Canada: First Nations protests could target 2010 Olympics

First Nations activists could target the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for protests similar to the pro-Tibetan demonstrations surrounding the upcoming Games in Beijing, warned Phil Fontaine, chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations. Speaking in Ottawa, Fontaine said Native leaders could follow the lead of pro-Tibet groups who have repeatedly disrupted the torch relay for the Summer Games. “We find the Tibetan situation compelling,” he said.

Fontaine sees a parallel between the situation faced by Tibetans in China and First Nations in Canada. “We’re ignored. Our proposals are dismissed. They’re not taken seriously. Our efforts to establish a healthy respectful relationship with this government obviously are not compelling enough.”

Fontaine called for national protests across Canada on May 29 to press aboriginal issues, such as poverty and land claim disputes. He said a similar day of action last June, involving rallies and protests across the country, was a great success. (CBC, April 17)

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