15 October 2006

Caledonia March

The much ballyhooed Caledonia March for Freedom is scheduled to take place today, under intense media scrutiny and police overwatch.

Dozens of police are keeping a close watch. There were a few tense moments before the march got underway.
The march is going ahead, despite pleas from the native community to the McGuinty government to (and I'm totally flabbergasted they can actually say this with a straight face) prevent this "illegal protest" from taking place.

Not surprisingly, the aboriginal contingent presently occupying the former Douglas Creek Estates were busy portraying themselves as stalwart, but gentle folk until... just before the march got started.
A convoy of about 12 vehicles with aboriginal people flying Six Nations flags drove through the protest site.
The aboriginal "drive-by" played out in sharp contrast to the publicly hyped “potluck for peace” image the natives had been attempting to project. This peaceful facade has previously cracked wide open when aboriginal protestors, among other things, set fire to a bridge, vandalised a hydro substation, assaulted members of the news media, tore up a public highway with a backhoe and in one case, tried to flatten a police officer with a car.

While Dalton McGuinty was doing his best to derail the rally, the local provincial member of Parliament, spoke up for the citizens of Caledonia.
Conservative Toby Barrett, opposition MPP for the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant and one of the speakers at the rally, said the event has kept a welcomed spotlight on the issue of policing.

"There does appear to be a double standard," Barrett told CBC Newsworld on Sunday. "People see a different application of the law, depending on which side of the barricade you stand."
UPDATE: 15 Oct 2006 8:00 pm

With so much media attention focusing on the rally, keeping people under control was obviously a balancing act for both sides.
After the rally, Mr. McHale led several hundred people to an elementary school bordering the Six Nations protest site. The school has installed several security cameras and built a 2½ metre fence to block any view of the occupation.

That's when several groups broke away from the main march and ignored Mr. McHale's pleas to stay clear of the site.
The group that broke away from the protest march evidently felt they were entitled to make a gesture similar to the earlier native "drive-by".

An important difference here is that the OPP had no compunction about arresting non-native protestors.

Which is exactly the point this march was trying to make.

SIDENOTE: 17 Oct 2006 - Double standard just fine with McGuinty
"I want to congratulate the OPP for the important work they did during the course of the weekend to maintain public safety," McGuinty said.

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