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This week we provide a roundup of several anti-police demos and events that took place on March 15th, the International Day Against Police Brutality. We also cover some recent housing justice organizing and actions that have taken place in Toronto, and updates from the ongoing struggle to defend Wet’suwet’en Yintah.
Our new report on the "White Lives Matter" neo-Nazi network in Canada, exposing the members and activities of its Quebec group: https://t.co/ku8QpEya7N
— Montréal Antifasciste (@MontrealAntifa) March 20, 2022
In other news that we don’t cover in detail this week, we have a quick update to the bail hearings section of our last article. Convoy organizer Tamara Lich has in the end been released on bail by a new judge. And in other far-Right news, antifascists in Montreal have released information and analysis on a “White Lives Matter” group and its members in Quebec.
Nearly two years after the beginning of 1492 Land Back Lane, which successfully cancelled a housing development slated for Six Nations land, the disgraced would-be developer Foxgate is reapplying for a permanent injunction. Solidarity with the land defenders at Land Back Lane as they continue to occupy their land! Give up already, Foxgate.
After a year of relative peace, we have received word from what would have been the developer at Landback Lane. They intend to reapply for their injunction. pic.twitter.com/dRP6GFUsQt
— Skyler Williams (@landbackskyler) March 17, 2022
In happier news, charges have been dropped against six housing activists in Hamilton. Three were facing charges for defending a park encampment as it was being evicted in November 2021, and another three were arrested at a protest outside a police station two days later. The arrests primarily targeted Black youth. A statement release by the Hamilton Encampment Support Network read:
While we feel that dropping the charges was the best outcome, and we couldn’t be happier with this win, it is disturbing to know that no plans for action or significant policy change have been taken by the City of Hamilton to stop encampment evictions.
*ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED*
1. After this morning's court date, all charges against housing advocates who were arrested on November 24th and 26th 2021 at J.C. Beemer Park and in front of the Hamilton Central Police Station have been withdrawn. (THREAD)#HamOnt #onpoli pic.twitter.com/aSqe83DFhw
— Hamilton Encampment Support Network (@HamOntESN) March 15, 2022
Read on for our stories this week!
Multiple Demos Held on International Day Against Police Brutality
On March 15th, the International Day Against Police Brutality, demonstrations and events were held in multiple cities across the country. While each year and each city takes a different approach to celebrating and commemorating, this annual event is always an important time for anarchists and abolitionists to express rage, take revenge, mourn, and organize for a world without police. This year saw multiple cities highlight the colonial roots and function of police in Canada: from their role in enforcing land theft and resource extraction, to the massive numbers of Indigenous and Black victims of police violence and killings.
In Ottawa, a rally took place outside the Ottawa Police station.
‼️ What? International Day Against Police Brutality
⏰ When? March 15, 2022
📍Where? @OttawaPolice station (474 Elgin St.)
❓Why? Because the police is colonial as fuck! We must build police free futures where everyone’s needs are met! pic.twitter.com/1F28LvlnoJ
— Souheil Benslimane (they/them) 🏳️🌈✊🏽 (@Souabouomar) March 8, 2022
The callout for the rally states the situation well: “There is no policing without brutality! It must end now!” The event featured speeches from the families of multiple people killed by police in recent years.
Tonight we heard powerful testimony from the families of Anthony Aust, Abdirahman Abdi and Regis Korchinski-Paquet. They gathered outside the Ottawa police station on unceded Algonquin territory to demand justice on this International Day against Police Brutality. #SayTheirNames pic.twitter.com/Bx7U2FMQqE
— Peace Brigades International – Canada (@PBIcanada) March 16, 2022
In Winnipeg, a march and rally against police brutality began at City Hall.
International Day Against Police Brutality is ONE WEEK from today, on Tuesday, March 15.
— Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (@WpgPoliceHarm) March 9, 2022
In Vancouver, a multi-day event called “Honour Their Names” was held by organizers with Justice For Jared, a group bringing attention to the police killing of Jared Lowndes. The series included an art show, talk by the mother of Chantel Moore, who was killed by New Brunswick police, a film screening, workshops, and more.
Honour Their Names opens on March 15, International Day Against Police Brutality AKA #IDAPB #IDAPB2022. Show & programming organized by supporters of #JusticeForJared. Open March 15-19, free and open to the public, gallery hrs: 12-6 PM. Access info – below. Image IDs in alt text. pic.twitter.com/hd1QRci5Pe
— Defund604Network (@defund604) March 14, 2022
In Montreal, demonstrators took to the streets in the rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood of Saint Henri. The rowdy march pulled garbage cans and fencing into the street and onto the sidewalks to block the large numbers of riot police from flanking the demo. Eventually, the march made it to the CN train tracks that cross the neighbourhood, stopping on the tracks for a brief while to chant “Shut Down Canada” and “Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en.”
