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Jun 4, 18

Update on the Situation in Hamilton and a Call for Continued Solidarity

Statement from DefendJ20 on the unfolding repression faced by comrades in Hamilton.

There is a rapidly developing situation in Hamilton, Ontario that we would like to help draw attention to. While not all of the defendants or supporters of the current DefendJ20 effort may call ourselves anarchists, we all see a certain commonality in our ideals with the anarchists in Hamilton currently resisting repression.

On the morning of June 1st, authorities announced new arrests and warrants in regards to what is now being called the “Locke Street Riot”. One arrest had already been made, that of Cedar Hopperton, whom we wrote a statement of solidarity for back in the beginning of May. We want to strongly affirm our solidarity with these new defendants and any future defendants in this witch hunt against anarchists in Hamilton. This case is inherently political, as the media and authorities continue to scapegoat an anarchist space known as the Tower for being connected to the actions on Locke Street. In what way it is connected is never made quite clear, as a similar logic used in the J20 case is being applied in Hamilton against an entire ideology and milieu of activists. It seems authorities in Canada are following the lead of the MPD, authorities in Europe, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere to attempt to chill dissent quickly. City officials even went so far as to order the removal of the “Circle A” symbol from the Tower, alleging it to be “hate speech.” This didn’t last long and eventually was overturned, but the level of intensity with which business owners, the police, and city officials are pursuing retaliation for a few broken windows is telling.

It is clear to anyone who is breathing that the current order values property over life, money over need. The reasons J20 is important to us are similar to why supporting the folks in Hamilton, and anyone else who resists oppression and domination, is important to us. We know that state repression in both Canada and the U.S. are rooted in a global strategy to continually re-assert state domination and power, to uphold colonial and capitalist structures. We reject attempts to isolate and individualize our struggles, as we know they are interconnected. We stand in solidarity with those arrested in Hamilton and their loved ones as they continue to weather these changes with bravery and integrity.

We would like to encourage people donate to their defense fund, and continue to check for updates as this is a developing situation.

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On January 20th, 230 people were mass arrested during demonstrations against Donald Trump's Inauguration. The arrests were made by use of a "kettle" technique of individuals on the corners of L and 12th Street, without orders to disperse. 214 of these arrestees were charged under the Federal Riot Statute. On April 27th, multiple additional felony charges were added. The 211 remaining defendants could now face up to 75 years in prison.

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