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Demonstrators have lunch to protest Harper visit

Group offers Prime Minister "yummy vegan stew"

Kate Dubinski - London Free Press Reporter
London Free Press
Wednesday, May 24, 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.]

Protesting everything from the native standoff in Caledonia to the presence of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, a spirited group marched and shouted outside the London Convention Centre Wednesday as the Prime Minister spoke to the city’s business leaders.

The “People’s Alternative Lunch” was held to show displeasure with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who spoke at a London Chamber of Commerce event.

Serving vegan stew, bread and vegetables, about 40 protesters — including several local New Democrats — held signs that read “Affordable housing now,” “Not another Ipperwash” and “Support our troops, bring them home.”

Others shouted slogans in defence of public health care, day care and same-sex marriage.

Some said they were dismayed by Harper’s refusal to speak with and listen to ordinary Canadians on a variety of issues since his narrow minority victory in Parliament.

“There are a lot of different groups here coming out for different reasons,” said one protester, Dan Hilton, who is with the London Solidary for Six Nations group.

“As a non-native from London, I felt like I need to support (native protesters in Caledonia). The Harper government is invisible on this issue, but (aboriginal affairs) is a federal jurisdiction. He has to show some leadership.”

Another protester, who helped set up a table with a vegetable lunch and waved a “Food not Bombs” sign, said she wanted Harper to listen to people who couldn’t afford the $50-a-plate Chamber lunch.

“We’d love for him to have some yummy vegan stew,” she quipped.

London Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen was also at the protest, calling on the Conservative government to listen to ordinary Canadians.

“Just because I became an MP doesn’t mean I’m not a community activist anymore,” the rookie MP said.

“This is where I should be. I’m here to support the whole list of issues, and to object to the lack of consultation of this government.”

The protest brought out a mixture of young and old.

Tensions rose at the start of the protest when police officers asked the group to move away from the entrance of the London Convention Centre, but were quickly calmed. Protesters stayed where they were, vowing to face the consequences, but the rest of the protest saw no words exchanged between the energetic group and the lone London Police officer guarding the front door.

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