Category Archives: Protests and Resistance

Activism, Civil Disobedience and Direct Action

Judge dismisses defamation claim by Dakota Access protester

Photo by Rob Wilson.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit by a New York City woman who was severely injured in an explosion while protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota four years ago.

In a 54-page ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor dismissed claims of defamation against law enforcement officials who made public statements blaming the woman for her own injury.

Sophia Wilansky, who was 21 at the time, suffered an arm injury in a violent November 2016 clash between protesters and police during the unsuccessful months-long protest in southern North Dakota against the pipeline.

Protesters allege the blast was caused by a concussion grenade thrown by officers, but law enforcement said it was caused by a propane canister that protesters rigged to explode.

Wilansky’s lawsuit filed two years ago also seeks millions of dollars for alleged excessive force, assault, negligence and emotional distress. Those parts of the lawsuit are still pending.

Traynor, who is based in Bismarck, sided with government attorneys who argued statements about news events released to the public by law officers as part of their official duties are entitled to immunity.

Government lawyers also argued that Wilansky’s father, Wayne, had given interviews to the news media giving her side of the story.

Attorneys for Sophia Wilansky did not immediately return telephone calls Monday.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners built the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline to move oil from the Dakotas through Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois, which it began doing in June 2017.

Thousands of opponents gathered in southern North Dakota in 2016 and early 2017, camping on federal land and often clashing with police. Hundreds were arrested over six months.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposed the pipeline over fears it would harm cultural sites and the tribe’s Missouri River water supply — claims rejected by the company and the state.

By James MacPherson, Associated Press.

[SOURCE]

5 arrested after standing in way of Trans Mountain pipeline construction in B.C. Interior

One person is carried away from a work site on unceded Secwepemc territory near Kamloops, B.C., on Thursday after standing in the way of Trans Mountain pipeline construction along the Thompson River. (Submitted by Secwepemc Sacred Woman’s Fire Council)

Secwepemc hereditary chief, daughter among those arrested Thursday

Five people including a Secwepemc hereditary chief and his daughter have been arrested after standing against construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Secwepemc territory in Kamloops, B.C.

A statement from the Sacred Woman’s Fire Council said the group was arrested near a work site on Mission Flats Road on Thursday as pipeline crews prepared to drill underneath the Thompson River.

Those arrested include Hereditary Chief Segwses, Loralie Dick, April Thomas, Billie Pierre and Romilly Cavanaugh, the latter of whom is a former engineer for the Trans Mountain pipieline.

“Along with the direct action … the Secwepemc delivered a Cease and Desist letter to TMX Pipeline corporation for the second time. The Secwepemc people did so under the direction of the Elder’s Council stating the land has never been ceded or surrendered and no consent has ever been given for the colonial government or the Trans Mountain pipeline to enact the violent authority and jurisdiction they claim on Secwepemculecw,” read the council’s statement.

“We stand for clean water, wild salmon and for our future generations.”

The project is tripling the capacity of the existing pipeline from the Edmonton area to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. The portion of the pipeline in the B.C. Interior is being expanded from Kamloops to the summit of the Coquihalla Highway.

Crews are drilling under the Thompson River to pull the pipe through to the other side as part of the regional pipeline expansion. Work in Kamloops began in June.

In February, Hereditary Chief Segwses and his daughter gave themselves up for arrest voluntarily near Chase, B.C., after the RCMP moved in to end a railway blockade built in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs against construction of a different, natural gas pipeline.

A statement at the time said Segwses stepped forward to prevent RCMP from snuffing a sacred fire that was burning along the tracks and to prevent other Secwepemc nation members and supporters from being handcuffed.

RCMP statement

RCMP said officers from a number of divisions were called to the work site around 12:40 p.m. on Thursday, after pipeline security staff said the demonstration at the gate was stopping them from doing their work.

Mounties said three people were arrested for allegedly violating a court-ordered injunction by blocking the workers’ path.

A statement Friday said a fourth person was arrested for “blocking an active work site on the south mountain slope” by attaching herself to a bulldozer. The fifth was arrested for mischief but released without charges after allegedly destroying survey stakes across the road from the drill site.

The first four people arrested are due in court on Jan. 20.

By: CBC News · Posted: Oct 16, 2020

[SOURCE]

Manitoba protesters stand with Six Nations, fight promised anti-blockade law

A demonstration along Highway 75 near Morris, Man., lasted roughly 2½ hours on Friday. (Patrick Foucault/Radio-Canada)

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

[SOURCE]

OPP arrest 25th person over Caledonia housing site dispute

A 1492 Land Back sign near Highway 6 in Caledonia. (Aug. 20, 2020)

KITCHENER — The number of people who have been arrested in relation to a demonstration at a residential development in Haldimand County has reached 25.

A 29-year-old from Toronto was arrested and charged on Thursday with disobeying a court order and mischief. They were released and are expected to appear in a Cayuga court at a later date.

The Ontario Provincial Police say this was in relation to a current court injunction in effect at the site, known as McKenzie Meadows, near Caledonia.

The first demonstration arrests were made by OPP on Aug. 5.

The court injunction prohibits anyone from being on the property at 1535 McKenzie Road, also known as 1492 Land Back Lane, or from setting up road blockades in the county.

“The OPP Provincial Liaison Team is engaged in significant collaborative and respectful dialogue aimed at bringing about a peaceful resolution, while ensuring everyone’s safety and preserving their respective rights guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the OPP said in a news release.

Protesters have said they will remain on the Indigenous land for as long as it takes.

By Chris Thomson – CTV News Kitchener, Published Saturday, October 3, 2020

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

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