Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Police arrest five Algonquins defending land, including chief

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
SQ riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway

By Barriere Lake Defenders of the Land
Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - SQ officers and a Riot Squad arrested five Barriere Lake Algonquins, including a targeted arrest of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway, after forcing community members off highway 117, during their fourth in a series of blockades over a period of seven hours.
"Chief Nottaway sent a letter to Premier Charest on Monday requesting that the government resolve political issues through negotiations rather than police violence," said community spokesperson Norman Matchewan."Blockades are a tactic of last resort. For two decades now all we've asked is that Quebec and Canada honour signed agreements but they prefer to play with our lives."
As the community was pushed off the highway for the last time at 2:30 pm, riot police broke out of formation to chase and arrest Acting Chief Nottaway. His was the second targeted arrest of the day. Community youth spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche, mother of five and organizer of the community school, was arrested at one of the morning blockades after being reassured by police that no arrests would be made since protesters had agreed to leave peacefully.
One community member was pushed to the ground and kicked by several SQ officers before being arrested.
"The police dragged him with his head on the ground all the way to the police car," said one community member.
Another woman from the community fell while being pushed back onto the access road leading to the Barriere Lake reserve, and hit her head. She was subsequently arrested.
Media Contacts: Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902
Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860
Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869

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