O.P.P. officers arrested Gary McHale, who’s been labelled by some as an outsider whose only intention is to incite anger, when he approached the disputed territory, waving a Canadian flag. He was charged with breach of the peace, which is not a criminal offence.
Mark Vandermaas, of London, Ont., was also arrested. The Canadian flag he was waving was ripped in two during the scuffle.
McHale organized the protest in which demonstrators planned to hold up Canadian flags across from the disputed parcel of land. There was concern this demonstration , which was attended by about 100 people, would lead to violence and the Richmond Hill man raised similar fears in October when he held a similar rally, which descended into a two-hour standoff with police.
McHale said he organized the demonstrations because aboriginals are treated differently than other Canadians and are allowed to defy the law. He also claims the police are biased because they allow the native protesters to fly Six Nations flags, but don’t allow others to hoist the Canadian flag.
“(Police) have one set of policies for natives and another set of policies for non-natives,” he said.
“It’s against our Charter of Rights, that clearly says there’s not to be any discriminations based on their religion, beliefs, race or their skin colour.”
Police had warned McHale to tread carefully before his arrest Saturday and the province’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay also spoke out about the his plans to protest.
“I’ve now said that Mr. McHale’s plans were counterproductive and potentially dangerous to what we’ve been trying to do there, and that is to reach a peaceful settlement,” Ramsay said.
“I’ve twice now offered Mr. McHale the opportunity to protest at Queen’s Park. In fact, I said I would sponsor his rally and set up a platform and a microphone, a PA system for him.”
The aboriginal protesters have occupied the site in Caledonia since last February and claim the land rightfully belongs to them.
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