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Tensions flare after injunction granted against demonstrators in Ont. Indigenous land dispute

Click to play video: 'Premier Doug Ford says he will not tolerate violence amid Indigenous land dispute in Caledonia' Premier Doug Ford says he will not tolerate violence amid Indigenous land dispute in Caledonia
WATCH: Premier Doug Ford says he will not tolerate violence amid Indigenous land dispute in Caledonia – Oct 23, 2020

An Ontario judge has ordered demonstrators to permanently leave a construction site at the centre of an Indigenous land dispute.

Justice John Harper says he was issuing a permanent injunction after hearing arguments from Haldimand County and Foxgate Developments in the legal battle over the McKenzie Meadows housing development.

Demonstrators argue that the development near Caledonia, Ont., and Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation is on unceded Indigenous land.

Read more: Supporters of Caledonia land defenders gather in Toronto

Protesters have been occupying the site for months, and provincial police say 33 people have been arrested to date in relation to the demonstration.

On Thursday following the ruling, Ontario Provincial Police said that its cruisers were approached by protesters and “heavily damaged.”

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OPP Const. Rod LeClair said that fires containing tires had been lit in the area as well.

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Demonstrators said on Twitter that police fired rubber bullets. The OPP said “appropriate non-lethal force” was used and no one was injured.

The demonstrators declined an interview request from Global News.

A temporary injunction order was granted in August and Harper says it will remain in place until the permanent order is signed.

Read more: More arrests made by OPP as Six Nations group continues to occupy Caledonia residential development

Harper also ruled that Skyler Williams, a man named on the August injunction, could not represent himself in court or present constitutional arguments in the case because he and others were in contempt of the court’s orders.

Williams said he has no plans to leave the site, even though the injunction is now permanent.

“Our children, and our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, they have an inherent right to this land here and so anything that the courts or the cops could do to me is nothing compared to the loss of those rights,” he told reporters.

—With files from Alanna Rizza and Lisa Polewski, Global News

 

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