[again, another report from someone who left the event before more than half of the protesters arrived, but at least it reports one OPP officer claiming that we were the “most organized, prepared rally” they had ever seen. It should also be noted that near the end of the protest an off-duty officer came up to us and said that they were very proud of what we were doing, to keep up the good work, and that if their parents were alive today they would have been on our side of the road]
Out-of-towners rally against ‘militia’
By Stefanie Wallace, The Sachem
June 26, 2009
Over 70 people from Hamilton, Kitchener- Waterloo, Guelph, Toronto, Six Nations and the Haldimand-Norfolk area travelled to Cayuga on June 23 for a rally that started and ended just the way everyone hoped it would: as peacefully as possible.
“This is the most organized, prepared rally I’ve ever seen,” one OPP officer joked as the group of protesters handed out bottled water and snacks to one another.
The rally, which was initiated by the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group, and organized by Tom Keefer, was to protest the formation and the first meeting of what Gary McHale and Doug Fleming originally called the Caledonia Militia.
“The only way to get media attention in this country is to use a word like militia,” McHale said, explaining that the group he and Fleming formed will now be known as the Caledonia Peacekeepers.
The Caledonia Peacekeepers will protect citizens by using unarmed force to remove trespassers from private property.
Fleming said the group was only meant to help the situation, not make it worse.
Across the street from the Cayuga Lions Club Hall, protesters flooded the street chanting, “Go away, KKK,” and waving signs and banners that read, “With 6 Nations Against Racism” and “Canadians say NO to Anti-Native Vigilantes.”
“The Caledonia Militia, or Peacekeepers, and Gary McHale are strongly supported by openly Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups,” said Niki Thorne, a protester from Hamilton.
“This militia isn’t good for either Caledonia or Six Nations, so we’re calling for the Canadian government to resolve land claims fairly, swiftly and peacefully.”
McHale said that he has openly denounced support from Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.
“The fact is that there has been an armed militia in Haldimand County for the past three years … a group of people who go around wearing masks, carrying baseball bats … who believe they are above the law,” McHale said, referring to the Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire, a group that was involved in the land occupation and road blockades.
The formation of the Caledonia Peacekeepers group is not supported by the OPP.
“The OPP has been acting to preserve the peace, maintain public safety and investigate criminal wrongdoing. That’s what we have been doing and will continue to do so,” commented OPP Constable Paula Wright. “The formation of a militia will benefit no one.”