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Friday, January 11, 2013
Idle No More protests held across Canada via New Age Of Activism Top 12 and Beyond: Winona LaDuke
As members of the federal government and First Nations community meet behind closed doors today, demonstrators marched in communities across Canada in support of the Idle No More movement, echoing calls from of a hunger striking Ontario chief for indigenous sovereignty.
Hundreds of chanting demonstrators marched on a rainy Parliament Hill this afternoon, waving flags and briefly blocking the main entrance to the Prime Minister's Office.
Chief Bob Gloade said the blockade of trains that travel through the reserve's land was planned for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m AT.
Questions lingered ahead of the meeting over which First Nations chiefs would meet with Harper after the Governor General said he would not be there as the Crown's representative.
A meeting between First Nations Chiefs and Gov. Gen. David Johnston was scheduled for later on Friday.
Demonstrations across country
The nationwide demonstrations are attempting to bring more attention to changes to Bill C-45, the Conservative government's controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affects First Nations communities.
The Idle No More movement has said the bill erodes the rights of native people. First Nations leaders say there has been a lack of consultation on changes to environmental protection regulations.
Supporters of the movement protested in Charlottetown, Winnipeg and Calgary, as well as several other major cities across Canada.
The largest crowds outside of Ottawa seemed to be in Montreal where more than 400 people showed up for a protest near the Palais des Congrès, a convention centre downtown.
In Halifax 300 people reportedly gathered in a historic square near city hall.
Around 150 people came out to the University of Windsor's student centre in southern Ontario for a peaceful demonstration.
Idle No More participants said they planned to target the Ambassador Bridge, the suspension bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit, Mich., next week but insisted it would "an economic slowdown" not be a blockade.
At the University of Calgary, a call for the repeal of Bill C-45 received cheers from demonstrators.
Protesters block the Canadian National rail line between Halifax and Truro in Nova Scotia as part of the Idle No More protests on Millbrook First Nation on Friday. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)
And in Vancouver, a crowd of less than a 100 organized at the Native Education College to march the two kilometres to city hall.
P.E.I. Mi'kmaq chiefs were expected for a flash mob at a Charlottetown mall later Friday afternoon organized by young band members
Other rallies planned across the Manitoba capital on Friday include demonstrations at the Canadian Mennonite University, the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Some aboriginal people were also being encouraged not to buy anything Friday, unless they do so on a reserve.
Bill 'affects every single Canadian'
The University of Winnipeg's Aboriginal Students Association has asked 1,200 aboriginal students to participate in that no-buying restriction, and is expected to hold a rally on campus Friday afternoon.
Carl Balan, who is organizing the Idle No More protest at the university, said the purpose is to educate people about how the new legislation could affect them.
"We're not doing this because it's an Indian thing. It affects every single Canadian," he told CBC News.
The Idle No More movement, which began in November and quickly spread across the country through rallies and social media, stemmed from discontent among First Nations people over the federal government's general stance on indigenous rights.
The movement says, on its Facebook page, it wants to "stop the Harper government from passing more laws and legislation that will further erode treaty and indigenous rights and the rights of all Canadians."