(en) Charges Dropped Against Canadian APEC Protestors

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Wed, 24 Dec 1997 08:23:20 +0000

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From: "Lyn Gerry" <redlyn@loop.com> ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 22:53:39 -0800 (PST) From: Jonathan Oppenheim <oppenh@theory.physics.ubc.ca> To: apecforum-l@netserver.web.net Cc: apecalert-l@envirolink.org Subject: apec-L: Charges Dropped Against 3 APEC Protesters

News Advisory For Immediate Release Tuesday, December 23rd

Charges to be Dropped Against APEC Protesters

Three APEC Alert members, arrested during Anti-APEC demonstrations will have their charges dropped. Caleb Sigurgeirson, Victoria Scott and Jonathan Oppenheim, were arrested on Halloween for chalking statements on the Atrium - the site of the APEC leaders' luncheon. They did it while the Atrium was being renovated for the luncheon, at a cost of $400,000. They wrote phrases such as "APEC will turn us into consumer-zombies" and "APEC is Scary" They used "glass-chalk" which washes away with a damp cloth, or disappears in the rain. Nonetheless, the three were charged with mischief.

The fact that their charges will be dropped now that the APEC meeting is over confirms the students' view that the charges were used as an intimidation tactic to discourage further protests. There is mounting evidence that RCMP were following orders from the Prime Minister's Office. "These were completely trumped up charges," said Victoria Scott. "The intent was clearly to force us to sign conditions of release which would prevent us from protesting on the site of the APEC leaders' luncheon." Ms. Scott and Mr. Oppenheim spent several days in jail while appealing the conditions of release.

On the day of the APEC Leaders' Summit, and in the months leading up to it, it became illegal to do anything that smelled of dissent. "It became illegal for some people to attend a protest; people were arrested for using chalk; people were arrested for using megaphones or holding up signs," said Jonathan Oppenheim. "I'm surprised they didn't outlaw the repeating of monotonous chants."

The silencing of dissent is typical of APEC meetings. Last year in the Philippines, 10,000 people were stopped by police blockades while attempting to march on the APEC Leaders' Summit. "APEC is completely undemocratic, and is driven by corporate interests," said Caleb Sigurgeirson. "Society at large has no part in APEC discussions, and most of us are kept in the dark about decisions which will affect our lives. We really had no choice but to voice our opposition through vigorous, peaceful protest and direct action."

For more information, contact APEC Alert at 251-9914 or alert@netinfo.ubc.ca. Our web page is at http://www.cs.ubc.ca/spider/fuller/apec_alert

Bob Olsen Toronto bobolsen@arcos.org (:-)

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