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Mar 21, 22

Canadian Tire Fire #32: People Hit the Streets on the International Day Against Police Brutality, Tenants Fight Renovictions, Updates on Struggle Against Coastal GasLink

photo: @MtlProtest

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In Winnipeg, a march and rally against police brutality began at City Hall.

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.

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.”

After leaving the tracks, the demo made its way down a commercial street, smashing the windows of multiple businesses including the National Bank.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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A weekly roundup of anarchist and anti-authoritarian news from so-called Canada. Email us at: [email protected]

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