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News ::
Montreal: Action in solidarity with Palestine
18 Apr 2002
This morning in Montreal, Canada, the office of Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler was occupied, in protest of the Canada's support of Israeli aggression. (article 3)
This morning at about 11:00 seven pro-palestinian activists began an occupation of the office of Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler. They entered the office and within minutes had locked themselves in a conference room, and immediately began hanging a banner out the window that read "Canada Supports Israeli Violations of Palestinian Human Rights". Within 15 minutes 3 Montreal Police patrol cars arrived. Over the next hour and a half, various other police units arrived, including constables, the riot squad, the tactical squad, the RCMP and a few undercover agents. At about 12:30 the riot squad entered the building. About 20 minutes later people outside the building heard the sound of a door being knocked down. All seven activists were arrested and, according to the police media spokesman, will be charged with "assault by trespass".

During the occupation, a crowd gathered outside on Victoria Avenue. Many passers by were supportive of the action, although there was loud group Zionists, including members of B'nai Brith. They yelled such things as, "Go blow yourself up", "All arabs should die!" and "Traitor!"--this last comment was directed at the Jewish spokesperson for the action.

The one arab activist involved in the action, was taken out of the building alone and last, and put in a separate police cruiser.

As of now, all seven activists are being held at Centre Operationel Nord.



Ce matin vers onze heures, sept militant-e-s pro-palestinien-ne-s ont commencé l'occupation du bureau du député fédéral Irwin Cotler. Vingt minutes après leur entrée, les portes d'une salle de conférence étaient verrouillées, et une bannière était suspendue par la fenetre et affichait le message "Le Canada appuie l'OCCUPATION israélienne de la Palestine". Quinze minutes plus tard, trois voitures de police de Montréal arrivaient sur les lieux. Au cours de l'heure et demie qui a suivi, plusieurs autres véhicules de police sont parvenus sur le site, dont l'escouade tactique, la GRC et des agents en civil. Autour de midi trente, l'escouade anti-émeute est entrée dans l'édifice. Vingt minutes plus tard, les gens sur la rue entendent le son d'une porte défoncée. Les sept militant-e-s furent arreté-e-s et, selon un porte-parole de la police, seront accusé-e-s d'"assaut par effraction".

La foule s'est rassemblée pendant l'occupation sur l'avenue Victoria. Bon nombre de passant-e-s appuyaient l'action, bien qu'on retrouvait un groupe bruyant de sionistes, dont des membres du B'nai Brith. Ils hurlaient des injures comme "Allez vous faire exploser!", "Les arabes devraient tous mourir" et "Traitre!", ce dernier commentaire étant destiné au porte-parole juif désigné pour l'action.

Le seul arabe qui participait à l'action a été emmené seul et en dernier par la police et placé dans un fourgon différent à son arrestation. Aux dernières nouvelles, sept personnes sont détenues au Centre opérationnel Nord.



Press Release from this morning -->

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday April 18, 2002

OFFICE OF MP COTLER OCCUPIED
IN PROTEST OF CANADA'S SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

We are a group of Montrealers who, spurred by the Israeli massacre in Jenin, have peacefully occupied Mont Royal MP Irwin Cotler's constituency office on Kent Avenue as of now. In the past few weeks, we participated in demonstrations protesting Israel's brutal measures against Palestinians, passed out petitions and donated to the victims of Israel's cruel invasion, hoping in the meanwhile that international intervention would finally erode the Israeli government's resolve to turn the lives of Palestinians into a nightmare. We watched on as the Jenin refugee camp was reduced to rubble over the heads of its inhabitants. We watched on as a callous army encircled what had become a tomb, refusing in contravention to
all international norms and standards of decency to allow humanitarian and medical aid entry into the camp. We have witnessed our government, a signatory to the 4th Geneva Convention, join the ranks of these soldiers with its refusal to condemn Israel's actions in the United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting last Monday. Canada's continuing diplomatic and economic ties with Israel suggest tolerance of Israel's war crimes, which NDP leader Alexa MacDonough has aptly referred to as state terrorism. Our government proved that its pledge to uphold justice and human rights is a hollow oath. History will record Canada as a silent, shameless accomplice to the unspeakable torture endured by the dead and maimed of
Jenin.

Israels occupation of Palestinian lands is illegal and
brutal

For the past thirty-five years, Israel has subjected the Palestinians to a notoriously brutal occupation. This occupation contravenes UN Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for the immediate withdrawal from all of the West Bank and Gaza. The Canadian government never ceased backing Israel throughout this period. Its support remained strong in the face of degradation, humiliation and unforgivable oppression of the Palestinian people and the expropriation of the lands for illegal Israeli settlements. The mild rebuke occasionally issued by this government towards Israel makes a mockery of the depth of the Palestinian people's suffering and the gravity of Israel's war crimes.

International community must act now

The principle that underlies our actions is elementary: the Israeli government will never respect the Palestinian people's right to live freely in their own land (as opposed to the Bantustan-styled formula offered to the Palestinians at Camp David) until the countries that are supportive of Israel clearly express that their support is contingent on Israel's withdrawal from all illegally-held occupied lands (West Bank and Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sheba'
farms).
We chose Mr. Cotler's office because Mr. Cotler embodies the hypocrisy of our government's policy towards the Israel/Palestine issue. Mr. Cotler is a renowned international human rights lawyer who pathologically ignores Israeli violations of Palestinian human and national rights, which are enshrined in the 4th Geneva Convention and countless UN resolutions. Indeed, Mr. Cotler, in his capacity as Member of Parliament, wishes to spare Israel even the mildest rebuke from the Canadian government (Suburban, April 3, 2002).
We are afraid that even as Israeli troops encircle Jenin, the cruelly spilt blood of the
Palestinians encircles our shores. We can no longer stand aside as the Canadian government supports a maddened Israeli state that seems bent on depriving both the Palestinians and the Israeli people from peace, which can only be founded on justice and accountability. We make the following demands:

1) That Mr. Cotler immediately condemn Israeli infringement of international law, particularly the latest incursions the West Bank that left in their wake hundreds of dead and thousands injured. We call on Mr. Cotler to denounce the illegal detention of thousands of Palestinians, many of whom undergo torture at the hands of the Shabak.
2) If Mr. Cotler insists on holding Israel above international norms, we demand that he resign his post.
3) That our government sever diplomatic and economic ties with the Israeli state pending its compliance with UN Security Council resolution 242.
4) That our government send immediate financial and humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of the West bank and Gaza.


Mr. Cotler's Office is at 4770 Kent Avenue Montreal,
Quebec, Canada