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Walkerville Site of OAS Protest

by Elaine Weeks

1933.jpgRain gear was de rigeur as police and OAS protesters converged on Willistead Park Monday, June 5.

Pouring rain may have limited their numbers but it did not dampen the spirits of about 150 protestors who marched around the park chanting,"There is no power like the power of the people, because the power of the people don't stop!" and "Protesting's not a crime, no more cops on overtime!".

Several curious residents watched from their porches; a few taking photos or videotaping what was certainly a rare event for this normally peaceful neighbourhood.

Willistead Manor was the site for a luncheon hosted by the Honorable Herb Gray, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada for delegates involved in the Thirtieth General Assembly of the Organization of American States. To prevent any potential interference from angry protesters, police and OPP in riot gear were stationed around the perimeter of the park and at all of the entrances, which were locked except for one, the main entrance on Niagara.

Protesters were comprised of students from nearby Walkerville Collegiate and Lowe Technical School as well as professional protestors from around the province. "We want to help the community understand the issues," explained Anna Willats of Toronto. "People should know what the OAS is doing ­ the protestors are here to represent social justice but we are being treated like terrorists. We aren't doing anything illegal."

Two students from Walkerville admitted that they didn't really know what the OAS was but they wanted to see what was going on. "We can't really say much because we don't know the issues - we thought we would just follow along."

Another Walkerville student, Chantelle Crepp was busy taking photos of the protestors. "I'm photographing their shoes ­ I find it ironic that here they are protesting Free Trade and human rights issues but they're wearing Adidas and Nike running shoes."

Protesters eventually ended up in front of the main gate, which was blocked by a solid phalanx of police in black riot gear. The activists hoped to block the entrance of three buses carrying delegates by sitting on the wet pavement but police quickly stepped in and began dragging people away. The buses were allowed to enter without further incident. There were no arrests.

Click here to see photos of the protest at Willistead Manor...

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