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(en) Canada, Toronto Demonstration at South African Trade Consulate

From Mick <mickblack47@yahoo.com>
Date Sat, 31 Aug 2002 19:34:47 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

From: jshantz@tao.ca 
Subject: Toronto Demonstration at South African Trade Consulate 
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 14:29:55 -0400 (EDT) 

< Pictures will be available shortly at www.ocap.ca >

Wednesday, August 28, more than 20 people showed up to deliver a protest
message to the South African Trade Consulate in Toronto.  The action was
initiated by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, at the request of our
allies in the West Cape Anti-Eviction Group.  It was a show of support for
the Landless Peoples' Movement and Sodiers' Forum of South Africa whose
just struggles have endured such extreme brutality and violence by the
South African government.

The contingent included members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE)-Toronto District Council, CUPE Local 3903 Flying Squad, CUPE 3903
Anti-poverty Working Group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW),
People Against Coercive Treatment, the International Socialists (IS), and
the Pope Squat.

Our message read as follows:
We, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and other labour and
community organizations, have come to your offices to-day to condemn the
ugly efforts of the South African authorities to silence dissent around
World Summit on Sustainable Development.

That the whole object of your deplorable conduct has been to, precisely,
silence dissent is incontrovertible.  The pre-emptive arrests of the
members of the Soldiers Forum and the Landless Peoples Movement (including
their media representative) is proof enough of your intentions.  Your
brutal police assault on peaceful protesters on their way to John Vorster
Square, that included tear gas and concussion grenades, has left no room
for doubt whatever.

We consider it offensive enough that the world's leading polluters and
exploiters gather together to mouth lies and hypocrisy about ?sustainable
development?.  Your Government, however, goes to even more appalling
lengths.  You seek to brutalize, terrorize and silence those who have the
decency and courage to speak up and raise a voice of opposition.
We want you to know that there are people here in Toronto and around this
world who know full well what is going on in Johannesburg right now.  We
will support those who struggle for justice around this Summit and beyond
in the "New South Africa".  We also want you to be fully aware that a
repetition and intensification of state violence directed at those who
protest at the opening of the Summit on Monday will be responded to
internationally as a human rights violation of the most serious kind.

The consulate and the mall management were clearly worried as Federal
officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Executive Diplomatic
Protection Section were present, in addition to Toronto police, to ensure
that the delegation did not enter the building.  Mall security agreed to
allow only two people inside to deliver the message to the Trade Consulate
and everyone else was locked out.

While we waited we took the opportunity, at one of the busiest pedestrian
intersections in Toronto, to inform passersby of the situation regarding
arrests and state repression during the WSSD.

After twenty minutes our delegates returned with confirmation that the
message had been forwarded to the South African High Commissioner Andr=E9
Jacquet in Ottawa.

This action was taken in solidarity with other actions happening in cities
around the world to protest the South African government's vicious
crackdown.  Our resistance is as global as capital!

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