[Hpn] RESISTANCE ON TRIAL Jan 12th Meeting

W.C.Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 29 Dec 2002 07:49:03 -0500

 [Please forward widely]
Public Meeting to Oppose the Prosecution of OCAP
 Sunday, Jan 12th
7 PM
OISE Auditorium
252 Bloor St. W.
 John Clarke
Jaggi Singh
Judy Rebick
Shayesteh Mohammadian
    Three members (John Clarke, Gaetan Heroux, Stefan Pilipa) of the
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) will appear in a 4 month jury
trial beginning on January 13, 2003, charged with 'participating in a
riot','counseling to participate in a riot,' and 'counseling to assault
    These draconian charges, which refer to their participation in the
June 15, 2000 anti-poverty demonstration at Queen's Park, have been laid
under some of the most antiquated and regressive sections of the Criminal
Code. Each charge involves potential jail terms of between two and five
years. Although most June 15th participants have had their day in court,
this trial (the first political jury trial in Ontario since the 1930s)
constitutes an attack on the organization as a whole, and has chilling
ramifications for larger social justice movements.
    It has always been OCAPs position that if a riot took place that day,
it was a police riot that attacked a demonstration whose aim was to
confront an instransigent and brutal government on basic issues of poverty
and housing.
    Since June 15, we have not been intimidated by the legal persecution
that has been thrown at us.  Our resistance grew in the period that
followed.  We joined with others to take our fight against the Tories into
the financial heart of Toronto on October 16, 2001.  We organized the Pope
Squat this year and are preparing to issue a call for coast to coast
housing actions in 2003.
    Now, as they try with this jury trial to take the criminalization of
social resistance to a new level, we are going to mount a strong and
principled legal and political defence.  What is most important, however,
is that we drive home the message that their attempt to intimidate us and
scare others will fail.  Whatever the verdict in this trial, the result
must be that the movement we are part of comes out of it stronger than
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 4A2
416-925-6939   ocap@tao.ca   www.ocap.ca