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In Ottawa, Thousands of #IdleNoMore And Allied Protesters Demand Real Change (PHOTOS)

by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive | Jan 11, 2013 7.00 PM EST

#IdleNoMore’s show of people-power forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stay for entire five hours of meeting with First Nations leaders.

IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 16 In Ottawa, Thousands of #IdleNoMore And Allied Protesters Demand Real Change (PHOTOS)

#IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 1

More than five thousand #IdleNoMore protesters gathered in Ottawa today as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and First Nations leaders held a closed-door  meeting in the capital. The protesters first gathered outside the Langevin Block, the official home of the prime minister’s office and venue of the controversial meeting. They chanted songs, drummed and waved banners, before moving to the central block of Parliament Hill for speeches.

Idle No More protesters and their allies also held rallies across Canada, from Toronto to Montreal, Vancouver to Fredericton, Halifax to Whitehorse, Yellowknife to Winnipeg. APTN National News reports that “there were over 200 Idle No More related events around the world, from London, England, to Texas, to New Zealand.”

According to the CBC News, Montreal had the largest crowd outside of Ottawa, with a gathering of about 1,000 protesters near the Palais des Congrès. (More from the CBC’s coverage of the protests here)

A majority of the speakers in Ottawa expressed solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence and other chiefs from Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territory, who boycotted the meeting demanding the attendance of Governor General David Johnston, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo attended the meeting with a delegation of about 16 chiefs.

Chief Spence, who is Day 31 of her indefinite hunger strike, has reportedly drawn up her will and is prepared for death unless there is real progress.

The impact of the peaceful protests was instant. Harper has reportedly agreed to attend the five-hour meeting. Initially, he had said he’d only attend the first half-hour, disappear and return to receive a summary of the discussions.

Earlier,  Naomi Klein argued that “Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger speaks to all of us.” The internationally acclaimed Canadian author and social activist posted this on Twitter today.

Below are few photos from the protest. (See more photos here)

IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 5 In Ottawa, Thousands of #IdleNoMore And Allied Protesters Demand Real Change (PHOTOS)

#IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 2

 

IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 18 In Ottawa, Thousands of #IdleNoMore And Allied Protesters Demand Real Change (PHOTOS)

#IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 3

 

IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 2 In Ottawa, Thousands of #IdleNoMore And Allied Protesters Demand Real Change (PHOTOS)

#IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic 4

 

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About

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger. He's the founder and publisher of The Canadian Progressive blog and numerous other online publications.

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