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Swamp the Courts! Enviro activists gather for court support, Ezra Levant silliness and police brutality ensues

Today was quite eventful for anti-line 9 activists in Hamilton, Ontario. During the eviction of Swamp Line 9 many people were arrested and charged with mischief, trespassing and breaking and entering. Today was the first court appearance for some of these folks, and activists from across southern Ontario gathered in Hamilton to show support for them and protest the controversial Enbridge pipeline reversal that would ship tar sands diluted bitumen from Alberta.

At about 11am we gathered at the bus terminal downtown with friends, signs, drums…and Ezra Levant. Yes, our favorite right wing media nutjob Ezra Levant showed up and tried to interview the protestors about why we don’t support the pipeline, if we care about “freedom” and if we have ever protested Saudi oil. With all due respect, even by the lowest possible standards, this man is a terrible reporter. Most activists agreed not to talk to Sun Media as they have a reputation for distorting statements, putting words in people’s mouths and doing everything in their power to discredit anyone who even questions neoliberalism. Essentially, Ezra tries to make asses out of people by personally attacking those involved in social movements rather than giving constructive criticism, and in turn makes an ass of himself and his network. Good job, Ezra! Anyway, I personally chose not to talk to him at first, and had the pleasure of telling him to fuck off when he kept harassing me after not taking “no” for an answer. We marched to the courthouse with him following, and when we got there he just kept going at it…harassing people, following them around when he was told to leave them alone, and commenting on how great the pipeline is. Eventually, I got fed up and said “Ezra, let’s have a conversation. What do we do when the pipeline breaks? How are we going to deal with the environmental and community impact?” I was completely respectful, as I really did want to hear his answer. But of course, he dodged my question completely and just talked over me, asking me about Saudi oil and if I have ever protested it. At that point it was just us yelling at each other, because even when I tried to answer him he wouldn’t let me speak. At one point Ezra even accused Mike of being my “boss” because when it got heated he reminded me who I was attempting to talk with and I agreed to not waste my time anymore.

stopline92

So here it is Ezra, since you wouldn’t listen to me in person maybe you’ll take the time to read my answer. I am against the oil-dependent economy, and the co-dependency of social and environmental destruction with this economy. I fully understand, and I believe that I tackled this a bit in an earlier post, that oil companies provide jobs for people and these jobs are necessary for these workers to put food on their table. I get it. However, does this justify harm to the planet, to ecosystems, to First Nations communities, to any community? There is something seriously messed up with the system if you have to choose to survive or to cause harm. I’m sure you heard what happened with Kalamazoo in 2010. Line 9 is made of the same material as line 6B, and diluted bitumen is much more abrasive and viscous than regular crude oil. This means that it has to be mixed with a condensate to make it flow, and the Kalamazoo spill proved that these pipelines cannot handle diluted bitumen. Ezra, and others reading this, it isn’t a matter of IF the pipeline will rupture but a matter of WHEN and WHERE and HOW communities impacted by it will cope. In fact, because we are all biologically, chemically and atomically connected, if one ecosystem is negatively impacted then that basically means the whole world is or will be thrown off balance. The kalamazoo river is still dealing with the harmful consequences of line 6B. So tell me, Ezra, for I am dying to hear your answer…what do we do when this happens?

stopline93

We went into the court house around 1:30, and before then we saw a couple of our Hamilton friends get served tickets for blocking traffic during the march. Seriously? There must have been at least 40-50 people in the march (that’s a very rough estimate) so clearly the police just picked a handful of people they recognized after the fact. Also, we found it odd that the police wrote down our names and birth dates before they let us in the court house. I’ve never had that happen before. About half an hour to an hour in, a female activist (I’m not sure if she’s okay with me saying her name so I won’t) was escorted out of the courtroom by two male police officers and locked in a small room after apparently being disruptive (I personally didn’t notice anything). People then started chanting outside of the court room, “let her out!”. Eventually those of us still in the courtroom left and joined, because this is completely unbelievable and unacceptable for obvious reasons. I mean, if she was causing that much trouble, couldn’t they have given her a warning or just kicked her out of the building? That’s what happened to me actually, because when we were gathered outside of the courtroom a male police officer started shoving a woman in front of me. She asked him to stop and he wouldn’t, and was being very disrespectful towards her. That’s when I jumped in and told him not to touch someone without their consent, he said something nasty to me and kept doing it, and I then more aggressively told him to stop…I believe I said something along the lines of “stop that, you don’t fucking touch someone without their consent, asshole!”. I was then escorted out of the building and my friends and partner followed.

