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Blockade erupts into violence

James Cowan - CanWest News Service
National Post
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 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.]

Aboriginal protesters briefly removed their barricade across the main road in Caledonia, Ont. Monday but reinstated the barrier following a violent confrontation with townspeople.

Members of the Six Nations Confederacy dismantled their blockade early Monday morning. A spokeswoman said the group cleared the road as a ''sign of good faith'' in response to the Ontario government's announcement last Wednesday that no new construction would be allowed on a parcel of land claimed by natives. But the blockade stayed down for less than three hours.

A violent pushing and shoving match with local residents prompted its return, Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson said.

''The barricade's back up and it's a little bit more fortified than it was before,'' Jamieson said.

Townspeople had erected their own barrier this weekend to limit natives' use of Highway 6. ''It was far too convenient for them to have full access to the road while we suffered,'' said Steve Tong, a Caledonia resident.

Despite removing the fence at the request of Ontario Provincial Police, residents continued to block traffic.

Monday's confrontation began when residents blocked a red pick-up truck driven by a Six Nations member.

''People didn't want to let it through,'' Tong said. ''Everyone was hot and mad and dealing with the issue at hand.''

The driver responded by ''jumping forward'' in an apparent attempt to ''scare people,'' Tong said.

Jamieson said residents surrounded the truck for 15 minutes and broke its windows.

When Six Nations members attempted to free the truck, a scuffle erupted between the two sides. Numerous punches were thrown and several individuals suffered cuts and bloody noses. Police reported no serious injuries.

After the fight, Six Nations members once again blocked Highway 6, this time using a fallen electrical tower. Officials could not confirm reports Monday that the protesters were responsible for a blackout in Caledonia.

A police spokesman said tensions between the two sides had apparently eased by late Monday afternoon.

Jamieson refused to speculate on when the protesters would consider removing the barricade again.

Tong called for federal intervention to end the blockade.

''I don't know if that means military action it might be warranted at this point,'' he said.

The stand-off began on Feb. 28 when the Six Nations Confederacy occupied a 40-hectare subdivision, claiming the tract of land was part of their territory and had been illegally sold. Police raided the site on Apr. 20 and arrested 16 people, prompting hundreds of supporters to blockade local roads.

Former Ontario premier David Peterson and Jane Stewart, a former federal cabinet minister, have been acting as mediators in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

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