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Police Attack Peaceful Immigrant Demonstrators (photo Links Included)

NON-STATUS ALGERIAN MEN BRUTALIZED BY POLICE

NON-STATUS
ALGERIAN MEN BRUTALIZED BY POLICE

MOTHER
& DAUGHTER BANNED FROM PROTESTING

Sunday,
June 1st, 2003

The extent
of police brutality against unarmed immigrant protesters and their
supporters emerged on Friday after their release from jail. Ten
members of the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians, and two
supporters with the No One Is Illegal Campaign of Montreal -- Sarita
Ahooja and Andrea Schmidt -- had managed to occupy the 21st floor
reception area of Immigration Minister Denis Coderre's main offices
at the headquarters of Immigration Canada in Ottawa.
For several
hours they tried to negotiate for a face-to-face meeting with Denis
Coderre, to ask for tangible answers concerning the plight of non-status
Algerians who are facing deportation from Canada in the coming weeks
and months. The sit-in was peaceful.
According to
an account by direct witnesses to what happened on the 21st floor:

"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 heard.
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 man's head was smeared across the Minister's
wall."
Three digitial
photos of some of the injuries are linked as follows:
http://www.tao.ca/~john/cic/img1-s.jpg


The injuries
were documented by supporters immediately after release from prison
on Friday, with extensive video, digital and still photos. Hi-resolution
images are also available.
Keep in mind,
the police attack followed just minutes after Ottawa police (with
the so-called "MELT" team) were trying to negotiate with
the non-status Algerians, in English-only (despite the fact that
they understand only French and Arabic). As well, earlier, tactical
team members were directly observing the occupiers, and ate sandwiches
in their presence. The police were well aware that the occupiers
were unarmed and peaceful, but brutally attacked them nonetheless.

According to
eyewitnesses to the police operation, one member of the tactical
squad exclaimed: "Taser guns are great; they're less mess and
more fun."
Taser guns
cause muscle spasms and makes the entire body shake due to electric
shock, and also causes mental confusion that can last up to thirty
minutes. Arrogantly, the RCMP filmed the entire police operation.

Aside from
the 10 non-status Algerian men, and two supporters from No One Is
Illegal -- who were all charged with one count of simple mischief
-- three other people were arrested outside Immigration Canada as
they participated in a support demonstration. Paul Smith, a local
Ottawa-activist, was violently grabbed, and shot in the leg with
a taser gun. He was later released without charge.
Meanwhile,
Francine Dumas and Michele Marois -- mother and daughter anti-war
activists from Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa --
were also arrested outside Immigration Canada. They were detained
for over 40 hours before being brought before a judge. Michele was
charged with obstruction, and her mother, Francine, was charged
with assault on police. Their release conditions include a ban on
protesting. Those conditions, as well as the conditions that ban
the 12 occupiers from being in Ottawa except for court, will undoubtedly
be challenged at upcoming court appearences.
In the coming
days and weeks, the Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians, and
their supporters in Montreal and Ottawa, will be strategizing and
organizing their response. They need your help!
IF YOU CAN
OFFER SUPPORT to the arrested and brutalized members of the Action
Committee of Non-Status Algerians, as well as Sarita Ahooja, Andrea
Schmidt, Francine Dumas and Michele Marois, please contact nooneisillegal@tao.ca.
In the coming days and weeks, we will rely on your support for letters,
finances, as well as other mobilizing efforts.
One thing is
certain, active organizing by the Action Committee, and their supporters,
will continue. The Action Committee of Non-Status Algerians continues
to demand: 1) An end to all deportations; 2) A return of the moratorium
on deportations to Algeria; 3) A regularization of the status of
all non-status persons.
[Please
offer your support by e-mailing nooneisillegal@tao.ca. Someone will
reply within the week.]