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Native protesters dig in for long haul

Criminal charges could follow injunction: lawyer

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Mar 11, 2006)

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

The number of protesters had declined dramatically since a mass rally a day earlier. But there were no signs yesterday that a group of Six Nations activists is about to retreat from Douglas Creek Estates, where they have been staging an occupation for the last 12 days.

They brought in extra firewood, erected two new shelters, including a canvas tepee, and hoisted a purple and white Six Nations flag on a pole high above the subdivision entrance off Argyle Street south of town.

The protesters also kept their banner proclaiming the site "Six Nations Land," and continued to control access to the residential project, which has 10 houses in various stages of construction.

"We aren't moving," said native spokesperson Dawn Smith, who has been on the site since the occupation started Feb. 28.

Except for an OPP cruiser parked about 200 metres from the site, police kept a low profile again yesterday, as they have been throughout the occupation.

The Cayuga Sheriff's Department waited until about 4:30 p.m. before coming to the site and posting an injunction that the developer, Henco Industries, had obtained Thursday, ordering the protesters off the site.

Cayuga OPP spokesperson Paula Wright said police have no power to forcibly remove the protesters unless a criminal offence is committed.

She said the injunction is considered a civil order and it would be up to the sheriff to enforce it. She said the OPP's role will be to maintain the peace and ensure public safety, as it has been doing since the start of the occupation.

"We don't have any authority unless a Criminal Code offence is committed," she said.

During a court hearing on Thursday, Michael Bruder, a lawyer for the developer, said the protesters could be subject to criminal rather than civil sanctions if they're charged with contempt for flouting the injunction. The contempt issue will be discussed again at another hearing in Cayuga court on March 16.

"I'm sure the OPP will review (the court order handed down Thursday) and decide the next step," Bruder said.

Don Henning, of Henco Industries, said he didn't want to comment on the situation. He said there's been ongoing negotiations since the occupation began and he didn't want to jeopardize them.

In an affidavit used to obtain the injunction, Henning said he invested about $6 million in the development and would lose credibility as well as a large amount of money if the project isn't completed.

There has been no work on the site since the group of Six Nations natives moved to reclaim the land, which they say was stolen from them.

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