proceedings in court, and the suit wasn’t certified as such until a police appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed in November 2016.

The agreement must still be reviewed and approved by a judge, with a hearing scheduled for Oct. 19.

The Canadian Press – Aug 17, 2020


Police presence and blockades continue through weekend for protesters in Caldeonia

A camp of protesters reclaiming a housing development in Caledonia. (Photo: Johnny Mazza – CTV Kitchener) (Aug. 8, 2020)

CALEDONIA — Blockades and a heavy police presence in Caledonia have now stretched across five days into Sunday, as a group of protesters are reclaiming a housing development construction site.

OPP first moved in to the McKenzie Meadows location on Wednesday to enforce a court order and arrest nine people.

This was when the protesters started throwing large rocks at them and striking some of the officers, according to officials.

Police say officers responded by firing rubber bullets at the camp and add that no one was injured.

Another court order was approved Friday morning that would force the protesters to vacate all roadblocks and remove anything on the road.

Haldimand County OPP says it’s up to the court sheriff to determine whether the new order, which would also prevent more blockades on any roadways in the area, will be delivered.

The camp has been set up at McKenzie Meadows since mid-July and has halted the construction. Police say the court injunction was first read to the protestors last week.

Haldimand County says the land historically belonged to the Indigenous community, and was purchased by Foxgate Developments in 2015.

In 2019, an agreement was reached between Foxgate and the Six Nations Elected Council, which confirmed that Six Nations supported the development.

One of the protesters tells CTV News they do not support the agreement and calls it, ‘a slap in the face to our people for prime real estate to be given away’.

In a statement, Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt says he does not support the protesters on the development.

On Saturday, both the protesters on the site and the police told CTV News they will stay where they are.

On Sunday, OPP tweeted that the Hwy. 6 in Caldeonia remains closed due to a demonstration.

CTV News Kitchener, Published Sunday, August 9, 2020


Road blockades up at Caledonia after OPP arrest demonstrators at residential development

Some Six Nations residents set up a blockade on Argyle Street in Caledonia after OPP officers enforced an injunction on demonstrators at a nearby housing development. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Police moved in to enforce a court injunction and arrested ‘fewer’ than 10 demonstrators

Provincial police say they’ve arrested several demonstrators who were occupying a residential development near Caledonia, Ont.

The OPP’s Haldimand County Detachment released a statement Wednesday saying its officers assisted with enforcing a court injunction against demonstrators at the Mackenzie Meadows development and arrested fewer than 10 people.

In the wake of the police action, Six Nations demonstrators set up a blockade on Argyle Street south of the Town of Caledonia and on the Highway 6 bypass.

Some vehicles were being let through after a short delay. Smokey fires at the blockade flared up at points with people shouting sometimes near the barricade.

A group of protestors from Six Nations of the Grand River took over the Mackenzie Meadows site roughly two weeks ago, dubbing it “1492 Land Back Lane” and creating a Facebook page by the same name where they’ve been sharing updates.

“Mackenzie Meadows is one of several housing developments within the area that are directly violating the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee,” reads a description of the group.

“Collectively we remain firm in our stance that action must be taken to stop the ongoing development of our lands.”

The Six Nations of the Grand River elected council, however, says the band had been “accommodated” in two ways for the work being done at the site.

In a community update released on July 24 the council said Ballantry Homes, which is one of the companies developing Mckenzie Meadows along with Losani Homes, transferred 42.3 acres to Six Nations in 2016. The builder also transferred $325,000 to the elected council, which was put into a land banking account for future purchases in 2019, according to the release.

An OPP officer guides car past the blockade on Argyle Street, south of Caledonia. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

“Ballantry Homes, as a third party owner of the land, has no legal obligation to accommodate Six Nations but it did anyway because it is aware of the Claims by Six Nations against Crown Canada and Crown Ontario,” it states.

The elected council noted out that most of the land in Oneida Township went out of Six Nations possession in the 1850s, 60s and 70s.

“The remedy for lands and money that were unlawfully taken back in the 1800’s is against Crown Canada and Crown Ontario,” reads the release, adding the claim is that the Crowns breached their fiduciary duty by unlawfully dispossessing Six Nations of all its land and money.

“Six Nations commenced an action against both Crowns in 1995 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The suit is being actively prosecuted and the trial is scheduled to start in October of 2022.”

