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(en) Canada, June 18, 2003 - A Busy Day For OCAP*

From worker-a-infos-en@ainfos.ca (Flow System)
Date Fri, 20 Jun 2003 04:55:40 +0200 (CEST)
Rom Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>

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

1. Crown To Put John Clarke On Trial Again - Stefan Pilipa And
Gaetan Heroux Freed Of Charges.
2. Attorney General's Office Building Shut Down.
3. The Campaign Against Eves Picks Up Steam - Ocap Disrupts And
Delays Eves Press Conference, Go Face-To-Face With Tory Cabinet
Today, before a Superior Court Justice at Toronto's 361 University
Avenue courthouse, the Crown announced its decision with regard to the
charges facing Stefan Pilipa, Gaetan Heroux and John Clarke that were laid
almost three years ago following their arrests in connection with the so
called Queen's Park Riot. A four month trial of the three came to an end
on May 11 when a deadlocked jury led to a mistrial.

Acknowledging the outpouring of support for the dropping of the
charges that has come into the office of the Attorney General, Senior
Crown, Paul Culver, declared that it would not be in the 'public interest'
to proceed against Gaetan and Stefan. On the grounds that the charges
against John were more serious, however, he announced that a new jury
trial for him will go ahead and will begin on October 7.

That Gaetan and Stefan are now free of the legal threat and
restrictive bail conditions that have hung over their heads all this time
is a huge gain and a clear political victory. The decision to take the
legal persecution of John to a new level, however, is an outrage.
Resources that could be used to build housing and alleviate poverty are
being channeled into an effort to silence opposition to the Tories. In
the process, reactionary and antiquated provisions of the Criminal Code
that should have been removed from the books decades ago will continue to
be used in a proceeding that poses a threat to the very rights of assembly
and expression.



Immediately following the decision today, 30 OCAP members and
supporters took to Attorney-General Norm Sterling's Office at 720 Bay St.
and effectively shut the entire building down for close to an hour and a
half. Building security stopped all elevator service and sealed all
stairways upon OCAP's arrival, leaving office workers stranded both on the
ground floor and throughout the entire building. Demanding to question
Sterling himself on his reasons for ordering a retrial of Clarke, OCAP
members remained in the building's lobby banging on walls and calling out
for Sterling to come down while they stalled upstairs. One OCAP member
who made it up to Sterling's office on the 11th floor said he could hear
the chants and noise ringing all the way up through the building.
Eventually an "Information Officer" spoke with those in the lobby,
promising to communicate their feelings to the A-G. He was promised that
this was only the first wave of anger Mr. Sterling will be seeing over the
next while.

In response to today's decision, we are asking all supporters to
redouble efforts to pressure the Ontario Attorney-General into dropping
the charges of 'counseling' riot and assault that could see John jailed
for up to five years. Information on where to direct letters and how to
frame them can be found on our website at www.ocap.ca. International and
Canada wide solidarity actions are also encouraged. The Western Cape
Anti-Eviction Campaign in South Africa has marched on the Canadian High
Commission in their city. The California Coalition Against Poverty has
gone to the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco. Such actions would be of
huge help to us. In other Canadian provinces, Ontario Government offices
could be visited.

We are also appealing for financial support. John is an OCAP
organizer and he must now be ready to devote a large part of his time to
legal and political work around these charges and to mounting a defence
during another week's long trial. While we have not made firm decisions
as yet, we will very likely have to look at hiring another organizer for a
large part of this year. All donations will be greatly appreciated.

After June 15, they thought they could crush us in the courts.
They were wrong then and they're wrong now. OCAP fights to win!



OCAP has never allowed itself to be reduced to simply mounting
legal defences. The Eves' Tories are preparing to go to the polls on a
far right-wing platform that must stir Mike Harris' heart. In the period
leading up the election call and, while the Tories are out on the trail,
OCAP plans to hound them and work for their defeat. Our refusal to be
deterred by legal action against our members was clearly exhibited today.

Ernie Eves might think twice about making public appearances in
downtown Toronto after OCAP delayed an afternoon press conference for 40
minutes, forcing Eves to speak to press behind police lines. At 3:55pm
OCAP members descended on a tented set-up at 1 Spadina Circle, passed by
security guards and found Tory MPPs mingling with media. While MPPs like
Jim Flaherty aren't afraid to spout off hateful words against First
Nations people and the homeless when there's enough distance between him
and those he shows scorn for, he seems to have a heavy tongue when
confronted in person. Tony Clement and others went into hiding while 30
Toronto Police made their way to the scene, setting up a line and forcing
OCAP members across the street. It was only at this point that the press
conference was able to proceed.

Following the action, police harassed demonstrators just a block
away, confiscating a megaphone and pushing people around. OCAP organizer
Stefan Pilipa, who had his charges "stayed" earlier in the day, entered
the criminal realm once more when he was ticketed for "excessive noise".

This regime that has brought such poverty and misery to Ontario
communities will not appear in public with any impunity. They can make no
concessions to erase their record of brutality and misery. We will be
challenging them now and throughout their campaign, and have no intention
of letting continued legal persecution interfere with our work. We invite
all those who want to help OCAP and the Common Front in blocking Eves'
'Road Ahead', to unite with us around this goal.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
517 College Street, Suite 234 Toronto, Ontario M6G 4A2
416-925-6939 ocap (at) tao.ca www.ocap.ca

See also:

*[Ed. Note: An anti authoritarian direct action social
class struggle initiative]

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