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Canada, Report From Anti-Harris Demo In Kingston

From DAMN <damn@tao.ca>
Date Sun, 12 Mar 2000 15:29:28 -0500


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A few hundred people, mostly working class youth, gathered in Kingston last
night to confront premier Mike Harris.  The crowd marched along the main
street beating drums and tossing eggs at the banks along the route to the
hotel where Harris and his cronies were scheduled to meet.

At the hotel the crowd rushed the police lines (unsuccessfully) resulting in
the first arrests, but spirits remained high as a blockade was maintained
and the remaining eggs were lobbed at the cop lines and at Tories attempting
to enter the hotel. As darkness fell protesters lit torches, smoke bombs and
a bonfire and made periodic attempts to breach the line.  

A number of squeegeers flaunted Harris's so-called "safe streets act" by
plying their trade on passing motorists and cop cars under the baleful gaze
of about 30 of Kingston's finest donut-disposal units.  

I have attached the local newspaper's version of events.  

************************
Police Pelted With Eggs

Drizzling rain wasn't quite enough to dampen the fires of protest last night
as nearly 200 people gathered to disrupt Premier Mike Harris' visit to
Kingston. Protesters threw eggs, beat on buckets, and chanted "Shame," as
people tried to push past to enter the Holiday Inn, where Harris was making
a speech to the local Progressive Conservative riding association. 

People and cars trying to enter the hotel and adjacent parking lot were
blocked by groups linking arms and were forced to turn around. Squeegee kids
gave windshields a quick spit wash, much to the dismay of some drivers. 

Diane Duttle, 60, and Evelyn Fudge, 87, who had come to attend the speech,
said they weren't surprised by the reception they received when they tried
to enter. 

"We weren't scared," said Duttle. "We were both at the golf club a few years
ago." 

When Harris visited Kingston in 1995, protesters greeted him at Cataraqui
Golf and Country Club by tossing eggs and macaroni, before setting some
signs on fire. 

"There's not much support for freedom of expression here," Duttle added.
"This is pretty one-sided." 

Protester Morgan Cleopatra saw it differently. "He's basically a fascist.
We're here because we have to be." 

While the protest was more subdued than on the premier's 1995 visit, police
spokesman Mike Weaver said seven Kinsgtonians were arrested and later
released last night. Jesse Archibald, 22, was charged with causing a
disturbance; Alain Rosebush, 18, with trespassing; and Melissa Vick, 19,
with obstruction of police. A boy who can't be identified under the Young
Offenders Act was charged with obstructing police and mischief.  Matthew
Silburn, 26, and Christopher White, 22, were charged with trespassing. Paul
Reynolds, 24, of Kingston was arrested for breaching the peace. 

Sgt. Harley Kellar, in command of the 30 officers at the site, said the day
shift had to work overtime because the whole night shift was deployed to the
protest site. 

He said, on the whole, the protest wasn't too unruly. 

"There were some eggs thrown and some initial rush through the crowd," he
said, "but after that was stopped, aside from some verbal confrontation,
there was no problem." 

There were a few moments when things threatened to get out of hand. 

Protester Christina Flynn, a 25-year-old psychology student at Queen's
University, brought her children, Courtney, 6, and Cameron, 4. She left
after nearly being crushed in the melee as people tried to push past the
mob.  'make a point' 

"I brought my kids to make a point," Flynn said. "They're the future of this
province." 

Courtney, who was crying afterward, said she wanted to protest Harris, too.

"They don't have enough books at my school," she said before heading off for
some comforting hot chocolate. 

Not all the people unable to pass the barricades intended to see Harris. 

"I'm here for a business meeting," said Heather Evoy, 24. 

"We had an RRSP seminar planned for tonight. Unfortunately, we're here the
same night as Harris, so we expected some controversy." 

Harris left the building around 8:30 p.m., driving away in a white sports
utility vehicle across a ditch on the opposite end of the parking lot, away
from the human barricades. 

The 40 or so lingering protesters dispersed shortly afterward.

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