It seems as though telling off that police officer was what saved my friends, my partner and myself from getting arrested, because as soon as we got outside more people came out and said that about 8 had been arrested inside the courthouse…and violently too. Police cars started showing up and there was a heavy police presence out front. We will try to update on this accordingly, but we don’t have much information right now. Here is the latest media statement from our Swamp Line 9 sisters and brothers:

MEDIA ADVISORY
AUGUST 14, 2013
BREAKING NEWS: 8 PROTESTERS ARRESTED INSIDE HAMILTON COURT HOUSE

CONTACT: 1-226- 203 3034

(Hamilton, ON) — This afternoon Hamilton Police arrested 8 individuals at the Hamilton Court House, in the midst of the Swamp Line 9 Trespassing Hearing.

Many friends and allies attended the trespassing hearing, offering support to those arrested and charged on June 26th at the Swamp Line 9 Blockade, a blockade of Enbridge’s Westover site. Activists had been occupying an Enbridge pumping station north of Hamilton, Ontario. 18 protestors were arrested at the blockade, 13 of whom were on trial today. This action, dubbed Swamp Line 9, was aimed to prevent construction on Line 9 and block the transport of Tar Sands through Ontario and Quebec. This action is also part of the Idle No More campaign Sovereignty Summer.

During the hearing, supporters were applauding in a show of solidarity for their comrades on trial. After being told by the Judge to ‘stop clapping or everyone will be asked to leave the court room’, after awhile some supporters continued by snapping their fingers. Immediately following this, one female supporter was asked to leave for disrupting court. She was then removed from the courtroom, handcuffed, and taken into a “prosecution room” alone with two male officers. Protesters and supporters, concerned about her safety and well being, demanded she be released. Over 30 individuals crowded outside of the holding room chanting ‘Let Her Go!’ With almost as many police officers as protestors, the space erupted quickly. While cops began physically moving individuals and yelling threats, protestors began chanting ‘Cops, Pigs, Murderers!’ The police proceeded to mass arrest all those chanting or who wouldn’t clear the space immediately, citing the “public works protection act” (a law that was previously invoked in the arrest of over 1,000 people during the Toronto G20 protests) .

Currently 8 individuals have been arrested and are being held at the Hamilton Court House. Many of the officers employed pain compliance techniques to subdue those who were arrested. Onlookers watched horrified as protestors and supporters were thrown to the ground, dragged along the floor, shoved into walls, and kicked. The aggressive police response reveals an escalation in state violence directed at activists and land defenders.

News is developing. Stay posted for more information.

BACKGROUND
Press Statement on Injunction, June 25: http://swampline9.tumblr.com/post/53851715699/swamp-line-9-press-conference-statement
Media Advisory on Injunction: http://swampline9.tumblr.com/post/53838872671/swamp-line-9-locks-down-and-rallies-after-receiving
Solidarity Action in Support of Line 9: https://www.facebook.com/notes/swamp-line-9/update-swampline9-continues-support-actions-in-13-cities-sovsummer/191416174354528

UPDATES
www.facebook.com/SwampLine9

To all of the people facing charges from Swamp Line 9 as well as today, thank you for your strength and courage. Your committment is admirable and inspiring. Remember to let your comrades know what we can do to support you! And the line 9 saga continues…

In love and solidarity,
Bailey

stopline91

Comments

comments

17 Responses

  1. it’s funny, that you think I’m going to allow you to deface our website with lies and slander.

