Another blockade has been constructed on a major route in Caledonia amid a land dispute related to a controversial residential development.
In a tweet posted on Monday afternoon, the group from Six Nations that has been occupying the McKenzie Road construction site posted that the blockade is a response to the attempted arrest of ‘an unarmed Land Defender who was out getting groceries’.
“One of our young men had guns drawn on him at the grocery store,” said Skyler Williams, speaking on behalf of the 1492 Land Back Lane group on Monday afternoon. “And so now Argyle Street will be closed between Sixth Line and Highway 6 bypass for 24 hours.”
Argyle Street between 6th Line and Highway 6 will be blocked for 24 hours following the recent attempted arrests of an unarmed Land Defender who was out getting groceries pic.twitter.com/C2aYbHQwYM
— #1492LandBackLane (@1492LBL) October 5, 2020
The group has been occupying the site since mid-July, saying it’s unceded Haudenosaunee territory.
OPP also confirmed the road closure in a tweet posted shortly after 5 p.m., saying Argyle Street is closed between Highway 6 and Braemar Avenue for a ‘demonstration’.
Shortly before the blockade was announced on Twitter, OPP issued a media release about an attempted arrest related to the Superior court injunction that was granted to Foxgate Developments in July.
In that incident, police say the person who they were attempting to arrest outside of a retail store on Garner Road in Ancaster took off in a vehicle, hitting two other vehicles.
“As uniform OPP officers approached, the individual entered the driver’s seat of a vehicle, struck a police cruiser and a citizen’s vehicle before fleeing the area,” read the OPP release.
No one was injured.
In an email to Global News, OPP Const. Rodney LeClair said police were attempting to arrest the person on charges related to the McKenzie Road injunction, but did not release further details on other possible charges.
“I’m not able to provide any more information on the individual nor the charges they are facing,” wrote LeClair. “We have identified them and will continue to investigate.”
Two injunctions are currently in place in Caledonia — one that prohibits people from being on the development site on McKenzie Road, and another that prohibits anyone from establishing road blockades in Haldimand County.
Williams said Monday’s blockade is a response to OPP engaging in an ‘escalation of tactics’.
“This is the means that they have to settle land claims,” said Williams. “If there’s enough of us put in jail, if there’s enough of us under the weight of heavy bail and release conditions, there’s nobody left to fight for the land.”
“When you pull out weapons on our people — certainly going to get groceries with their girlfriend — that’s going to spark a reaction from our community.”
The injunction related to 1492 Land Back Lane, which names Williams as a defendant, will be back in court on Oct. 9.
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