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Rally urges action to end occupation

Hagersville lawyer claims 'laws are being flagrantly violated'

Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Apr 5, 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.]

Frustration is rearing its head in Caledonia over a month-long occupation of a housing project by protesters who claim it's on native land.

A few hundred people came to a rally last night to pressure authorities to end the occupation at Douglas Creek Estates, off Argyle Street in the south part of town.

Organizer Jamie McMaster estimated the crowd at 500, including couples who have bought homes that are now behind barricades marked by the flag of the controversial Warriors Society and other banners.

"I think people are just getting sick and tired of it," said Dana Whitelaw, who along with McMaster and a few others began organizing the rally Sunday.

"Everyone's getting sick and tired of talking about it, but we need to stop it...If that was us sitting out there holding a protest, we would have been taken out the first day."

The rally was staged in front of the Haldimand County municipal office. Organizers handed out papers with e-mail addresses of local politicians and federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and urged people to let them know the situation was upsetting the town and must come to an end.

Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer told reporters after the rally that she's travelling to Ottawa Friday to meet with Prentice and local cabinet minister Diane Finley to try to find a resolution to the standoff.

Some in the crowd waved signs saying such things as Municipal Provincial Federal Do Something; Put an End to This Now; and We Want our Town Back.

Many blamed the provincial Liberal government for letting the situation drag on by preventing the Ontario Provincial Police from evicting the protesters, possibly because of the tragedy at Ipperwash where native protester Dudley George was shot and killed by an OPP officer. They said in Caledonia there is no reason for violence to occur.

A judge has granted a court order to evict the protesters from the land being developed by Henco Industries, but the OPP has not enforced it. Police are keeping an eye on the protest with constant patrols, and have set up a command centre in an old school north of town, but said yesterday they are trying to resolve the standoff through dialogue.

"The laws are being flagrantly violated," Hagersville lawyer Ed McCarthy told the rally. "There's a need to bring this to an end and to bring it to an end promptly."

McCarthy, a lawyer since 1970, said the disputed land was surrendered by Six Nations in 1841.

There was one disturbing moment involving a man standing behind McCarthy.

He said something about whisky and another time said, "So we can shoot them when?" Organizers moved quickly to shut him up and he left soon after.

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