    September 21, 2013 at 10:24

  2. outburst? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA You’re funny. Anyway, I’ve really had enough of your juvenile tactics, such as saying I haven’t been answering your questions. Sorry, I didn’t answer one question you asked…oh no..You’ve not responded to any of my posts. You don’t see me complaining about it. Btw, I don’t have to answer to you. Nor do I have to allow any more of your abusive bullshit. Or plain and outright fabrication. Buh bye.

    September 16, 2013 at 22:00

  3. Colin

    So what you’re basically admitting is that it’s been hard for you to remain civil. People who use the F bomb and other words of the like show a lack of intelligence and vocabulary skills. You just epitomized that with your little outburst there. I stand by what I said and even if that is an opinion piece. He’s exactly right. What do you do for a living? You wouldn’t get paid by certain lobby groups to be a professional activist and protestor would you? I’m not getting paid for this. I just saw you and your activist buddies on Ezra and I find this all amusing actually. I do give you credit though for not censoring me. Again I ask if you’re so concerned and worried about our world why don’t you do something meaningful to help? You completely avoided that question the last time. What good are you doing by using the thuggish and juvenille “tactics” that you’ve used? Name one way you or your crony activist buddies have helped anything. How is behaving like little whiny children doing anything to help our world? All it does is make you and your buddies look like complete fools who have nothing better to do. This should be hilarious.

    September 14, 2013 at 16:27

  4. lol.. at least my link was to a credible unbiased reporter, not some neoliberal wannabe opinion hack. I honestly think some need to take their heads out of their ass when they call things thuggish, or violent. I don’t really think they understand the meaning of the words. You’re greatest source in this whole debate(i use that term laughingly) is an unedited opinion piece. Which is more just against certain tactics really, but in such a way as to degrade those who essentially want the same thing. I really can’t stand those types myself. Hypocrisy is quite unbecoming. anyway, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Mike’s not gonna like that, but I don’t think he’ll want me to take it down, considering how nice I’ve been so far. Anyway, you’re just coming off as a good little paid troll, who’s being paid to troll sites, with troll information, and steer conversations in troll directions. I’m not very fond of trolls. Ugly creatures they are. I much rather prefer libertarians. Even real liberals…But I digress. Ok, I love it when people like you bring up the whole, ‘aw, it’s nothing’ type arguments. Aamjiwnaang, Cancer, Abnormal Birth Rates, Systematic genocide, and apartheid. google it. Aamjiwnaang especially. It’s near sarnia. Ya know, just an hour and a bit east of where you live…

    September 14, 2013 at 01:56

  5. Colin

    The article you post a link to in the Free Press shows that the environmental impact from a spill such as that is negligible and the Exxon spill was an isolated incident years ago. Yes it hurt the environment and yes it can happen. Again though I ask you what good is just marching on the street, having useless laze-ins or breaking the law going to do to actually fix anything or change things. Nothing. If you guys care so much about the environment how about you volunteer to clean our parks or something that actually makes an impact. Then you won’t come off as self important hippies who have nothing better to do than get tattoos and piercings, grow facial hair, spew vulgarities and chant as a group. Here’s an article for you to read :

    http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4036382-credibility-gone-for-line-9-protesters/

    It even supports some of your arguments. You wonder why people don’t take you guys more seriously or give you more respect. You don’t deserve it when you act in this manner.

