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BOLIVIA: Local Indigenous Leaders Beaten and Publicly Humiliated

Bolivia may have its first-ever indigenous president, but racism is alive and well in this country, as demonstrated by the public humiliation of a group of around 50 indigenous mayors, town councillors and community leaders in the south-central city of Sucre.

Update from Quinte Regional Detention Centre

(Wednesday, May 28, 2008) Yesterday, Shawn Brant was put on 23 hour-a-day lock-down, for a 12-day period.

This is punishment for what Detention Centre officials term “a misconduct”. In this case, the misconduct consisted of Shawn burning sage in his cell.

While regular Chapel services and bible study are available, and the med cart rolls around three times daily, Aboriginal inmates are all but denied access to their religious practice and medicine.

In the five weeks that Shawn has been at the Detention Centre, he has been permitted yard time to conduct ceremony only three times.

Frustrated by the seeming lack of interest by the institution to support a regularized program that would observe the cultural and religious rights of Aboriginal inmates, Shawn notified prison staff that he would undertake to perform the ceremony in his cell.

Shortly thereafter, he was brought before a Lieutenant, who informed him that he had no rights while inside, and who termed the burning of sage as a health and safety issue.

- Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Lovelace Appeal


FREE AT LAST: Robert Lovelace & the KI 6 set free!

To the elation of over a hundred jubilant supporters and after over three months behind bars, Robert Lovelace & the KI 6 walked free from the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, May 27th at Osgoode Hall, in Toronto. Extensive media were present inside and outside of court to report on the event.

The sentences for the seven protesters, all guilty of non-violent protests to protect their respective homelands, were reduced to “time served.” As well, the fines were “stayed” and, as with the former decision, no reasons were given. The panel of three judges presiding over the appeal requested our patience, stating that because the case was very complicated, their reasons would be released at a later date.

An officer guarding Robert asked the judges, “Does this mean that Robert is free to leave from the courtroom?” One of the judges confirmed that, “Yes ” he was free to go. The guard and Robert threw their arms around each other, as the guard congratulated him. The packed courtroom had, by then, erupted into cheers of joy.

When asked by a reporter if he had any comment, Mr. Smitheman, lawyer for Frontenac Ventures, said, “Ahhhhh, NO” and walked from the courtroom.

As with the first court session in Kingston, the courtroom was changed due to the public’s demand to witness the proceedings. “One of the numerous questions that the judges raised throughout the day was, “What had been the precedent for such lengthy jail terms and heavy fines?” said Donna Dillman of the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium. “The judges were informed that other protestors had been sentenced to a week or two, and that this sentence and these fines were, themselves, precedent setting.”

At the outset, Smitheman reported that he would be arguing the appeal against the AAFN, but not against KI. While the lawyer for Ontario defended their position during the previous court cases, they chose not to argue the appeal.

The celebration continued at Queen’s Park where, on Monday, tents and teepees had been set up for an ongoing protest. Hundreds of supporters joined in the festivities.

A second round of contempt of court charges will be heard in Kingston on June 2nd against the Shabot Obaajiwan and Ardoch Algonquin. The more recent charges against 6 non-natives were dropped as of Monday, May 26th.

Lynn Daniluk 613-267-0539
Donna Dillman 416-274-9980

Chevron’s proifits shadowed by human rights complaints

Despite higher profits on record oil prices, the board of directors at Chevron Corp, the No. 2 US petroleum producer, was lambasted at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

Monbiot attempts citizen’s arrest of John Bolton

Security guards blocked the path of columnist and activist George Monbiot, who tried to make the arrest as Mr Bolton left the stage.
The former ambassador – a key advisor to President George W Bush who argued strongly in favour of invading Iraq – had been giving a talk on international relations to more than 600 people at the literary festival.

BHP Says Labor, Tool Shortages Strain Olympic Dam

“The expansion will increase the mine’s copper output fourfold to 730,000 metric tons a year, boost gold production eightfold and uranium by almost fivefold, according to company forecasts. Creating an open pit mine will require the removal of about 1 million tons of earth every day for four years, according to the South Australian government”.

Peacekeepers raping children

‘Children as young as six are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers, says a leading UK charity. “They grabbed me and threw me to the ground and they forced themselves on me… I tried to escape but there were 10 of them and I could do nothing,” she said.’

Tutu: Gaza blockade abomination

“Speaking at the end of a two day mission to the area, the former archbishop said the humanitarian situation there could not be justified.”

Building its Ties to Colombia: Canada’s Imperial Adventure in the Andes

On May 5th, 2008 Canada’s Trade Minister, David Emerson, proudly declared that Canada is “very close” to concluding free trade negotiations with Colombia. According to Foreign Affairs officials, a deal could be reached in a few short months, meaning that Canada would complete its free trade agreement with Colombia before the United States completes its own deal with the Andean country. In the U.S., Bush faces strong Congressional opposition to such a partnership.