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Old 09-25-2006, 05:34 AM   #1
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Rally plan stirs fears of violence in Caledonia

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Rally plan stirs fears of violence in Caledonia

Sep. 23, 2006. 11:12 AM
CHINTA PUXLEY
CANADIAN PRESS

Six Nations protestors are calling on the province to stop a rally they say
could spark a "volatile situation" on the former housing development that
aboriginals have occupied in Caledonia since February.
A couple from Richmond Hill who founded the group, Caledonia Wake Up Call,
is organizing a rally for Oct. 15 on the disputed land saying the public has a
right to use government property.
The group has asked the province, which bought the former housing
development site and put it in trust while negotiations with the protestors continue,
to sanction the rally.
But Hazel Hill, spokeswoman for the aboriginal occupiers, said the governing
Liberals need to step in and stop the rally before it creates a "volatile
situation."
"They have to deal with it," she said. "This isn't public land ... . It's
not optional to have rallies. It will incite problems."
Residents of the town, just south of Hamilton, and aboriginals have clashed
several times since the occupation began more than six months ago. Six
Nations protestors say they won't leave until the land they say was taken illegally
from them more than 200 years ago is returned.
Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainer is concerned the rally could be another
flashpoint for confrontation.
"It wouldn't be a very good scene," she said. "You're going to get one
hothead on one side and another hothead on the other side. If they tangle, we're
all in trouble."
Gary McHale isn't backing down. The computer programmer, who is organizing
the rally with his wife, said he isn't trying to incite violence.
The rally is meant to highlight the fact that aboriginal people are getting
preferential treatment from police who have allowed the occupation to
continue, McHale said.
"There is nothing special about this land," he said. "It's not an army base
... it's just standard government land and we can walk on ... government
land."
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