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Wonder Why There Were
“Politically Motivated” Arrests of Ottawa Activists?

Group Calls for Disclosure of the Reasons Why Opponents of the Security and Prosperity Partnership Were Targeted.

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2007

Ottawa – Yesterday, two local Ottawa opponents of the so-called “Security” and “Prosperity” “Partnership” (SPP) were arrested in a move clearly designed to intimidate resistance to the plan for deeper integration with the US war machine. In one week's time George W. Bush, Stephen Harper, Felipe Calderon, and 30 North American CEOs will meet to discuss the reshaping of North America on everything from food, water and energy, to security and war. They plan to do so without pubic consultations or consent. The two protesters, Dan Sawyer and Matt Morgan Brown, were arrested for no apparent reason other than their political views on the controversial and illegitimate SPP.

“Intimidation will not silence legitimate dissent against the SPP,” says Dylan Penner of ACT for the Earth. “Opponents of George Bush's pending visit to Canada are being targeted because of their political views, and we stand in solidarity with them against these politically motivated arrests.”

Several eyewitnesses to the arrest noted that the protest against Tom D'Aquino (the leading corporate proponent of the SPP) which drew about 60 people, had already ended. Twenty minutes after the conclusion of the protest, as Sawyer and Brown were walking home with others, police were observed to aggressively arrest them while refusing to state the reason for the arrests.

Sawyer and Brown were eventually released at 2:30am last night, after 30 people rallied in solidarity for over 4 hours at the police station where they were being held. Sawyer has been charged with assault on police, despite eyewitness accounts that it was actually the police that were aggressively pushing him during his arbitrary arrest. Both, Sawyer and Brown have been banned from protesting against the SPP and from associating with each other until their cases are resolved. These restrictions effectively squash their democratic rights of political expression and assembly, and not to be arbitrarily arrested, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The two plan to fight the conditions in court.

“We denounce the harassment, intimidation, and violence of the police,” says Francine Dumas of the Outaouais-Ottawa Stop the SPP Committee. “They also tried to arrest three other people right in front of me during the action.”

“Resistance is under attack,” says Penner. “Everyone across the country who is opposed to the agenda of George Bush and his corporate allies should raise their voice loudly against these arrests. This is a flagrant human rights violation.” ACT for the Earth is calling on concerned individuals and organizations to lodge complaints about these heavy handed tactics with the Ottawa Police and Mayor Larry O'Brien.

The SPP is a direct threat to democracy in Canada, the US, and Mexico, as it is a process led by corporate CEOs with no public participation. The upcoming meeting in Montebello, Quebec will be heavily militarized in an attempt to prevent anyone from getting close to where the “leaders” summit will take place. Despite our government's attempts to criminalize our resistance to their non-democratic agenda, ACT for the Earth will be participating in the protests in Ottawa and Montebello to stop the SPP alongside dozens of other organizations.

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For More Information:

Dylan Penner, ACT for the Earth, 613-859-6996

Francine Dumas, Outaouais-Ottawa Stop the SPP Committee, 819-643-4155

ACT for the Earth is encouraging the media as well as concerned individuals and organizations to ask why these arrests took place:

Professional Standards Section of the Ottawa Police Service: 613-236-1222, ext. 5830

Activist/Community Liaison Team of the Ottawa Police Service: 613-236-1222, ext. 6368

Ottawa Police Services Board
110 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Fax: (613) 580-2728
Email: Lynn.Kennedy@ottawa.ca

Mayor Larry O'Brien
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1
Phone: 613-580-2496
Fax: 613-580-2509
E-mail: Larry.OBrien@ottawa.ca

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