Re: malicious police charges FWD

Bonnie Briggs (
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 06:48:11 PST

>FWD:  Reply to  "Benson, Marnie" <>
>Hi all,
>I was wondering if anyone out there has any information about cases
>where the people have fought back against the police for (a) excessive
>use of force, and (b) malicious charges used against activists who
>participate in political protest.  There seems to be an increased use 
>force and other tactics to silence political protest....  eg., 
>use of pepper spray against anti-APEC protestors in Vancouver; the way
>the police surrounded, trapped, and arrested all 108 anti-poverty
>protestors who took food from the swanky hotel in Montreal; and the way
>the police seemed to be using really trumped up charges against those
>they are arresting (ie. not just simple charges like trespassing,
>disturbing the peace... they're using charges like criminal mischief,
>theft over, conspiracy).  Their intent with such tactics is obvious...
>but is anyone responding?  Does anyone know of cases where the people
>have fought against this crap through legal channels (or other)?  I
>noticed that in Eugene, Oregon a group is filing a civil suit against
>the cops for excessive use of pepper spray during an anti-tree-cutting
>demo, but I need Canadian examples.  Anyone?  I realize that this is 
>the most secure channel to be having this discussion but if anyone can
>steer me in the right direction that would be much appreciated.
>marnie  <>
>~~~~~~~~      consume less, share more :)     ~~~~~~~

Bonnie Briggs
Hi Marnie,
  Yes, people are fighting back. The Ontario Coalition Against 
Poverty(OCAP), for example. OCAP has been involved in a fight, here in 
Toronto, to get empty buildings opened for homeless people. The 
buildings at the centre of this fight are 88-90 Carlton St. near Maple 
Leaf Gardens. OCAP has been there twice in an attempt to occupy them. 
The first time, they were successful in getting into the buildings. The 
second time, the cops were waiting for them with horses and men decked 
out in riot gear. The horses were lined up in front of the buildings. As 
the crowd of protestors approached, the coops drove the horses directly 
into the crowd, caring not who was in the way. One girl was stpped on 
and was in a cast for quite a while after that. It was the first time 
that I had gone to an OCAP demonstration and been scared. There were 
elderly people there and people on bikes. They were all in danger of 
being stepped on. I have been stepped on by a horse before so I know 
what it's like. As a result of those two protests, many of OCAP's 
members were arrested and were given serious charges.(ie. trespassing, 
property damage, conspriacy, etc). Some of the charges carry jail time. 
They go to trial in March. OCAP is planning to fill the court room and 
to carry on a protest either in the court room or in the hallway. After 
the trial is over, OCAP is going to hold its own trial of the cops and 
the local politicians who let these buildings sit empty while people die 
oon the streets. 
  OCAP is also leading the fight to bring in the "Use Or Lose It" bylaw. 
This bylaw would require owners of buildings to use their empty 
buildings for housing. If this was not done within 6 months, the 
property owner would lose his/her building and face a fine of 25% of the 
building's value. OCAP will continue this fight into the New Year and 
until it is passed and homeless people are housed. OCAP believes that 
too many people have died and it's time for action. 14 people have died 
in Toronto this year alone. 
  So yes, Marnie, people are fighting back. You are not alone. We stand 
with you in this fight. Take heart, we will win. Homeless and poor 
people have a power that cannot be denied. Resist and fight!

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