    September 12, 2013 at 18:45

  6. without incident for decades? what planet are you living on again? Oh, is that the one where you get to cherry pick your data, or flatout fabricate it?
    http://www.lfpress.com/2013/09/11/spill-shuts-down-wallaceburg-water-intake

    September 12, 2013 at 08:14

  7. apparently, you haven’t been reading the news. Your ignorance is showing once again. Use google ffs. “small potential environmental threat”? Tell that to those in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida(or any community that has suffered an oil spill. Or just go here and read.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill#Clean-up_and_environmental_impact
    Don’t you just hate those pesky things called facts. Small and potential are 2 words these communities will spit right back in your face.
    As for suddenly protesting pipelines, uh, ya, ok. There’s nothing sudden about it. I’m not going to recount every event we’ve ever attended that had to do with pipelines, because, well, that would be a lot of events.

    September 11, 2013 at 09:16

  8. Colin

    Again I repeat I was using the same tone taken in the article to describe anyone who dares disagree with you or see things differently as Ezra and myself do. I was mocking it. Use that as your excuse though. That’s fine if it works for you. There was plenty of substance in my post and again you choose not to reply because really you don’t know what to say back. You guys are hilarious lol :)

    September 8, 2013 at 16:31

  9. Colin

    Our rights and freedoms aren’t in jeopardy. Overtaking a public park and “occupying” it or blocking public streets while marching with signs is not exactly doing anything to help any of the things you claim you’re trying to protect or improve. There are plenty of better ways to be proactive about these things than what you guys do. Stomping your feet, shouting like whiny babies and breaking the laws will not accomplish anything. Again I ask why you suddenly protest the pipeline yet there have been pipelines running without incident underground for decades? You call me ignorant?

    September 8, 2013 at 16:27

  10. lol…ur funny. you should go get a job with your hero ezra. You’re not bring anything of substance, so I don’t really have to reply with anything of substance…get how that works?
    Remember how you started in here. hypocrite.
    “Good for Ezra for showing up to question you left wing nutjobs!”

    September 4, 2013 at 23:57

  11. Colin

    Well I’m glad I could bring you some amusement :) Hopefully I and the rest of us normal people continue to find laughter and amusement in all of you crazy hippie’s protests/sit ins/lazy fests etc. against the powers that be for whatever the trendy cause of the day is.

    September 3, 2013 at 19:37

  12. Colin

    You or whoever wrote the article used the exact same attack to describe those who lean towards the right wing of the political spectrum. I was mocking the term actually. You could care less about the rest of what I say because you don’t know what to say back. You guys don’t know the context of everything you’re pushing or fighting against or for either. Where is your proof that Mr. Levant is taking money from the oil companies? You don’t have any so it itself is just a baseless “ad hominem attack.” You guys are all about free speech supposedly. Then someone shows up who actually wants to ask you possibly tough questions and not just to pat you on the back and repeat the script of what your cause is and you suddenly go silent.

    September 3, 2013 at 19:25

  13. I’m soooooooo sorry. Ya see, I did this thing, called going on a vacation, so ya know, I wasn’t really going to do work, like dealing with the spam, and trolls such as yourself. VA-CA-TION. Anyway, you’re a funny troll.

    August 31, 2013 at 08:47

  14. Ya, ok. So basically, when you’re first sentence is an ad hominem attack, I really could care less about the rest of what you say. Ezra’s a damn fool who doesn’t really understand the context of the message he pushes, and quite frankly, you have to wonder about a guy who takes money from oil companies.

    August 31, 2013 at 08:44

  15. Colin

    Hmm a week later and my comment is still awaiting moderation? Could it be you supposed proponents of free speech are censoring someone who disagrees or doesn’t see things the way you see them? Huge hypocrites is all that you are.

    August 24, 2013 at 13:02

  16. LadyInRed

    Next time you run into Ezra – ask him how much money his ghostwriter got paid to write his books.

    August 18, 2013 at 19:55

  17. Colin

    Good for Ezra for showing up to question you left wing nutjobs! What do you guys do besides protest the next trendy cause of the day? There have been pipelines running through Canada for decades. You guys are fine with questioning authority but you can’t handle it when someone shows up to question you. What do you propose they do then? Just stop our economy in it’s tracks all because of some small potential environmental threat?

    August 17, 2013 at 12:44

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