3 Mohawks could be charged after Ontario rail blockade

Tyendinaga Mohawk blockade signVia Rail trains between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal delayed by First Nations protest

CBC/The Canadian Press, Mar 08, 2014

Police have taken four people into custody after Mohawk protesters calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women occupied CN Rail tracks east of Belleville, Ont.

Provincial police say demonstrators moved onto the tracks Saturday at about 10:15 a.m. ET in Napanee, leading to CN issuing a stop order for all trains.

Police said a protester smashed the window of an unmarked police vehicle. Then about one hour after officers arrived, four protesters were taken into custody.

One of them was then released but charges are pending for the other three, police said.

Early Saturday afternoon, Via Rail tweeted that all trains on the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal routes were not running as a result of the blockade. But police also said trains began running along the rail line at 1 p.m. ET.

Demonstrators had vowed on Friday to step up their protest in response to a parliamentary report into missing and murdered aboriginal women that rejected numerous calls for a full public inquiry.

Report doesn’t call for national inquiry

Protest spokesman Shawn Brant had said there will be consequences for a national inquiry not being called.

The activists have been blockading a road east of Belleville since last Sunday night.

The release of the missing women report on Friday set off a firestorm of criticism from opposition critics, First Nation leaders and human rights groups.

Liberal and NDP members who sat on the all-party panel issued their own dissenting reports, accusing the federal Conservatives of sanitizing the final report on an ongoing crisis that has caught the attention of the United Nations.

Among its 16 recommendations, the report calls on the Conservative government to work with the provinces, territories and municipalities to create a public awareness and prevention campaign focusing on violence against aboriginal women and girls.

It’s estimated there are hundreds of cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada dating back to the 1960s — officially as many as 600, and likely hundreds more unreported victims.


Protesters forced out

OPP at the CN railway near Tyendinaga, Mohawk Territory (in Ontario), March 8, 2014.

OPP at the CN railway near Tyendinaga, Mohawk Territory (in Ontario), March 8, 2014.

By Jason Miller, The Belleville Intelligencer, March 8, 2014

Four people are in custody following a confrontation between police and Native protesters at the scene of a Shannonville-area CN Rail blockade today.

Speaking from the scene, Sgt. Kristine Rae said a contingent of protesters who started blocking rail traffic at the Wyman Road rail crossing, at around 10:15 a.m., have since cleared the scene after a legion of officers swarmed the area. One person has been released unconditionally and charges are pending, she said.

A photo tweeted from the scene show at least 20 officers standing near the rail crossing, while several vehicles carrying protesters leave the site.

CN Rail officials are at the scene inspecting the lines to ensure no damage was done, Rae said. At 1 p.m. the stop train order was lifted and the first train passed at approximately 1:30 p.m. Rae said Wyman’s should be reopened shortly after.

“We’re almost done here,” she said. “We had arrested four people at around (11:15). Presently (2 p.m.) we’re leaving the scene. We’re just waiting to see if the rail line is safe.”

Protesters had cleared Shannonville Road overnight, which was blocked since Sunday night, shifting their blockade to the rail tracks. Rae said Shannonville Road remains clear for traffic and she couldn’t provide any information on if or where the protesters might strike again.

Police reported earlier, that since 10:15 a.m today protesters started occupying the CN rail crossing at Wyman Road, forcing the rail company to put a stop order on all trains using that line.

“During the arrest no one was injured,” Rae said, adding that during the melee the window of a police vehicle was smashed and “the suspect at that time did hurt themselves and an officer received a minor injury as a result of the glass.”

Rae said details about potential charges are the need for court appearances will released at a later time.

“I’m not permitted to release names yet,” Rae said.

The rail blockade is an indication that Mohawk protesters have upped the ante in their bid to send a strong message to Ottawa. .

The group, which took up residence on Shannonville Road Sunday night, have been riled up since Friday afternoon, when word came that the federal government had no appetite for an inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Native women, even after the release of parliamentary tabled report Friday.

The report tabled in the House of Commons, was built off of a year of testimony urging that such a public investigation be conducted.

It instead calls for support for the family of victims, better police data, support for aboriginal communities, action to reduce human trafficking and a public awareness campaign. Opposition MPs hastily dismissed the document as a whitewash.

Lead protester Shawn Brant issued warnings Friday that he was cooking up a response to the federal governments decision to shelve any possibility of an inquiry. He didn’t clarify what action would have been taken.

The well-known activist in Quinte noted having the government take action would be a signal that Canada cares about the fate of those missing women and those who are responsible. Mohawk protesters are known to have blocked CN Rail traffic in the past, like blockades back in 2007, that stopped the flow of rail traffic in during the Day of Action protests.

The OPP, CN Police and the Tyendinaga Police Service are aware of the protest and are monitoring the situation, police said.


Posted on March 8, 2014, in Indigenous Women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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