[Hpn] Fwd: Political Arrests in Ontario

Graeme Bacque gbacque@idirect.com
Sat, 22 Jul 2000 00:53:05 -0400


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 19:56:05 -0500
From: Gary Morton <command@interlog.com>
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Political Arrests in Ontario
Please forward this post

(Saturday Rally planned at Toronto Court House after Wave of Vindictive
Arrests on anti Poverty Protesters)

     Late Thursday night Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino and
Detective Steve Irwin were in a sweat. The Toronto Star had just issued
an early release on a story in regards to seized news photographs and
videotapes of the June 15th anti poverty protest at the Ontario
Legislature. The story being that several media organizations had
announced their intention to argue in court that police shouldn't be
allowed to use the film and videotapes shot by the media.

    Global Television, ONtv, CTV, CBC, the Globe and Mail, Sing Tao Daily
and the Toronto Star are challenging search warrants that allowed police
to make the seizers of media files. These news agencies know that that
journalists and news photographers are placed in harm's way if they are
seen to be evidence gatherers for the police. They also know that if the
news media works for the police, the independence of the media and
democracy itself are forfeited to the police state.

    The reason Chief Fantino and Detective Irwin got into a sweat about
this is that the nature of the debate on the June 15th protest would
change when the rest of the media broke the story. It would be a debate
about the free press and the rights of citizens. A debate the police
don't want, just like they don't want any proper review to be made of
the incredible police brutality that occurred June 15th.

    They decided to create a new feature story, by making arrests on key
people in the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. This would put the word
riot back in the news and freedom of the press out of it.

    Friday morning arrests were made on John Clarke, Gaetan Heroux and
Stefan Pilipa of the Ontario Coaltion Against and Poverty. A female
protester named PJ of OCAP and Tao was also arrested. Earlier, on
Wednesday, Metro Intelligence officers arrested Toby M. from the New
Socialist Group near a large OCAP Allies forum. He had five charges laid
against him. Toby was held at 52 division and is now out of jail.

    Police are known to be holding nine or ten more arrest warrants. John
Clarke was charged with four counts - breach of probation, participating
in a riot, counseling to commit and indictable offense and another
charge.

    The Star reports that Toronto Councillor Jack Layton criticized the
arrests, saying that authorities should direct their efforts toward
helping the homeless rather than prosecuting their supporters. ''There's
going to be all kinds of time in court, dollars spent on lawyers,
officers having to spend time in court,'' he said. ''We really need
those funds to be devoted to helping the homeless. The services out
there need the help and that would be a better way to spend the money in
my opinion.''

    Some of the OCAP allies have called for a rally of support Saturday
July 22nd. 9:30 am sharp at Old City Hall Court House (Queen & Bay) The
bail hearing begins at that time.

    Bob Olsen of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee has warned people
who could be arrested due to June.15th not to show up at the rally.
Since one of the reasons for the arrests is the police failure to secure
the use of media photos and video, people who could be identified
through them likely have nothing to fear now. It is unlikely that any
court will sacrifice freedom of the press so the police can lay a few
minor charges in regards to a protest where a lot of charges already
have been made.

    Student, labour and community activists plan to organize a unified
defense campaign, and I am sending this post out in hopes of drawing
some support nationwide.

    The police are attempting to kill the right to protest in Toronto
through fear, intimidation, arrests, jail, vindictive legal actions and
an attack on freedom of the press. All in regards to a political rally
that many writers and witnesses say was more of a police attack on the
public than a riot. Let's not forget that John Clarke is also a writer
for Socialist Action and other publications.

    Facts are that the four key people arrested, John Clarke, Gaetan
Heroux, Stefan Pilipa and PJ are all Canadian writers as well as
protesters. Essays and or reports by all of them have been forwarded and
posted by numerous publications. I have also posted pieces by all of
them at various times at my news site.
http://citizensontheweb.com

    Here are the emails of some the people who sent out the info I used
to write this article. You might contact them to get info as to how to
help.

Denise Hammond <dhammond@yorku.ca>
dweitz@interlog.com (Don Weitz)
ocap@tao.ca,
Bob Olsen <bobolsen@interlog.com>
sarah vance <meerkat@dojo.tao.ca>
OCAP's east end office (249 Sherbourne St. just north of Dundas, call
first - 416 925-6939)

This news posted at
http://www.interlog.com/~cjazz/june15.htm
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