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Protest in support of aboriginal women stops Via Rail service


By QNet News Staff [6]

MARYSVILLE – Chanting and beating a drum as they burned ceremonial tobacco, protesters continued to block southern Ontario’s main east-west train line Wednesday morning.

The protesters on Wyman Road between here and Shannonville are calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The blockade stopped Via Rail trains from running between Toronto and Montreal and Toronto and Ottawa. Freight trains were also stopped.

“We’re not here to make anyone’s day worse. We’re trying to call attention to a serious issue,” said one protester, who said her name was Courtney and refused to give her last name.

Via Rail [7]is using buses to transport passengers on the busy routes. About 3,000 passengers have been affected, Via Rail spokesman Jacques Gagnon told QNet News:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/untitled-audio-project-1106am.mp3 [8]


Gagnon said Via Rail is not able to ask for an injunction to stop the demonstration since Canadian National, not Via, owns the rail line.

Shortly before noon there were about 50 people at the scene, most of them women.

“We’re not protesters. We’re supporters,” one woman, who refused to give her name, told QNet News.

“Those are our sisters, our aunts, our mothers,” another said of the aboriginal women who have gone missing:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Marysville-protester.mp3 [9]


This is the second blockade in the area this month. The first, which started March 2 and blocked Shannonville Road for several days, was led by Tyendinaga Mohawk  Shawn Brant [10]. He and two other men were arrested and charged when police eventually broke up the blockade.

The protesters have told reporters that Brant is not involved in Wednesday’s blockade.

According to the Napanee OPP, the protesters set up the blockade of the CN Rail crossing at Wyman Road in Tyendinaga Township at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The OPP, CN police and Tyendinaga Police “are monitoring the situation,” the Napanee OPP said.

Highway 2 [11] is still open to traffic, they said.

The Belleville Via Rail station [12] was open Wednesday morning, but there were no would-be passengers or people waiting for trains. A Via worker told QNet News she was not permitted to talk about the service disruption.

Katie Coleman, Amanda Lorbetski, Suzanne Coolen, Katy Burley, Riley Maracle, Morgan Davy and Dillan Cools contributed to this report.



Storify: Blockade stops Via Rail trains [13]

Blockade in Tyendinaga [14]

Grandmothers to join Tyendinaga protests [15]