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article imagePolice serve injunction on Guelph activists Special

By Stephanie Dearing     Jul 31, 2009 in Environment
Guelph, ON - While the protesters have dug in in a bid to protect an old growth forest from Guelph's soon-to-be-constructed expansion of the Hanlon Creek Business Park, an injunction warning the group to not block work was served this afternoon.
As I neared the city-owned property where a group of protesters have stopped construction in a bid to protect the old growth forest that exists on the property, as well as the Jefferson Salamander and Western Chorus Frog, I noticed signs posted up on the roadside. Just outside the old farm entrance that leads to the current construction site, the signs invite people to join in, and remind passersby what the protest is about;
Drawing near to the laneway, I saw that the protesters had erected a bit of shelter for people manning the entrance. Turning into the lane, I was greeted by at least six people.
Protester manning blockade
A protester passes the time by playing guitar at the entrance to the construction site.
Stephanie Dearing
Heading back to the main camp, I couldn't help but notice the new fortification the protesters had added to the road - the trench. A smaller trench had been dug a few yards further from this large one.
Trench
The bigger trench dug by the protesters in preparation for attempts to evict them.
Stephanie Dearing
As I approached the camp site, I noticed a more substantial roof had been erected to shelter the 'kitchen' area, and two women were working together cutting wood there. I wanted to take some pictures, but I also wanted to be updated on what had been happening since Tuesday morning. I found one of the media liaisons, Will, talking with a group of five or six people, while just beyond approximately 20 people were participating in a musical jam session around the old fire pit On Tuesday morning, there had been an air of peacefulness to the camp, with the protesters relaxed and friendly. This afternoon, there was a distinct air of tension enveloping the camp, and the protesters seemed tired and wary.
Signs
A few of the signs put up by protesters wanting to save the old growth forest.
Stephanie Dearing
Will had just informed me that a notice of trespass had been served on the group but the eviction, supposed to have taken place yesterday afternoon, did not occur, when suddenly several protesters came running from the Hanlon highway, where they had been keeping watch. They had seen one police cruiser pull up, and weren't sure if there were more police to come. The fellow on his shift at the watch tower kept his field glasses focused intently on that area.
Climbing the watch tower
A protester climbs the watch tower to take a turn keeping watch.
Stephanie Dearing
The news of a police presence threw the camp into tension and excitement, the musicians abandoning their instruments, while the main group of protesters drew together in a group, milling about discussing what might be going on and what steps they might take. They agreed that a small group of people would meet the police at the roadway and the rest of the group would stay at the camp. Just then, a woman who had taken charge of communicating with the outlying protesters announced that the police were now at the Downey Road entrance serving an injunction. I followed a small group to the entrance. One woman had a video camera and camera to document the proceedings. The police were already gone by the time I got to the entrance. Several protesters were holding book-sized injunctions.
The protesters were surprised to see that a local group, LIMITS, had been cited as defendants in the injunction. The group that took over the construction site Monday has been saying that they are not affiliated with any formal groups. I was looking at the injunction with one of the protesters, when the other media liaison, Sam, asked me to leave, saying the group needed time to consider this latest action.
The injunction
Part of the injunction served on the environmental activists today.
Stephanie Dearing
Once back in the city proper, I was able to obtain a little more information from one of the main local media sources. According to the Guelph Mercury, the protesters were ordered to move off the property late Wednesday with the notice of trespass. The trespassers were asked to move off the construction site, and were invited to continue their protest on the same land (just not at the construction site) near the corner of Laird and Downey Roads. The trespass notice gave the group 24 hours to move off the site. Anticipating action to be taken against them, the protesters had arranged for some media to be present yesterday afternoon.
A rally is slated to be held on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm on the construction site. The group welcomes anyone who would like to participate.
More about Hanlon creek business, Protesters, Jefferson salamander, Guelph
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