[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Native Canadians fight eviction
Six Nations protester in Ontario
Some protesters on the site were prepared for confrontation
Indigenous Canadians occupying a construction site on land they claim as their own have rebuffed an overnight police attempt to force them out.

Protesters blocked an approach road to a half-finished housing project in Ontario, burning tyres as police moved in and made several arrests.

The group has occupied the land for 52 days, saying it was granted to native, or First Nation Canadians in 1784.

But officials say the site was ceded in 1841 to make way for a road.

Deputy Commissioner Maurice Pilon blamed protesters for agitating against police, saying "officers were required to use some force" in making a reported 16 arrests, Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper said.

Protesters blamed police for disrupting a peaceful occupation.

'Ready for more'

A judge granted an injunction in March to force the protesters off the land in Caledonia, about 110km (70 miles) from Toronto.

Authorities held talks with occupation leaders but those discussions broke down earlier this week.

A spokesman for the group, Janie Jamieson, said police used pepper sprays and dragged people from the tents where they slept.

"The OPP [police] has made the decision to break the peace, and that's what's happened," she said.

The protesters were ready to continue their occupation and expected another visit from the police, she added.

Mr Pilon insisted the police wanted to resolve the long-running dispute.

"We would ask everyone to work with us in restoring calm," he said.

"Violence is certainly not the answer."

Police said they had no immediate plans to return to the site.




SEE ALSO:
Totem returned to Canadian tribe
14 Mar 06 |  Americas
Abuse payout for native Canadians
23 Nov 05 |  Americas
Tribe halts killer whale rescue
19 Jun 04 |  Americas
Canada signs aboriginal land deal
26 Aug 03 |  Americas
Canada's troubled native children
31 Jul 02 |  Americas
Country profile: Canada
07 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific