First Nations rail blockade and protest to expand to Sault Ste Marie

A First Nations CN rail blockade near Sault Ste Marie in northern Ontario is set to begin Thursday, joining the blockade taking place in Sarnia.

A Facebook event page invites the public to join members of the Garden River and Batchewana First Nations in a peaceful protest at a lumber yard west of the city.

An organizer of the protest says demonstrators will also march to the edge of the city, slowing down traffic and handing out flyers.

The planned blockade follows the ongoing demonstration at a CN Rail line in Sarnia.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike since December 11 in an effort to draw attention to Aboriginal issues.

Spence has said she will not stop the strike until she gets to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Organizers with the rail blockade say they will continue to protest until Harper meets with Spence. Police have an injunction in place to break up the protest, but have previously said they would not interfere as long as it remains peaceful.

Several politicians have been calling on Harper to meet with Spence.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau visited Spence in a teepee on an island in the Ottawa River that many Aboriginals consider to be sacred land.

Trudeau Tweeted afterward that it was “deeply moving” to meet her.

Meanwhile, in a letter posted to his website, Liberal Leadership Candidate Marc Garneau called on Harper to meet with Spence.

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