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10 Non-status Algerians Arrested In Ottawa; Letters And Courtroom Solidarity

1) ARRESTS IN OTTAWA (UPDATED INFO -- May 30, 2003, 3am)



May 30, 2003 -- Dozens of Ottawa riot police proceeded to arrest at least
15 people involved in the occupation of the offices of Canadian
Immigration Minister Denis Coderre late yesterday evening.

Twelve persons who were occupying Denis Coderre's 21st floor office in
downtown Ottawa were forcibly removed -- ten members of the Action
Committee of Non-Status Algerians, as well as two members of the No One Is
Illegal campaign of Montreal. Outside the building, at least 40 people had
gathered in solidarity, and three supporters from Ottawa and Hull were
arrested. Many supporters actively tried to block police vans and disrupt
the arrests. The support presence involved a diverse array of Ottawa-Hull
organizers and activists, including Direct Action Casework Ottawa,
Anti-Capitalist Community Action, NOWAR Ottawa, L'Association pour la
defense des droits sociaux (ADDS) as well as members of Global Democracy
Ottawa, peace activists and others.

According to an eyewitness, at least one arrestee was injured on the head
by police, but details are not clear at this point, and need to be
confirmed with arrestees upon release.

During the night there has been a vigil outside the police station. The
police presence has included some balaclava-clad, machine-gun wielding
officers outside the station.

At least one arrestee has been released, and most of the others are
expected to appear in court at the Ottawa Provincial Courthouse this
morning after 9am (located on Elgin Street, near Laurier). IF YOU LIVE IN

Coderre, in support of the demands of the Action Committee occupation.
Those demand include a face-to-face meeting with Denis Coderre and
tangible answers to their questions and concerns . as well as support for
their basic campaign demands: 1) an end to all deportations; 2) a
regularization of the status of all non-status persons; 3) a return of the
moratorium on removals to Algeria. More info about letters is included

As the occupation arrests were happening, Direct Action Casework Ottawa
(DACO) proceeded with a pre-planned event highlighting another aspect of
Canada's regressive immigration policies -- so-called "security
certificates" that are used to detain, without charge and with secret
evidence, individuals who might be a threat to Canadian security. Changes
in Canadian law now allow for secret trials, as well as detention without
charge, often without the accused knowing the evidence against him. [At
least 75 people attended the event, while up to 50 others were outside
Immigration Canada in support of the arrested occupiers.]

The security certificates have been used almost exclusively against Arab
and Muslim men. In Ottawa, Mohammed Harkat -- who is of Algerian origin --
has been detained in isolation. The Ottawa event last night focussed on
his case, and many of the non-status Algerians visiting from Montreal
originally came to Ottawa in support.

And while various arrestees are to appear in court in Ottawa this morning
as a result of the occupation of Coderre's office, there will be another
courtroom presence in Montreal in support of the Moroccan-born Montreal
resident Adil Charkaoui. Adil was grabbed off a Montreal street last week
by over 10 officers from various police and security services. He has been
denied basic due process, like knowing the evidence against him, an open
hearing, access to a lawyer and more, all part of the new security laws
that Denis Coderre has promoted. In Montreal, a diverse Justice for Adil
Charkaoui Coalition has quickly formed, uniting progressive activists from
the Muslim community and immigration and refugee rights organizations. A
picket is planned this morning outside of Montreal's Federal Court in
support of Adil.

More updates about the arrests today in Ottawa as well as the cases of
Mohammed Harkat and Adil Charkaoui will follow in the coming days. For
more information, contact the No One Is Illegal Campaign of Montreal at

[This report prepared by members of No One Is Illegal in Montreal. Props
to DACO for their awesome support work on-the-ground!]






* The occupation is ongoing (as of 11:30 PM)... an increased amount of RCMP=
riot police, MELT teams etc. are entering and surrounding the
building......Please take a minute to write/fax in support of the action an=
the Action Committee's demands ASAP (a sample letter is provided below)

CC support letters to nooneisillegal@tao.ca. Updates will continue to be
sent out.

Denis Coderre:
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
The Honourable Denis Coderre, P.C., M.P.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
(phone) (613) 995-6108
(fax) (613) 995-9755

Jean Chretien,
Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON



I am sending this letter in support the non-status Algerians in their
fight, particularly their current occupation of Minister Coderre=92s office=
against deportations to Algeria.

The non-status Algerians have put forth simple demands in order to secure
their livelihood and right to movement which have not been given serious
consideration. The two principal demands of the Action Committee during
the current occupation is a face-to-face meeting with Minister Denis
Coderre, and tangible, real answers concerning the situation of non-status
Algerians in Canada. These demands are in addition to the core demands of
the Action Committee, which they have presented publicly for over one
year: an end to all deportations; a return of the moratorium on removals
to Algeria; and the regularization of all non-status persons.

As you are well aware, approximately 1000 Algerians living in Canada are
faced with deportation as a result of recent changes to federal government
policy. These residents -- many of whom have lived, studied and worked in
Canada after several years, and whose children were born here -- now live
in fear of being returned to a country they fled due to a violent civil
conflict that has taken at least 150,000 lives and resulted in thousands
of disappearances. Unprecedented "special procedures" were won by the
non-status Action Committee, after a intense campaign of public awareness,
dozens of delegation visits to Immigration officials self organizing,
petitions, letter writing and direct action.

The focus of today's delegation to Coderre -- as outlined in a letter they
intend to present to him in person -- are the various non-status persons
excluded from consideration for immigration to Canada or Quebec. These
"excluded" include people with criminal records, who suffer a "double
penalty": punishment for their crimes (often crimes of poverty or charges
based on racial profiling) as well as deportation back to Algeria (a
potential death sentence for some). Other "excluded" include older
persons, people who can't afford immigration processing costs, and others
who have been arbitrarily declared outside the "special procedures" set up
the Immigration departments of Canada and Quebec.

The Action Committee has fought an incredibly inspiring, public battle
against the injustices of deportations and I stand in support of their
struggle against being forcibly removed to Algeria. I demand that you
immediately consider and implement the demands set forth by the non-status
Algerian Action Committee, beginning with a face-to-face meeting with the
entire Committee (and not just selected individuals) in order to address
their collective demands.

Shortly before the lifting of the moratorium on deportations to Algeria,
that is on April 1st, 2002, a report of the Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade affirmed that, "the security situation continues
to be unstable, and there is a risk for both Canadian residents and
Canadian visitors of being in the wrong place at the wrong time." Since
the beginning of 2002, there have been over 1000 deaths and hundreds of
people injured. Moreover, the violations can be counted by the thousands
in the crisis that the region of Kabylia is currently undergoing: summary
executions, arbitrary arrests and violent repression. So how does one
explain your Ministry's policy of deporting Algerians to a country where
there are still massacres, violence and threats to security? Beisdes
myself, a growing number of unions, community and student organizations
stand in solidarity with the non-status Algerians (and others in similar
situations facing deportation) and support their demands for justice.

[your name]

[Please cc your letters to nooneisillegal@tao.ca.]