Two injured in violent protest in Caledonia

Hamilton Spectator
Dec 2, 2007

By Dana Brown

CALEDONIA - A protest over a native-operated smoke shack turned violent Saturday, injuring two men.

One of the men who injured was controversial figure Gary McHale, who has organized several protests in the town.

The protest yesterday, which started around 10 a.m., was not organized by McHale.

In a strongly worded press release yesterday, the OPP said the protestors were “taunting and provoking” others who were present.

At one point the OPP formed a line to separate the about 100 protestors and natives.

The protest was over a smoke shack which has recently opened up at the end of Argyle Street South, where the road meets Highway 6.

Protest organizer Doug Fleming contends the shack is not on land owned by Six Nations.

Six Nations says the land is theirs, as it falls into a claim to the roadbed for the former Plank Road.

The claim is one of several being discussed at on-going negotiations between the Ontario and Canadian governments and the Six Nations/Haudenosaunee.

It’s unclear what sparked the physical violence at the protest.

Organizers and natives each blocked Argyle Street with vehicles during the incident and ultimately,  Six Nations blocked the road with part of hydro tower.

The tower was dragged about half a kilometre down the road from the former Douglas Creek Estates, which Six Nations protectors have occupied since February 2006.

OPP subsequently blocked traffic down Argyle Street. The hydro  barrier was removed at 4 p.m., as promised earlier.

A lawyer for McHale said his client was treated for bruised ribs, face and foot injuries.

Later Saturday afternoon, OPP said charges related to the incident are pending but at that time, no one was in custody. No details were available about the second man’s injuries.

In a statement yesterday, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said the OPP will “seek every legal remedy possible to end this madness and to bring (protestors) to justice.”