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Caledonia in chaos after barricade comes down then quickly goes back up

Hamilton Spectator
Monday, May 22, 2006 | Updated at 3:48 PM EDT

[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 situation in Caledonia is deteriorating by the minute this afternoon.

Native protesters have dug up the pavement on Argyle Street and there are reports that power is out in parts of Haldimand County.

About 50 police officers have taken up a position between residents and native protesters on the main street in Caledonia. The police intervention was prompted by a fight that broke out between native protesters and residents.

The events of this afternoon are a stark contrast to the morning, when native protesters removed the barricade as a sign of goodwill.

"If you had asked me three hours back, I'd say we are finally coming together and building some harmony'", said David Peterson, who had been working for the Ontario government as an interim negotiatior, trying to cool down local emotions.

What happened this morning after the native barricade was removed is not entirely clear. As native protesters were giving a news conference, some residents from Caledonia formed a human chain across the road. A fight between some of the residents and protesters followed and police intervened.

As a result of the exchange, the barricade went back up and remains there.

David Peterson says the hotter things get at Caledonia, the more he fears something will happen to force an Oka or Ipperwash style incident.

"These issues tend to collect extreme elements on both sides," said the former Ontario premier, who has been at Caledonia three weeks trying to calm emotions and bring the sides together.

"What you fear is something like the permanent stain of an Oka. You think of Ipperwash and you think of a certain set of facts."

Peterson was referring to the shooting death of Dudley George, a native protestor at Ipperwash, and the violent confrontation at Oka, Quebec in 1990.

"Something went wrong," Peterson said after barricades were put back up and road reopenings scuttled.

"The native community offered a gesture, taking it (barricade) down," Peterson said. "Somehow or other, this gesture was not accepted as what it is," he said, referring to the local reaction.

"The native community doesn't bear the Caledonia community any malice. In a sense, they (Caledonia residents) were collateral damage."

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said she didn't know what to think when the situaion deteriorated.

"It was going to be good for business that Argyle Street was open, and safer."

She said she didn't know exacty what happened, and was disappointed.

The situation on the ground today was "making things very hot," Trainer said. "But I understand the frustration."

Peterson began today planning to hand the situation over to the official land negotiation team for the federal and provincial goverments -- headed by former federal Tory minister Barbara McDougall for Ottawa and former Liberal cabinet minister Jane Stewart, appointed by Ontario. He believed his job of "cooling things out" so formal negotiations could begin was over.

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