UPDATE: Ten Non-Status Algerians And Two Supporters Released From Jail; Mother And Daughter Still Being Held

The 12 people engaged in the peaceful sit-in were arrested on Thursday
night at 10:45 pm in a violent takedown operation by combined RCMP and
Ottawa Police forces. After the protesters refused to leave the office
without a meeting with Coderre, and refused to negotiate with Ottawa
police before being given food, approximately 30 tactical unit forces
charged them. Brandishing tazer guns and shouting "put your hands over
your heads...get onto the floor", they forced the occupants of the office
to ground. For several long minutes, the sounds of electric shocks being
inflicted, bodies being beaten and cries of pain were all that could be

Air circulation to the floor had been cut off during the afternoon, and as
cops searched and cuffed the protesters in an adjacent area of the office,
the heat was stifling. Certain individuals were targeted and beaten,
smashed against hard surfaces and had t-shirts and bandanas pulled over
their faces in police attempts to subdue, humiliate and silence them.
Blood from one mans head was smeared across the Minister's wall.

One by one, protesters were identified, photographed read their rights in
English, although many protesters speak Arabic and French. They were then
put in separate elevators where police held them and boasted about their
weapons and the 45 dollar-an-hour overtime pay they were making. "Tazer
guns are great!" exclaimed one member of the tactical unit, "they're less
mess and more fun."

The entire operation was video-taped by the RCMP.

By the time the elevators arrived in the basement, at least one man
appeared to be unconscious. He was roughly thrown onto a stretcher and
dragged into a vehicle that brought him to the police station. The other
11 people were put into a paddy wagon as the support demonstration outside
shouted their solidarity.

The support demonstrators had been outside the building since late
afternoon. They were joined in the evening by Ottawa-area residents who
had attended a panel at which Sophie Harkat spoke. (Sophie Harkat is the
wife of Mohamed Harkat, a Canadian citizen of Algerian origin who is being
detained and tried secretly under a CSIS Security Certificate). The
support demonstration had blockaded the streets surrounding the building
and had immobilized an OC Transport bus that police had brought in to
transport arrestees. They also rolled construction cylinders in front of
the paddy wagon, slowing the removal of the arrested occupiers from the

Three Ottawa-area protesters were arrested at this time. One man was
tazered by police. A mother and a daughter who protested loudly against
the police brutality were arrested and charged with assault police.
By Saturday morning, they still had not appeared in Ottawa bail court.
They are likely to be held in jail over the weekend.

In jail, not only were the twelve occupiers identified and fingerprinted,
they were also all interrogated by an Immigration Canada official, in the
presence of a detective who did not identify himself. (The latter had been
in and out of the occupied office throughout the evening.) During the
period of detention, some individuals asked to see a doctor and were
refused medical assistance.

The twelve occupiers were represented in Ottawa bail court by legal
counsel Mark Ertel. They were released on Friday afternoon, on the
following conditions:
* Notify Ottawa Police Services prior to and in writing of any change of
* Keep the peace and be of good behavior.
* Abstain from communication or association directly or indirectly with
any co-accused in this matter when in the City of Ottawa except in transit
to and from court or to meet with counsel.
* Not to be in the City of Ottawa except to attend court or consult with
legal counsel.
* Not to attend within 40 metres of the intersection of Laurier and Kent
St., Ottawa unless in transit.

The crown tried to demand a strict non-association condition for all the
co-accused (non-association at all times and in all places), but counsel
and friends intervened successfully. The defendants must reappear in court
on July 11th, 2003.

Thanks to all the support people in Ottawa and Montreal, particularly
members of Direct Action Casework Ottawa who pulled the support demo
together. Special recognition to the members of the Action Committee for
Non-Status Algerians who spent the evening doing support for the
occupation while trapped in the foyer of the Immigration building,
surrounded by police. Thanks also to everyone who phoned and faxed CIC
offices in support of the occupiers' demands, and who called them with
encouraging words while the occupation was going on. Please stay on the
alert for upcoming calls for support with regard to the events of the past
48 hours...

Members of the Action Committee for Non-Status Algerians and supporters
from No One Is Illegal are, more than ever, committed to fighting for the
full regularization of all non-status Algerians. The occupation of
Coderre's office is testimony to this determination, and police violence
and intimidation will not break that spirit of resistance or sway them
from seeking justice.

For more information or to get in touch with the Action Committee for Non-Status Algerians, call (514) 996-3819 or email cassdz@yahoo.fr. To get
in touch with the No One Is Illegal Campaign (Montreal), email