An interesting story was posted yesterday to the Anarchist News website about “a person in Hamilton who has been active in organizing against Line 9”. According to the story, this person was visited by the Hate Crimes and Extremism Unit of the Hamilton Police who took them into custody for breeching the conditions of their bail. The story went on to say that “Subsequent court appearances have made it clear that the Hate Crimes and Extremism Unit targetted [sic] this person as part of the security operation in the lead up to the Pan Am Games”.
If you’re not familiar with the Pan-Am Games, statistics say that a large percentage of Canadian’s aren’t, they’re an event not much different than the Olympics- only, limited in scale to people from “the Americas”. Also similar to the Olympics, the police have some genuine concerns that some unsavoury activists may use the occasion for violent self-promotion. Buy how realistic of a problem is this?
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty are a nasty bunch with a history of engaging in riots. Their leader John Clarke was charged with inciting the Queens Park Riot back in 2000 (but was later let off the hook) when their members got into a street fight with the police and some protesters threw Molotov Cocktails at cops protecting the front stairs of the Ontario Legislature.
In a 2013 protest at City Hall, OCAP member Gaétan Héroux stood in front of a dozen members of the Toronto press and insisted Your Humble Narrator was thrown out of the building because I “harass protesters” – when asked in court why he stood by and watched Héroux assault me, Clarke mumbled an answer “I don’t know”.
OCAP was also a major organizer behind the riots during the 2010 Toronto G20, which was likely the most violent protest in Toronto’s history. Now they’re planning to start protesting the Pan-Am Games, beginning with an event on March 9th. Curiously, their poster for the event features a torch with a drawing of Toronto’s City Hall sitting above the flames. Things could get interesting this year, Toronto may be looking forward to some more violence.
One of the other interesting statements in the Anarchist News article was that the Hamilton Police’s Hate Crimes and Extremism Unit released a 2009 report “identifying police themselves as being the largest victim of hate crimes in Hamilton and that anarchist and anti-police activists were therefore the group most responsible for hate crimes”. Another report indicates part of the problem was anti-police graffiti.
Line 9 arrestee Trish Mills recently gave us a good example of that, posting a Facebook Event for the International Day Against Police Brutality with anti-police graffiti. People who’ve signed-up for the event include G20 arrestee Darius Mirshahi and convicted G20 ringleader Amanda Hiscocks. These events typically degrade into “f##k the police” marches- considering this year’s participants, it’s likely this year’s will be the same. Here’s a video from OCAP’s “police brutality” march in 2013:
I’ll leave you today with a preview of a chart I’m working on for a story on the documents about activist extremism recently released by the RCMP. One interesting thing to notice in this chart is how G20 convict Amanda Hiscocks had close relationships to the people involved in the 2010 firebombing of an Ottawa branch of the Royal Bank of Canada.
You’ll also recognize her fellow convicted G20 ringleader Leah Henderson, she currently works as an assistant for Toronto city councillor Shelley Carroll- considering the Pan-Am Games are on their way, isn’t it dangerous for a convicted G20 organizer to have access to sensitive city information?
We live in interesting times…
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