Deseronto Public School evacuated; Students sent home as police monitor Mohawk protests

Posted: April 29, 2008 in Deseronto, Headlines, Home Grown Terrorism in Canada, Kingston, Land claims, Natives, OPP, Terrorism
April 29, 2008
Kingston Whig Standard

Administrators at Deseronto Public School evacuated students and staff yesterday as a safety precaution while police continued to monitor ongoing Mohawk protests.

The school will remain closed today.

Kerry Donnell, spokeswoman for the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, confirmed that parents were called around noon to take children home.

“Until the situation dies down or stabilizes, the director of education did request that children be taken home today,” Donnell said yesterday.

Administrators will decide what to do about the rest of the week by noon today, at which time parents will be notified by phone, she said.

The OPP yesterday morning dismantled a roadblock that Mohawk protesters had put up in Deseronto Saturday then reopened the road, which had been damaged by a trench more than two metres deep.

Several police officers remained on the scene to monitor the situation.

Donnell said parents received personal phone calls from school staff asking them to pick up their children. No children were allowed to go home until a parent had picked them up, she said.

“There was no imminent danger in or around the school, but we decided the safety of students and staff was a priority,” said Donnell.

About 130 children were at the school, which is at least two kilometres away from the blockade on Lower Slash Road.

OPP spokesperson Sgt. Kristine Rae said a portion of Lower Slash Road, just west of Deseronto Road, was dug up Saturday night, but was opened again by late yesterday afternoon.

Rae said police helicopters spotted the excavation Saturday night just east of Thurlow Aggregates, a quarry business that is currently occupied by other native protesters.

Police believe the trench was probably dug by backhoe or excavator. Several police officers remained on the scene to “monitor the situation,” she said.

Rae said the OPP removed the protesters from Lower Slash Road around 8:30 a.m.

The blockade continued about one kilometre away, at the corner of Mowbray Road, on the line between Tyendinaga Township and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The OPP said in a release they are on scene to keep the peace until a resolution is found and not to resolve land claim issues.

“The police have no intention of entering the quarry at this time and are focused on easing tensions by opening the road and through dialogue,” the release said.

Rae said there were no arrests and no confrontations and that police will not enter the quarry.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, Tyendinaga Mohawk Council Chief R. Don Maracle appealed for calm and warned protesters that the OPP have told the council that police will remain on site until the roads are clear of blockades.

“There must be an end to road blockades, violence, and any conduct that has the potential to further inflame the situation,” Maracle said.

“People need to realize that blocking public roads only has the potential to perpetuate and heighten further tension and conflict in the area.”

He reminded people that the Mohawks have a legitimate land claim that has been accepted by the federal government for negotiation and that the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council has also been talking to the Ontario government.

  1. Annie says:

    He (Maracle) should also take the opportunity to apologize to neighours and friends, like Kyle a hard working farmer, suffering because of the protestors. While he loves to remind everyone of the legitimate land claim, as the Chief, he should show leadership, and tell our neighbors how sorry the mohawk people are for the violence, conduct and blockades, that is right an honest to goodness heartfelt sorry. These are the same neighbors and friends we have all known for generations, they have cared about our pain and suffering, and we have cared about theirs for GENERATIONS. I appreciate the concern the Hastings Prince Edward School Board showed, by closing the school, this decision is never taken lightly. I remain ashamed of Brant and this followers as they terrorize our community with hatred and violence, for I am truly and heartfelt sorry, to all those here, and those suffering in Caledonia.

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