Friday, August 17, 2007

Que. protesters denounce CN lawsuit against Ont. Mohawks

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | 3:09 PM ET

CN Rail's multimillion dollar lawsuit against a group of eastern Ontario Mohawk protesters is racist and colonial, says a spokesman for protesters who demonstrated in Montreal Tuesday afternoon.

Jaggi Singh was among two dozen demonstrators affiliated with the People's Global Action speaking out against the lawsuits launched by CN after activists from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Deseronto, Ont., blocked the company's tracks on two occasions.

"Mohawk activists in Tyendinaga stood up for the rights of their land, quite legitimately," Jaggi Singh said to reporters at Montreal's Via station.

"As it happens, CN's rails go through their land, and yet it's the Mohawks who are being victimized, the Mohawks who are being criminalized."

Singh urged CN to drop the lawsuit, and said there will be more protests against the railway if it does not.

The protesters said the lawsuit is a deliberate attack on native communities.

The rail blockades in April and during the aboriginal day of action on June 29 were part of a continuing protest against the slow pace of land-claim negotiations between Mohawk leaders and the federal government concerning a parcel of land that the Mohawks say they never properly surrendered.

Among those named in CN's court actions is Shawn Brant, a frequent spokesman for the Tyendinaga protesters, who was denied bail on Friday.

He has been in custody on charges of mischief and breaching bail conditions since surrendering to police on July 5.