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Caledonia rally remains peaceful

Daniel Nolan
Guelph Mercury
CALEDONIA (Apr 29, 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.]

Police presence was heavy last night as the town faced another large rally of residents upset with the native blockade that has closed a main street.

By 9 p.m., more than 500 residents had gathered a few hundred feet from the blockade on Argyle Street South.

Dozens of OPP officers stood between the residents and the blockade which native protesters put up April 20 after a failed OPP raid to evict natives occupying a housing project.

The occupation at Douglas Creek Estates, which Six nations natives call a land reclamation, is entering its 61st day today.

Earlier in the evening, more than six dozen police cars and two school buses were seen parked at the police command post at an old school north of town. Nearer the rally site, police had about a dozen police vehicles parked behind the local Canadian Tire store. There were three ambulances also standing by. An OPP helicopter could be seen hovering overhead until it got dark.

By evening, police had blocked off nearby access roads and were turning vehicles away.

The largely peaceful crowd mostly milled around in front of the police line with only a few minor incidents, in one case involving several young men who taunted police for not ejecting natives and their supporters from the housing site.

A few people blew airhorns and some chanted "open the road." And there were a few waving signs of questionable nature. A 25-year-old man held a sign that asked: "Where are you John Wayne when we need you?" and "Someone call the Duke."

The man, who wouldn't give his name, said "I'm not trying to inflame anything. Take it as you want it."

He added he was "fed up" with the road closure.

No one seemed to know who organized the rally. A flyer was posted around town and given to Caledonia's weekly newspaper Tuesday calling on residents to gather near barricade, bring signs "and a peaceful frame of mind."

Most supported the idea of a rally, which is becoming a nightly occurrence near the blockade. They did not think it worsened the already tense and difficult situation.

"Do you know what's inflaming," said Sharon Lees, 44, holding a sign criticizing the Mohawk warriors whose flags can be seen flying at the blockade. "They're doing all this. They're blocking the road. I am fighting for my town. It's time to get our town back."

Apart from the police and residents, a half dozen United Church clergy also came to the rally with Reverend Fred Monteith, executive secretary of the Hamilton Conference of the United Church of Canada.

Monteith said they came to be witnesses for peace. He said the United Church has long stood for a fair resolution of native land claims, but he said he could understand the frustration of Caledonia residents also.

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