[Hpn] Ontario poverty activist arrested

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sat, 16 Jun 2001 08:58:07 -0400

Advocate,activist for displaced,disabled and human rights

 Ontario poverty activist arrested

Jun. 15, 2001
              Ontario poverty activist arrested
              OCAP's John Clarke will spend weekend in jail
              From Canadian Press

              The outspoken leader of a group of Ontario poverty activists
  charged Friday in connection with a raucous protest at the office of the
  province's finance minister earlier this week.
              John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty was
  with unlawful assembly, mischief over $5,000 and breach of a court order
  after Jim Flaherty's constituency office in Whitby, Ont., was trashed

              Clarke, 47, was led off to spend the weekend in jail after he
  requested his bail hearing be delayed until Monday so he could be
  represented by his own lawyer.

              Police arrested 12 others after dozens of coalition supporters
  stormed the office northeast of Toronto, overturning desks, smashing glass
  and tossing furniture out of the building to protest provincial policies
  they say harm the poor.

              Clarke's arrest came as his organization mobilized for a rally
  at a downtown school Friday night.

              The rally was held to protest a school board's recent refusal
  allow the group to hold a meeting at the school.

              Anticipating hot tempers following their leader's arrest,
  set up a perimeter around the school and had a mounted police unit
  by in case of trouble.

              That sent protesters several blocks away to a downtown park,

              "They were giving us no space,'' said protester Gaeten Heroux.

              About 300 activists assembled at the park to chant, beat
  hand out flyers and display banners with slogans reading: Fight to Win and
  Stop the War on the Poor.

              A few uniformed officers patrolled the perimeter of the
  gathering, which proceeded peacefully. At one point, two officers joined
  on an impromptu soccer game with four protesters.

              Clarke's group gained notoriety last year during a violent
  at the Ontario legislature, when about 1,000 protesters tried to speak
  before the legislature.

              The event turned into a riot when protesters began throwing
  paint bombs, bricks and Molotov cocktails at police.

              Riot squads retaliated with pepper spray and batons to push
  the crowd.