— ProtestMTL (@MtlProtest) March 15, 2022
After leaving the tracks, the demo made its way down a commercial street, smashing the windows of multiple businesses including the National Bank.
— ProtestMTL (@MtlProtest) March 15, 2022
The demo ended after several rounds of tear gas were fired into the crowd by riot police. Media has reported that one person was arrested for mischief.
— submedia (@submedia) March 19, 2022
Housing Justice Organizing
Folks in Toronto have been busy with a number of small housing actions that prove that acting in solidarity with our neighbours is the way to fight for housing justice.
In the working-class Parkdale neighbourhood, a resident connected with the group Parkdale Organize after receiving notice that he was getting renovicted. Accompanied by fellow tenants, he dropped off a letter to his landlord letting him know that he had the support of his neighbours in fighting the eviction. Within 48 hours, the eviction notice had been dropped.
Chris delivered a letter to his landlord at home with a group of supporters including members of Parkdale Organize.
Within 48 hours of the delivery he received confirmation in writing from the landlord that his eviction would no longer be pursued.
— Parkdale Organize (@ParkdaleOrg) March 7, 2022
Another group of tenants facing renovictions have also carried out a series of home visits in an attempt to pressure their landlord to drop their renovictions.
This afternoon tenants from 299 Forman visited landlords Sarah and Louis Deyong to demand all eviction notices be withdrawn. Sarah decided to call the police, but that didn’t stop tenants from sharing news of their struggle in her neighbourhood. pic.twitter.com/w6adrnDJu7
— RenovictionsTO (@renovictions) March 7, 2022
Finally, this month grassroots groups renewed their calls for the City of Toronto to turn a set of vacant lots and buildings in a downtown neighbourhood into affordable, rent-geared-to-income housing. Gatherings at the site this month are part of a years-long campaign calling on the city to expropriate the land, which sits unoccupied in a low-income neighbourhood. This week the campaign saw a long-awaited advancement when the City announced they had bid on the site, moving it a step, albeit a slow and bureaucratic one, closer to being a site of affordable housing.
1/ At this point it is still unclear if the City will win the bid to purchase 214-230 Sherbourne St. The stakes are high for a community in crisis and in need of basic safety, shelter and housing. These stakes are higher and trump the goal of private profit… #TOPoli pic.twitter.com/p58p0ZLKGw
— Shelter and Housing Justice Network (@SHJNetwork) March 17, 2022
UNL Associate Professor of Architecture Sarah Deyong is evicting tenants living in a low-rise apartment building she owns with her brother in Toronto, Canada. https://t.co/9AFgAIlVrD
— Seeing Red Nebraska (@SeeingRedNE) February 28, 2022
Updates on the Struggle Against Coast GasLink
In the past couple of weeks, police harassment of Gidimt’en Checkpoint has continued. Our hearts soared when we watched the response of a Cas Yikh elder, Auntie Janet, respond to the cops encroachment by confronting them and kicking them out of camp.
RCMP have been entering our village several times each day to harass, surveil, intimidate, and threaten our guests. When police came to her home at 4am, Auntie Janet confronted the officers and kicked them out of our camp. pic.twitter.com/Qu9BhJpHJ9
— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) March 11, 2022
On March 13th, Gidimt’en Checkpoint announced that charges had been dropped against four land defenders who had been arrested in November. Many more land defenders are still facing charges. We hope that their charges will soon be dropped as well, solidarity with all those arrested for defending the Yintah!
CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST 4 LAND DEFENDERS! Yet Coastal GasLink applies to have the Attorney General intervene to assess Criminal Contempt for the remaining land defenders. Call/email David Eby and Defend our Land Defenders!
All info at https://t.co/Us1P4aoQnw #DropTheCharges
— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) March 13, 2022
On March 7th, McGill students began an occupation of their university’s Arts building, in part in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle against Coastal Gas Link. The students wrote a manifesto, which you can read in full here. In their words:
Divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies starts NOW!
Divestment from colonial projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline trespassing on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory starts NOW!
Democratization starts NOW!
Unfortunately, on March 18th, the occupation had to voluntarily shut down due to a covid case among the occupiers. To stay up to date, you can follow @DivestMcGill on twitter. Also, look out for an interview on This Is America with someone involved in the occupation dropping soon!
OCCUPY MCGILL BREAKING NEWS
This morning, there was a positive case of COVID-19 reported by someone who had slept and spend considerable time in the autonomous zone. We’ve made the decision to pack up our camp today and cancel the events planned for this evening. (1/x)
— Divest McGill (@DivestMcGill) March 18, 2022