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Natives block rail line in eastern Ont.

Canadian Press
Friday, April 21, 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.]

CALEDONIA, Ont. -- A simmering land-claim standoff in southwestern Ontario spawned a sympathy protest Friday that has halted at least a dozen CN freight trains and disrupted VIA Rail passenger service.

Mohawks from the Tyendinaga reserve about 20 kilometres east of Belleville, Ont., lit bonfires beside a CN track to show support for natives maintaining barricades in the dispute in Caledonia, south of Hamilton.

Emotions remained high in the Caledonia standoff, which escalated Thursday after a police raid aimed at ending a seven-week occupation at a planned housing development. At least 16 people were arrested in the police raid.

CN Rail spokeswoman Julie Senecal said the sympathy protest had left at least 12 freight trains waiting to get through.

She said the rail company would seek a court injunction in order to allow the trains unimpeded passage through the area.

''We're going into court as soon as possible in order to end this blockade,'' said Senecal.

VIA Rail said its trains operating between Toronto and Kingston, Ont., in both directions were being replaced by chartered buses.

The buses were to make all regularly scheduled stops at VIA stations and some delays were likely, according to a statement issued by Via Rail from its Montreal office.

Brant said about 30 Mohawks will remain at the bonfires ''until proper, dignified and respectful talks'' are held to resolve the Caledonia dispute.

In the Caledonia dispute, politicians and native officials were expected to meet later Friday in an effort to resolve the situation, but there was indication of where and when the talks might be held.

Two area school boards, Grand Erie District School Board and the Brant-Haldimand and Norfolk Catholic District School Board, have closed their schools in Caledonia today.

Both boards say as long as there is no escalation of tensions at the occupation site, they plan to reopen schools on Monday.

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