Local anarchist denied bail in Locke Street vandalism case

A local anarchist charged in connection with a march and flurry of property damage on Locke Street has been denied bail.
Cedar Hopperton, whose legal name is Peter Hopperton, is charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence around a Locke Street anarchist demonstration last month. (@OliverioCarmela/Twitter)

A local anarchist charged in connection with a march and flurry of property damage on Locke Street has been denied bail.

Cedar Hopperton, whose legal name is Peter Hopperton, will remain behind bars on a charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. The 31-year-old will appear in court again on April 24.

Justice of the Peace Barbara Waugh denied Hopperton's release at the John Sopinka Courthouse Tuesday.

The bail hearing took most of the day, with about 30 supporters filling the courtroom gallery. Some wore buttons supporting common social justice causes. 

Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella of Hamilton Police Service held a press conference after Hopperton's arrest. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

One woman, who is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World general defence committee, traveled from Toronto to support Hopperton. She wouldn't give her name "for obvious reasons," but said she worried the arrest will chill activism.

"As someone who occasionally runs events, I am very concerned that this could lead to getting dragged out of bed in the middle of the night by a SWAT team."

The March 3 demonstration caused thousands of dollars in damage to stores and vehicles in the tony Locke Street area.

Around 10 p.m., about 30 people dressed in black and covered their faces, some carrying a banner that said "We are ungovernable." They set off fireworks and threw rocks through store windows, police said. It drew widespread anger, with Hamilton city councillors calling the vandalism "an act of terrorism."

Police investigated a link between an Anarchist Book Fair at nearby Westdale Secondary School. The event was organized by The Tower, an anarchist-friendly social space. Police said after the April 6 arrest that Hopperton operates The Tower

The vandalism and thousands in property damage on Locke Street inspired a day MPP Andrea Horwath dubbed Love Locke Day. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Officers arrested Hopperton at a home near Cannon and Hess Streets Friday. A post on The Tower Facebook page said it happened early Friday morning.

"The door was kicked in, a flash grenade was thrown into the house, and a full SWAT team entered," the post says.

"Cedar, a member of The Tower Collective and our cherished friend, was arrested, taken away, and currently remains in custody."

This isn't Hopperton's first time in court. The Hamilton resident was also arrested during the G20 protests in 2010 and pleaded guilty to one count of counselling mischief.

Hopperton sat quietly in the prisoner's box Tuesday, feet shackled. The activist wore a hoodie, striped shirt, skirt and burgundy nailpolish, and at one point put hand to heart and smiled as a friend passed the prisoner's box.

When Hopperton left the courtroom, the supporters applauded, waved and cheered.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca