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Cops to charge seven in land claims battle

Natalie Pona - Sun Media
Toronto Sun
Sun, June 11, 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.]

CALEDONIA -- The OPP were securing arrest warrants yesterday for seven people accused in violent flare-ups stemming from an unresolved native land claim here.

On Friday and into early yesterday, townspeople and Six Nations members clashed in explosive confrontations over the natives' occupation of a housing development still under construction.

OPP officers were expected to arrest the suspects in connection with the charges -- ranging from robbery to attempted murder -- some time last night

The seven face a battery of charges after angry protesters surrounded a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle on Friday and dragged out its three occupants before taking over the vehicle.

"They were forcibly removed after they were swarmed," OPP Const. Doug Graham said yesterday.

An injured police officer was pulled out of the path of the stolen Border Patrol vehicle as it was driven deliberately at him, Graham said.

He said the officer was treated and released. The stolen vehicle was recovered but no arrests were made.

Officers from the U.S. Border Patrol were in the area to observe how provincial police were handling the standoff, Graham said.

Other charges that police expect to lay against protesters include theft of a motor vehicle, robbery, intimidation and assault causing bodily harm.

The incident was just one of several confrontations with protesters on Friday that are related to the charges.


"We have identified several suspects that had been involved in these incidents," OPP Deputy Commissioner Maurice Pilon told reporters.

Pilon said most suspects, if not all, are members of Six Nations.

The Six Nations Confederacy issued a statement calling the violence "disheartening" and stressing that the incidents were "reflective of the misjudgment and reactions of a limited few."

The statement expressed sympathy for those injured in the melees and said the individuals involved have been removed from the blockade area until a Six Nations investigation is complete.

"The Haudenosaunee are a people of peace and do not condone violence of any form. Our prayers and concern are with those who were injured during the outbreaks," it said.

Several hundred angry Caledonia residents confronted police in full riot gear to protest police inaction after two CH-TV news cameramen were injured in a scuffle with angry protesters Friday.

One victim said police officers were nearby but took no action during the attack.

Police said they will also lay charges in relation to another incident Friday involving an elderly couple whose car was surrounded by protesters. The man in the car, who suffers from a heart condition, was taken to hospital for observation.

The rash of violence was just the latest flashpoint in the standoff, which is now more than 100 days old.

A blockade was erected over three months ago as protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve took over a subdivision they say was being built on land they have claimed as their own.

Pilon said the OPP's reaction to the incidents is under review after criticisms that officers didn't intervene while the camera crew and elderly couple was assaulted.

He wouldn't comment on the investigation, saying only officers "have performed admirably" during the 102 days now they have been there.

Not everyone agreed with Pilon's assessment.

'They stood there'

"People have had enough," Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainer said. "When those 15 officers did not help the elderly couple or the Channel 11 newspeople, they just thought, 'Wow, what happens when I call 911?'"

Trainer said OPP officers at the scene should have got involved.

Resident Ken, who said he witnessed the altercation with the camera crew, said the incident has left him with little faith in police.

"When you see a man getting beat up by three have to help. They stood there and did nothing," said Ken, who didn't give his last name.

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