Gatineau (Qc): Cops evict and arrest Native defenders of archeological site, for a development
GATINEAU — The “sacred fire” at a 3,000-year-old aboriginal archeological site in Gatineau was stamped out and six people arrested Thursday when Gatineau police moved in to evict protesters who had been camping out in teepees for the past month.
The city obtained an injunction Thursday afternoon to remove the protesters and gave them a 6:45 deadline to clear out.
But they refused.
Roger Fleury, one of the organizers, had gone to court to ask for more time to prepare a defence. When he returned to the site, which the aboriginal protesters say is sacred, with the news that he had failed, he didn’t apologize. Tossing the injunction into the “sacred fire” at the centre of the campsite, he said:
“We’ll go to jail.”
Minutes after the deadline, about 15 police vehicles arrived. Officers « asked » the protesters to leave peacefully, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
“This is our land, we gave it to you,” cried Audrey Redman, one of the protesters. “Instead you take us to your prison!”
One at a time, police arrested the protesters in front of a small crowd that had gathered to watch the commotion. Some in the crowd were neighbours who said they supported the City of Gatineau’s waterfront redevelopment project that encompasses the site where artifacts were discovered; others were former protesters who did not want to be arrested.
Police arrested four men and two women, including Fleury and Redman. They went peacefully, though voicing cries of injustice of the government.
Police said that those arrested would be taken to headquarters, questioned, and then released with conditions.
In May, artifacts dating back at least 3,000 years had been found on the land, which is slated for a $43-million waterfront redevelopment project jointly funded by the City of Gatineau and the National Capitalists Commission.