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Camper has a better understanding of Pinery Park protest following weekend visit

A trailer blocks the entrance to Pinery Provincial Park on March 21, 2018. Jake Jeffrey / 980 CFPL

A London-area man who spent the weekend camping at Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend says he walked away from the experience with a changed mind about aboriginal protesters who are camped out at the park’s front entrance.

Brandon Brockman told 980 CFPL he initially didn’t think the protest was appropriate, but after speaking with demonstrator Jesse Oliver, he had a better understanding of where they’re coming from.

READ MORE: ‘We’re here to stay’: land claim demonstration resumes at Pinery Provincial Park

“People shouldn’t be afraid of going up, go and use the park, enjoy it as you would,” said Brockman.

“Maybe when you’re at the park, spend some time and find out why these people are upset and what their history is about, just like I did. For me, it was a really insightful experience.”

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“I was concerned and annoyed because I didn’t think what they were doing was appropriate and I certainly didn’t want to walk into a situation which was violent or could escalate,” said Brockman, who adds there was no issue when they entered the park Friday evening.

READ MORE: Protest keeps Pinery Provincial Park closed to public

The group has been stationed at the gates to the park since early last week, as they try to raise awareness about their claim to the land, which they say dates back to the War of 1812.

Brockman says there weren’t any issues over the weekend, and he saw two or three other groups camping at the park.

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