Ryan Rainville - an Indigenous Rights activist from the Sakimay nation - has been behind bars since August 5, 2010, for his alleged involvement in the G20 Summit protests. That's 83 days and counting.
He was re-arrested on August 5, 2010 - and remains incarcerated since that date - for his alleged G20 involvement on charges of 1) Assault Peace Officer with a Weapon, 2) Mischief Over, 3) Intimidation of Justice System Participant by Violence, 4) Failure to Comply with Undertaking.
Waterloo Regional Police, working in collaboration with officers from the Toronto Police Service, arrived where Rainville's was currently staying in Waterloo on August 5, 2010 to re-arrest the Indigenous Rights activist. He was out on bail at the time for other G20 related charges after originally spending six days in jail. At his arrest, he was taken to 52 Division and is now charged with causing mischief over $5000 and for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
On Tuesday October 26, 2010, Ryan Rainville returned to an Ontario Superior Court to argue for his release on bail. He had already been denied bail once before in September.
The Judge adjourned the application for Rainville to be released to a First Nations Bail Program citing 'inadequate supervision'. In considering Ryan's bail application, the judge also did not take into account Gladue factors, which forces the judicial system to consider the systemic marginalization and over-incarceration of Indigenous people as
result of colonialism and poverty.
According to Indigenous supporters of Rainville, "Ryan has been strong in his denouncements of injustice and has spoken out without fear. He is honest, humble and respectful toward his family and people around him. He has also honoured his role as a man in the community by standing beside Indigenous women when we needed support.
A press release yesterday stated, "As native people, our bodies and our minds are constantly under attack from the state. Their power rests on our degradation, and their violent exploitation of the land and water feeds and profits the colonization of every poor and oppressed person. There is nothing new or unusual about Indigenous people - whether Haudenoshonee or Mapuche, Anishinaabe or Palestinian - being targeted, violated and locked up under racist, classist and sexist guises of "law and order" or 'justice'.
We denounce the ongoing state repression of all people resisting the austerity measures which are designed to force our relations, friends and allies into enslavement to a faltering system, to assimilate those of us coerced into submission, and exterminate those of us who refuse to bend to colonial terms. Freedom for all prisoners and detainees, including the Tamil women and children still held behind the walls of a detention centre, and who are now subjected to the same four walls which face Ryan."
Ryan Rainville appears in court again on Thursday November 4, 2010, at 9:30 am at 361
University Avenue. His supporters are requesting people to attend court on Thursday morning to show their support for Ryan and for all who are being targeted by the state.
I remember my thoughts as I started covering the grim G20 related arrests as I noticed a pattern emerging where the government - through the court system - was targeting Indigenous rights activists. I brought this pattern to Harsha Walia's attention hoping it was not true but knowing that it was. As I see now, my theory seems to unfortunately be playing out.
As actions speak louder that words, we see the state adjourn the application for Rainville to be released to a First Nations Bail Program citing 'inadequate supervision'. And also in the refusal to take into account Gladue factors for his trial. [For more information on Gladue court, please see this link.]
"While targeting strong voices of dissent is part of the state's desired culture of fear, the repression and attempted silencing of Indigenous resistance is part of the ongoing legacy of criminalization and colonization for 500 years across Turtle Island."
Through the media and the Toronto G20 Investigative Unit's G20 Most Wanted lists, I agree that, "his ongoing incarceration is justified by characterizations of him as a so-called dangerous person, rather than as one who views defending the land and confronting colonialism perpetuated by G20 policies as an inherent right and responsibility."
"It is a travesty that Ryan, as an Indigenous man deeply committed to protecting the land, has been targeted by the G20 security apparatus. This is part of the ongoing criminalization of Indigenous people who challenge the dominant assumption that land is to be exploited for profit," says Indigenous sovereigntist, Jen Meunier.
I challenge everyone reading this, I ask all my relations in the spirit of: "If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us", to not forget Ryan Rainville's name. They cannot jail our hearts.
Please see this empowering article: Why activism matters to me as a First Nation person. "As an outspoken activist, I'm often confronted with the question by people from a multitude of backgrounds, as well as my fellow First Nation people: why do I feel the need to talk about, speak about, and write about activism and political and social justice."
I ask all my relations: Rise up like a pack of wolves. Rise up.
Fundraising request: There is an urgent need for defence-related funds for Ryan by next week.
You can mail cheques to: No One Is Illegal-Toronto, 90C Beverley Street,Toronto, M5T 1Y1. Please be sure to indicate "Ryan Rainville" in the memo.
You can also make a secure donation online through Paypal on the No One Is Illegal-Toronto website (http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org) Please be sure to send an email to [email protected] and let us know you havedonated and what amount.
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