The fight by the ruling class and the right wing media to have the Occupy protests in Canada forcibly removed has just been presented with a new obstacle. A groups of lawyers in Ontario have filed a complaint with the United Nations on behalf of the Occupy movements claiming that the move to evict them and prevent them from protesting is a violation of human rights. In the submission to the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Law Union of Ontario is saying that forcing the protesters out is violating the right to freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly.
Howard Morton, a Toronto criminal lawyer who helped file the complaint made this statement:
“We think it’s a worthwhile thing to do… We find that it does offend the conventions on human rights – we are a signatory to those and we should be seeking judgement with respect to contraventions of them.”
The Law Union of Ontario also made this public statement:
“…actions of government officials and police in seeking to remove Occupy movement protests from Canadian municipalities indicate a widespread disregard for fundamental freedoms.
In these municipalities, government officials seek to elevate the need to enforce municipal bylaws related to park use and maintenance above fundamental civil and political rights…. Municipal bylaw enforcement does not constitute legitimate justification for violations of the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, peaceful assembly and association in international human rights law.”
The first Canadian city to forcibly remove legitimate protesters from peacefully protesting was London, Ontario. At midnight on November 9th government forces moved in and tore down tents that had been housing protesters, destroying personal property.
Two days later government forces tore down the Occupy encampment in Halifax arresting 14 people for practising their democratic right to protest. Also Vancouver and Victoria have obtained eviction orders in court to have people removed on the filmiest of pretexts. An order was obtained in Vancouver because a woman overdosed in the street. Apparently the government is unaware that there are many overdoses a day on Vancouver streets which does have a high drug problem. There has yet to be a ruling in Ontario where Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is claiming removing the protesters is necessary to weatherize the parks sprinkler system. A move that could easily be done without halting a legal protest.
The right wing media has gone on a blitz of stating outright lies and make anti-democratic, pro-fascist tirades. In the Toronto Sun alone journalist Joe Warmington on Thursday accused Margaret Atwood, noted Canadian feminist and author of being a Marxist. He’s also claimed on several occasions that the protesters are “rebranded-Marxists”, a term he has entirely invented himself. Warmington and others have just made outright slanderous statements calling Occupiers criminals.
The view that legitimate peaceful protest is a crime shows the inherent fascist nature of the right wing agenda. Our democratic rights are under severe attack from the ruling class and its servants in the right wing. If merely protesting an injustice is considered a crime, we can only imagine how they would perceive an actual threat to their power.
“Some inconvenience to local park users is a small price to pay for the larger price being paid by the 99 per cent worldwide in the face of an economic system that privileges the few over the many, with disastrous environmental and social impacts.”
– The Law Union of Ontario