Volume 94, Issue 4

Friday, June 9, 2000


NEWS

All's quiet on the Windsor front

Coroner releases rave report

USC to branch out with for-profit arm

Police stand-off ends in tragedy

Walking to find a cure for diabetes

Prelude to an election

Protestors clash with the pepper spray

A world without the Hart House

Corroded Disorder

All's quiet on the Windsor front



By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff



WINDSOR – Weeks of worry and preparation appeared all for naught, after the general assembly of the Organization of American States passed relatively peacefully in Windsor this week.

While similar protests in Seattle, Washington and Washington, D.C. saw violent demonstrations, protesters in Windsor remained largely subdued.

Officials in Windsor prepared for potential confrontation by erecting concrete and metal fencing in a two block radius around the general assembly's meetings at the Cleary International Centre.

A police force consisting of officers from branches of the Windsor, Ontario Provincial and Royal Canadian Mounted Police were also on hand to keep the peace. While police officials refused to confirm how many officers in total were on hand, the combined police force was rumored to total 4,000.

Deny Tessier, a spokesperson for the OAS and Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, said Windsor did an admirable job of hosting the event. "I think these were one of the best general assemblies we've ever had," he said.

With the disruption kept to a minimum, the OAS was able to discuss several important issues, including the recent election controversy in Peru, Tessier explained.

"The main resolution of these meetings was to send a committee on behalf of the president and secretary general of the OAS to Peru to look into the democratic processes and election procedures there," Tessier said. "Also, foreign ministers were able to meet with non-governmental officials at these meetings and discuss various issues."

Tessier added the meetings with the NGOs were important in ensuring all voices and interests were considered by the OAS.

Staff Sgt. David Rossell of the Windsor Police said approximately 60 protesters were arrested or detained over the three days. Most were arrested for breaching the peace, he said.

Rossell added many protesters could have been charged with mischief, but very few charges were laid and most of those detained, were released after a short time.

Despite objections from demonstrators, Rossell defended the actions of police officers in dealing with protesters who acted inappropriately. "They took appropriate action at appropriate times," he said.

Rossell added the police were trained to be level-headed in dealing with the sometimes rowdy demonstrators. Police officers were taunted and provoked but remained calm, he explained. "We went in with a great deal of patience," he added.

Jaggi Singh, a spokesperson for the OAS shutdown coalition, said the protests were great for Windsor. Singh estimated 1,000 protesters from the shutdown coalition had been present, with about 4,000 protesters in total, including other groups.

Singh said he felt police and law enforcement officers had taken unnecessary action in apprehending protesters. He said the demonstrators remained largely civil and peaceful.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000