Sûreté du Québec officers arrested and incarcerated 28 Algonquins November 24 near Twin Rapids, Quebec. The Algonquins were part of a logging blockade that saw two sawmills near Val d’Or and Malartic shut down for lack of wood. Algonquin leaders said they were only hours away from resolving the issue when the arrests took place. They say Domtar refused to wait for the solution to the long-running dispute.
Quebec’s special Riot Task Force charged a crowd of women and beat them with batons while the Algonquin men were trapped by the police behind a barricade, said members of the Lac Simon and Long Point First Nations. The few men who managed to intervene were quickly subdued in the same way.
The Chiefs of the two communities were released November 28.
“In all my years of negotiating arrangements between governments and aboriginal communities, I have never seen such an unnecessary and irresponsible provocation by a multinational corporation,” said Peter Politis, Lead Negotiator for the Algonquins.
The violence aggravates an already tense situation.
“Eventually people just become tired of being pushed around,” said one outraged community member, Bear McMartin. “First we will free our women. Then we will regroup and put an end to this once and for all.”
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine and Quebec Regional Chief Ghislain Picard have offered any assistance that would help bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.