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Arrest warrants issued in Caledonia dispute

CTV News Staff
Updated Sat. Jun. 10 2006 11:50 PM ET

[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.]

Ontario Provincial Police have issued warrants for the arrest of seven people who face charges of attempted murder and robbery in connection with several clashes in the ongoing Caledonia land dispute.

Deputy OPP commissioner Maurice Pilon said police are working with Six Nations officers to find the suspects.

"I must point out that some of these people that we're seeking warrants for are not from this area and I don't know if they're still in the area," Pilon told reporters Saturday.

The suspects also face charges of assault causing bodily harm and intimidation.

Police arrested one man after OPP riot police confronted several hundred area residents late Friday.

Earlier in the evening more than 300 residents gathered in protest, angry that police allegedly stood by while two camera operators were assaulted.

Later in the evening, the group moved to an elementary school, with just a fence separating them from the aboriginal protesters.

Police then moved in, in an attempt to further separate the two groups. One of the residents then attempted to fight with police, but was quickly surrounded by police, who pulled him behind the line of officers and arrested him.

The aboriginal protesters remained on their side of the fence, but many heckled the crowd and threw rocks and debris over the fence.

Police largely ignored the group, according to reports from The Canadian Press.

The clash was prompted by another conflict earlier in the day.

Two camera operators from CH-TV in Hamilton were filming a confrontation between an older couple and some aboriginals, when some of the protesters rushed the men, and threatened to assault them.

"The natives saw us and came storming towards us," camera operator Nick Garbutt told CTV News.

Ken Mackay, the other camera operator, agreed the situation was tense.

"I was protecting the equipment and the tape. But as it grew with more intensity, and people were threatening me, and they're threatening me with punches to the face, I have to give up the equipment or I thought I was going to get knocked out," Ken Mackay told CTV News.

One of the men was later taken to hospital and received stitches for injuries incurred from several punches to the head.

Garbutt said OPP officers stood by, refusing to intervene in the conflict while the group took the tape that contained the footage of the conflict.

Const. Keith Robb told CP police are investigating the allegations that officers didn't intervene.

Debbie Walker, a managing producer at the TV station where the camera operators work, told CP she was "appalled'' by the incident.

"They were doing nothing that warranted an unprovoked attack.''

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty issued a statement late Friday, condemning the recent violence.

"It was with great disappointment that I learned of the violent incidents in Caledonia,'' McGuinty said in the statement.

"I would like to express sympathy and concern for those injured.''

McGuinty said the violence was committed by "an irresponsible few," and he described it as an attempt to disrupt the attempts to reach an agreement on the land dispute that has prompted weeks of confrontation.

And speaking to Alberta Liberals, McGuinty said his government has worked hard to come to a compromise with the aboriginals, and he is disappointed with the recent developments cause by "a few bad apples."

He then called on First Nations leaders to ensure the situation isn't repeated.

"We're asking the First Nations leadership to ask themselves why it is our government should continue in good faith and out of good will to try to negotiate,'' McGuinty said.

In recent weeks the situation has been tense, as both the aboriginal protesters and non-aboriginal residents have demanded the end of the occupation.

The protesters are trying to prevent construction of a housing development on land they claim as their own, and have vowed to stay on the site until there is a resolution to the dispute.

Protesters argue that the site of the Douglas Creek Estates housing project was part of a large land grant back in 1784, but the provincial and federal governments insist the land was surrendered in 1841 to help build a major highway.

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