Hundreds of First Nations protesters waved flags, chanted slogans and shook a collective fist at the federal government Friday as they gathered on Parliament Hill to put Canada on notice they would be “idle no more.”
More than 1,000 protesters, a group stretching several city blocks, marched through the streets of the capital after meeting with Theresa Spence, the chief of northern Ontario’s troubled Attawapiskat First Nation, who is on a hunger strike.
“We are tired of having the boot put to our head,” Algonquin Chief Gilbert Whiteduck told the gathering beneath the Peace Tower under a steady barrage of snow.
“We want the government of Canada to come to the table in a spirit of unconditional openness and transparency.”
Other rallies were held in various cities across the country. Demonstrations in support of Spence’s cause also took place in the United States.
Hundred of people briefly blocked one of the busiest intersections in Toronto in solidarity with Idle No More, a grassroots aboriginal protest movement gaining traction on social media. Several Manitoba First Nations groups also rallied at the Winnipeg International Airport, congesting traffic.
Idle No More organizers oppose the Harper government’s recently passed omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-45, and accuse the Tories of trampling on treaty rights.
Press release [linked] by Unist’ot’en Camp, a resistance community in British Columbia whose purpose is to protect sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory from several proposed pipelines from the Tar Sands Gigaproject and shale gas from Hydraulic Fracturing Projects in the Peace River Region. To support the camp, donations can be made at http://forestaction.wikidot.com/caravan. To promote and follow the actions on social media, follow @UnistotenCamp, use #nopipelines, and find them here on Facebook.
Tens of thousands of students gathering at Place du Canada in Montreal to protest tuition hikes by the government.
From the CBC in Toronto:
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is expected to meet with city officials this week to look for a peaceful way to end the Occupy Toronto protest at St. James Park.
Hundreds of tents - including three $20,000 yurts paid for by a local union - dot the park at the corner of Church Street and King Street East.
Occupy Toronto, now in its 19th day, has morphed into a makeshift community complete with a library, food supplies and about two dozen portable toilets…
In response to his concerns, [a local business owner] received an email this week from Ford saying, “When it is determined that we no longer have a peaceful protest, but rather an occupation of the park, we will consider options to remove the individuals who are camping in the park.”
And from Radio-Canada in Québec City:
The mayor of Québec City is asking some 50 protesters with the “Occupy Québec City” movement to voluntarily leave the Place de l’Université-du-Québec in the Saint-Roch district where they have been for twelve days.
Mayor Régis Labeaume announced his decision Thursday morning. He warned the protesters that they should leave the Place in the coming hours; failing this, the police will take action to dismantle the camp.
[The City administration] has cited security reasons to justify this decision. Wednesday, after leaving an emergency meeting at Québec City Hall, the mayor had said that he was very concerned about the situation.