Representatives for Ballantry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

William Liske, vice-president and chief legal officer for Losani, said he was at the site Wednesday.

“Our only comment is that today’s events allow us to re-commence construction activities, and deliver our products to the 180 families patiently waiting for their homes,” he wrote in an email to CBC.

Videos show heavy police presence

The OPP say they helped a court sheriff read and deliver an injunction on July 31 and then “attended the demonstration site and assisted with enforcement of the court injunction,” on Wednesday.

In a statement the OPP said it took a “measured, professional and safe approach”  to enforcing the injunction.

Images shared on social media showed barriers burning near Caledonia. (Jl Jamieson/Facebook)

Videos shared on the 1492 Land Back Lane Facebook page showed a large number of OPP officers walking toward demonstrators at the development.

Later posts included photos of burning barriers across area roads.

By: Dan Taekema · CBC News · Posted: Aug 05, 2020


Chiefs urge Tiny House Warriors to end pipeline protest camp in B.C.’s central Interior

The Tiny House Warriors camp at Blue River, B.C., about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops in the province’s central Interior. The protest camp is located near the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project running from Edmonton to Metro Vancouver. (Brittney McNabb)

Workers on Secwépemc traditional lands have been threatened, chiefs say. Occupiers reject their authority

Chiefs of two First Nations in B.C.’s central Interior are urging anti-pipeline protesters to pack up and leave an uninvited encampment on their traditional territory.

But a leader of the Tiny House Warriors village says they do not recognize the authority of the elected chiefs to make that call.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, Chiefs Shelly Loring of the Simpcw First Nation and Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said the Tiny House Warriors at Blue River have violated Secwépemc laws and customs.

“The interactions that I have witnessed are violent in nature,” Loring said in an interview with CBC Daybreak Kamloops’ Doug Herbert.

“We thought that it was our responsibility to stand up and say this has to stop,” Loring said. “This is enough.”

The chiefs said protest camp members were not invited and do not speak for the two First Nations located near Barriere and Kamloops, along the North and South Thompson Rivers. The Tiny House Warriors village at Blue River is located about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops near the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Loring said the Simpcw Nation gave free, prior and informed consent for Trans Mountain to build and operate the new pipeline.

The First Nation operates a company that provides security for the project. Loring said protesters are increasingly aggressive in almost daily interactions with the Indigenous and non-Indigenous security workers.

Simpcw First Nation Chief Shelly Loring (left) and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir issued a statement July 2 saying the Tiny House Warriors are violating the First Nations laws and customs and urging them to vacate their camp at Blue River, B.C. (Simpcw First Nation)

“Some of our individuals that have been threatened. We’ve had some of our individuals that have been spit on. They have been recorded without their permission,” she said.

“There’s been a number of negative interactions that have been occurring and this has been ongoing for the last two years.”

Kanahus Manuel, a resident of the Tiny House Warriors village and its spokesperson, said in a phone interview that a statement will be issued shortly from lawyers for the group in response to what she described as false allegations against the protest camp members.

Manuel said she rejects the chiefs’ call for the Tiny House Warriors to stand down from their protest because the chief-and-council system has been unilaterally imposed by the federal government with no authority over traditional lands outside their own reserve.

Band chiefs’ authority challenged

“Federal Indian Bands are not the rightful or collective title holders.” Manuel said. “Therefore they can’t make decisions regarding our collective territories.”

Earlier this week Kamloops Thompson MLA Peter Milobar said he had met with British Columbia’s solicitor general over concerns about the protest group and its impact on nearby residents and businesses.

Loring said the First Nation shares concerns expressed by the protesters for the safety of women and girls in the communities affected by the pipeline construction boom. However, the Tiny House protesters have not spoken with her about the situation.

Among 19 women from the Simpcw First Nation are working on the Trans Mountain project, she said, “they report positive experiences — and no serious incidents.”

On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the last remaining court challenge to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, refusing to hear an appeal from several First Nations against the project.

Loring said she is now concerned that more protesters will be coming from across the country to join the Tiny House camp.

The Tiny House Warriors pipeline protesters set up camps at Blue River two years ago to try to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. (Simpcw First Nation)

By: CBC News · Posted: Jul 02, 2020