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Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office

June 26, 2008

Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office

algonquins paper.jpg

GATINEAU - On Thursday, June 26th, Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake and allies assembled outside the Gatineau offices of Indian Affairs, across the river from Ottawa. The demonstration was a diversion, intended to draw attention from peaceful occupation of Lawrence Cannon's office, MP for the Barriere Lake region. The Algonquins demanded a meeting with Cannon to discuss the recent government ousting of the Customary Chief and Council as well as a re-election monitored by outside observers.

The Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective, based in Montreal, as well as Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake itself have vowed they will not leave the office until their demands are met. They have been threatened with arrest, and are welcoming support from anyone willing or able to assemble in Buckingham, QC.

Algonquin media liaisons inside the office occupation were unreachable, but Django, a spokesperson of the Solidarity Collective answered a few questions. Speaking to the situation on the ground he noted that “on the inside the police have asked some of the people to leave peacefully. There were three people that left [because they] weren’t willing to be arrested. [Those were] a cameraman and two Algonquins.” When asked what he predicts will take place later in the day, he replied “we’re still waiting for the demands to be met. The office normally closes at 4:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. so we’re thinking that’s probably the time [the police are] going to try and do the arrests.”

Interestingly, the police officers are on somewhat of a strike. “They’re putting pressure to get contracts,” said Django. “Except for the Sergeant, all the officers are wearing army fatigues or jeans because they’re kind of on strike. Essentially I get the feeling they don’t really want to do the arrests. Most of them look like they don’t want to be here.”

Organizers say the office occupation will continue until the demands are met or until the occupying protesters are arrested. They stressed the need for continued support as well.

“They’re thirsty, please bring water and food” advises Django.

To support the Barriere Lake organizers, contact barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com . Contact information for Member of Parliament Lawrence Cannon can be found here.

Please see follow up news and Related article.

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