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DOZENS FACE JAIL AS "QUEENS PARK RIOT" CASES GO TO TRIAL

Anti-poverty activists in Canada face serious jail time for bringing their grievances to halls of power. The Chicago Haymarket Local of the General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World calls upon all fellow workers to support class warriors in the dock. Free All Class War Prisoners!
DOZENS FACE JAIL AS "QUEENS PARK RIOT" CASES GO TO TRIAL

An International Appeal for Solidarity from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

On June 15, 2000, OCAP organized a March to the Ontario Legislature to demand action by the Conservative Government to deal with a crisis of homelessness that was (and still is) claiming hundreds of lives in Canada’s largest province. We called for the Legislature to receive and hear from a delegation from our organization. The response was a brutal police attack that led to dozens of serious injuries. Yet the homeless and their allies resisted on that day with a determination that scared and angered the authorities. In the weeks that followed, dozens of arrests were made in an attempt to destroy OCAP. This was totally unsuccessful as support poured in and the level of
resistance we were able to organize increased dramatically.

Now, the trials of the June 15 defendants are underway. One homeless man,charged with damaging the pathway through the Legislative grounds, has already been given a one hundred and ten day sentence and the Prosecutor stated that this was the least serious matter that he will be dealing with.
Between now and May, over thirty women and men will go to trial and, clearly, face serious jail terms. Later this year, three OCAP activists deemed to be principal organizers of the action will answer to charges of
˜participating in a riot" and ˜counselling to participate in a riot" before a jury. If convicted, they face jail terms of over two years each. The use of such antiquated and reactionary laws are a serious attack that threatens
to make the very call for militant action a crime.

OCAP will not be organizing any cringing defence. We will state openly that we went to the Legislature to demand the right to be heard and with every intention of exercising that right. If a "riot" took place on that day,however, primary responsibility for it lies with the Government of
Ontario, whose brutal policies and arrogant refusal to respond to the grievances of the homeless set the stage for confrontation. Blame also lies at the door of the police who chose to attack and disperse the crowd with such extreme violence. We will go to court not just to defend ourselves but to accuse and condemn those who created the so called "Queens Park Riot".

It will be of huge help, as we build momentum for the political struggle that surrounds the trials, if we can point to wide support across Canada and internationally. Our struggle in Ontario is only the local expression of a
global movement of resistance to a neo liberal agenda that would remove all barriers to the making of profit regardless of the human cost. On that basis, we would like to appeal to working class and progressive organizations everywhere to send us messages of solidarity that we can post on our web site at www.ocap.ca. Please feel free to include updates on your own struggles and any appeals for support that relate to them. With this initiative, we hope
to build up an international sense of an injury to one being an injury to all and a readiness to come to each others support as we face our respective local representatives of a common enemy.

We thank you in advance for all expressions of solidarity. We will continue to send out updates on this struggle and, more than anything, promise that the legal attack we are under, whatever its immediate results, will not divert us from building a movement that fights to win.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
 
 

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