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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mohawk Ben Powless: Of my illegal detention (with 899 others) and the G20 protests

Ben Powless, Mohawk, 23, whose photos appear on Censored News, describes his arrest and imprisonment, during Canada's mass arrests at the G20

Of my illegal detention (with 899 others) and the G20 protests
By Ben Powless, Mohawk
Rabble/Photo by Ben Powless
Last Thursday was Canada Day. I've never been anything close to patriotically Canadian, as a Mohawk citizen, but this year was a particular sore point.
Days earlier, myself and around 899 others were rounded up and detained in the biggest mass arrest in Canadian history. Many were picked up for simply participating in one of many peaceful demonstrations. Journalists were rounded up. Legal observers too. Many people simply out for a walk ended up getting caught "kettled" by the police, arbitrary arrest measures which ensure that everyone in a certain zone is detained, guilty or not.
On June 24, I had taken part in a national Indigenous Day of Action, called by the Defenders of the Land network, which brought out around 2,000 people to a rally in Toronto. Indigenous leaders and activists from Toronto and communities across the country -- Barriere Lake and tar sands-impacted communities were particularly prominent -- took the opportunity presented by the G20 to speak out against Canada's ongoing colonial legacy and called for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and investigation into the near 600 missing and murdered Indigenous women.
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