More solidarity protests promised Blockade at Highway 6 bypass still standing in Caledonia

Posted: April 29, 2008 in Caledonia, DCE, Deseronto, Headlines, Home Grown Terrorism in Canada, Natives, OPP, Shawn Brant, Terrorism
April 29, 2008
The Hamilton Spectator

A Six Nations spokesman warns that supportive protest actions on a “grander scale” are coming, as a committed Iroquois Confederacy continues to stand together.

The comments come as Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer says some residents are talking about taking the law into their own hands. Six Nations protesters are still blocking the Highway 6 bypass they closed Friday afternoon in support of protesters occupying a quarry near Deseronto, Ont.

They want the Ontario Provincial Police, who have blocked both entrances to the Caledonia bypass, to stand down in eastern Ontario before they remove the blockades.

“This shouldn’t be allowed,” Trainer said. “Enough is enough. Something has to happen. This nonsense can’t continue.”

Yesterday, Six Nations spokesperson Brian Skye said a network is being set up that will help the nations of the Confederacy put forward a co-ordinated effort and speak with one voice when there are disputes.

“The communities of the Confederacy, both in the U.S. and Canada, will be united in the men’s council,” he said.

The Six Nations men’s council has been meeting daily in the wake of the blockade.

“Peaceful acts of solidarity can and will be enacted if necessary,” so that if one nation is involved in a dispute, others will take action to support them, Skye said.

All was quiet at the site around the Sixth Line bridge yesterday, but protesters were on “heightened alert” after learning the OPP dismantled a Mohawk blockade near Deseronto.

There were no immediate plans to expand the blockade in Caledonia yesterday. A hydro tower and a telephone pole, dragged onto the road after a failed OPP attempt to reopen the bypass Saturday night, remained on the road.

The bypass is also blocked at the Stirling Street bridge. There was no indication of when it might reopen.

Despite criticism the government has allowed the situation to escalate, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant said yesterday the province is not considering an ultimatum to protesters.

He said it’s up to police to manage protests such as this one while the government focuses on resolving the land claim at the negotiating table.

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory called on the province to walk away from negotiations with Six Nations to make it clear that blockades won’t be tolerated.

“If there is no negotiation taking place and the parties aren’t talking, then how on earth would progress be made?” Bryant responded.

Six Nations have been at the table with the provincial and federal governments since April 2006.

But protesters say the bypass blockade is not related to Six Nations land disputes.

“This is separate from what happened in Caledonia,” Skye said. “This is separate from our lands right issues here.”

While the bypass is closed, traffic, including large transport trucks, has been funnelled through Caledonia’s tiny downtown.

There has been concern from residents about whether the blockade will interfere with scheduled work on the town’s main bridge, set to start in a few weeks. The bridge will be reduced to one lane and the bypass was to act as an alternative.

In Napanee yesterday, two of four protesters charged following last week’s melee involving provincial police officers along Deseronto Road walked out of court.

Two other protesters were remanded back into custody and are to reappear Thursday for a continuation of their bail hearings.

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