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(en) Canada, OTTAWA, Police attack peaceful immigrant demonstrators (photo links included)

From lombrenoire <lombrenoire@dojo.tao.ca>
Date Tue, 3 Jun 2003 09:02:44 +0200 (CEST)

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

> From: No One Is Illegal <nooneisillegal@dojo.tao.ca>*
The extent of police brutality against unarmed immigrant protesters and
their supporters emerged on Friday after their release from jail. Ten
members of the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians, and two
supporters with the No One Is Illegal Campaign of Montreal -- Sarita
Ahooja and Andrea Schmidt -- had managed to occupy the 21st floor
reception area of Immigration Minister Denis Coderre's main offices at the
headquarters of Immigration Canada in Ottawa.

For several hours they tried to negotiate for a face-to-face meeting with
Denis Coderre, to ask for tangible answers concerning the plight of
non-status Algerians who are facing deportation from Canada in the coming
weeks and months. The sit-in was peaceful.

According to an account by direct witnesses to what happened on the 21st

"After the protesters refused to leave the office without a meeting with
Coderre, and refused to negotiate with Ottawa police before being given
food, approximately 30 tactical unit forces charged them. Brandishing
tazer guns and shouting "put your hands over your heads...get onto the
floor", they forced the occupants of the office to ground. For several
long minutes, the sounds of electric shocks being inflicted, bodies being
beaten and cries of pain were all that could be heard.

Air circulation to the floor had been cut off during the afternoon, and as
cops searched and cuffed the protesters in an adjacent area of the office,
the heat was stifling. Certain individuals were targeted and beaten,
smashed against hard surfaces and had t-shirts and bandanas pulled over
their faces in police attempts to subdue, humiliate and silence them.
Blood from one man's head was smeared across the Minister's wall."

Three digitial photos of some of the injuries are linked as follows:


The injuries were documented by supporters immediately after release from
prison on Friday, with extensive video, digital and still photos.
Hi-resolution images are also available.

Keep in mind, the police attack followed just minutes after Ottawa police
(with the so-called "MELT" team) were trying to negotiate with the
non-status Algerians, in English-only (despite the fact that they
understand only French and Arabic). As well, earlier, tactical team
members were directly observing the occupiers, and ate sandwiches in their
presence. The police were well aware that the occupiers were unarmed and
peaceful, but brutally attacked them nonetheless.

According to eyewitnesses to the police operation, one member of the
tactical squad exclaimed: "Taser guns are great; they're less mess and
more fun."

Taser guns cause muscle spasms and makes the entire body shake due to
electric shock, and also causes mental confusion that can last up to
thirty minutes. Arrogantly, the RCMP filmed the entire police operation.

Aside from the 10 non-status Algerian men, and two supporters from No One
Is Illegal -- who were all charged with one count of simple mischief --
three other people were arrested outside Immigration Canada as they
participated in a support demonstration. Paul Smith, a local
Ottawa-activist, was violently grabbed, and shot in the leg with a taser
gun. He was later released without charge.

Meanwhile, Francine Dumas and Michele Marois -- mother and daughter
anti-war activists from Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa --
were also arrested outside Immigration Canada. They were detained for over
40 hours before being brought before a judge. Michele was charged with
obstruction, and her mother, Francine, was charged with assault on police.
Their release conditions include a ban on protesting. Those conditions, as
well as the conditions that ban the 12 occupiers from being in Ottawa
except for court, will undoubtedly be challenged at upcoming court

In the coming days and weeks, the Action Committee of Non-Status
Algerians, and their supporters in Montreal and Ottawa, will be
strategizing and organizing their response. They need your help!

IF YOU CAN OFFER SUPPORT to the arrested and brutalized members of the
Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians, as well as Sarita Ahooja, Andrea
Schmidt, Francine Dumas and Michele Marois, please contact
nooneisillegal@tao.ca. In the coming days and weeks, we will rely on your
support for letters, finances, as well as other mobilizing efforts.

One thing is certain, active organizing by the Action Committee, and their
supporters, will continue. The Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians
continues to demand: 1) An end to all deportations; 2) A return of the
moratorium on deportations to Algeria; 3) A regularization of the status
of all non-status persons.

[Please offer your support by e-mailing nooneisillegal@tao.ca. Someone
will reply within the week.]

* [Ed. Note: Update on anti-auhoritarian initiative reported by us before]

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