Volume 92, Issue 84

Tuesday, March 9, 1999


Concerns amended

Protesters' tour warns of decline

Playboy goes academic

Athletics fee reduction requested to even levels

Study explores reasons for students' alcoholic excess


Click your way to the end of the semester

Caught on campus

Protesters' tour warns of decline

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

As the controversy over protests of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit in 1997 continues, protesters are warning democracy in Canada is dangerously disappearing.

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe and Garth Mullins, members of Democracy Street, a group representing APEC protesters who have sued the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were recently at King's College as part of a fund-raising tour entitled "sprAyPEC, Globalization and Democracy."

Painting a bleak picture of government attempts to silence dissension and political activism, Mullins and Westergard-Thorpe described the events which occurred during their protest of the APEC summit at the University of British Columbia in 1997.

"People were physically punished simply for being there. I was pepper-sprayed, strip searched, arrested and detained for about 12 hours," Westergard-Thorpe said. "Everything we're asking for is so basic – the ability to assemble and speak our minds without getting arrested. We need to make sure we get what we're owed," she added.

Westergard-Thorpe said a formal inquiry is currently being reviewed by the Public Complaints Commission and will probably not finish until October, after which the trial against the RCMP and the Prime Minister's Office will begin. "We're going to subpoena every Liberal bastard we can and they know it," Mullins said.

Russ Grabb, APEC spokesperson for the RCMP, said the RCMP was looking forward to a quick end to the inquiry and was confident they would come out on top. "We believe that at the end of the day we will be the beneficiary of the truth coming out," he said.

Although much of their talk centred around the APEC lawsuit, Westergard-Thorpe and Mullins also spoke out against consumerism, saying the government is leaning more and more towards big business.

"We've learned one good lesson from this – militancy pays," Mullins said. He added political protests are not the only way to take a stand. "If we choose to use our actions at the point of consumption, we're using it at our weakest," he added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999