Friday, May 6, 2011
The Glimpse of a Police State in Kingston
Quite an ordeal in Kingston on Friday and a real eye opener.
We knew that Stephen Harper would be attending a rally at 1:30 at a local restaurant. So wanting to be early, my husband and I decided that we would have lunch there and that way possibly be inside.
We arrived about 11:45 but there was already a heavy RCMP presence and they had the sniffer dog combing the bushes. We waited a bit to see if there would be protesters. I knew the Prison Farm supporters were attending but not sure where they would be setting up.
I saw a small crowd gathering at the back of the lot, so while my husband waited in the car, I went over to see where they were from. It was the prison guard union. They plunked a sign in my hand and before I knew it I was marching. But mostly I just spoke with them. Imagine a group of prison guards marching against the injustice of Harper toward inmates?
My husband soon joined us, along with not only a large Prison Farm contingent, but youth groups, pensioners, the Native community and many ordinary citizens.
We were soon told that we would not be allowed on the lot. Big problem. Our car was there and my husband had locked my purse in the trunk. We asked if we could move the car (the lot was still just about half full and Harper not due to arrive for at least a half hour), and the police officer said that we could, but then we'd be charged with trespassing.
We were told we'd have to wait until the event was over.
As it was approaching 2:30 we grew concerned. The disabled grandson we are raising would be home at 3:30 and someone had to be there to take him off the bus. No cell phone and the protest was so noisy you'd have to move away from it to be heard.
So we approached a police officer, just to see if they'd let me get my purse. Again he said be my guest, but as soon as you set one foot on the lot you'll be arrested for trespassing. I explained the problem and he smiled and said I should have thought of that before I parked on private property.
I told him that we often eat at that restaurant and if they just got someone from inside, I'm sure they'd recognize us. He again just smirked.
So my husband ended up walking home (took him 45 minutes) and then took a cab back to get me.
The officer in the photo at the top was the worst. He warned us about crossing a line (an imaginary line). One woman asked where the line was and he said never mind where it is, but if you cross it you'll be arrested.
Jeff Peters, one of the organizers of the Prison Farm protest group, was walking along the curb with a megaphone, but he lost his footing on the curb and literally fell over the line. The police officers grabbed him, threw him across the car and arrested him on the spot. For falling.
Another man crossed the line (I didn't see where), and another arrest. For crossing an imaginary line.
Welcome to the new Canada.