Protesters decry Hamilton police after arrest connected to Pride violence
Cedar Hopperton, 33, arrested Saturday for violating parole
A crowd of protesters set off fireworks and forcefully condemned police as they marched through Hamilton Saturday evening, after cops arrested an LGTBQ person in relation to a violent confrontation at the Pride festival last weekend.
Hamilton Police say they arrested anarchist and activist Cedar Hopperton Saturday morning for allegedly violating parole during the confrontation at Pride in Gage Park.
Hopperton was found guilty last year of being a "ringleader" in the Locke Street vandalism spree by anarchists opposing gentrification. Hopperton violated parole when the incident at Pride turned into "a public demonstration where peace was disrupted," police said in a statement.
Police said they expect to make more arrests as their investigation continues.
Protesters Saturday evening were angry that Hopperton — a member of the queer community — was the first person to be arrested after the incident, saying they were trying to defend people during the confrontation.
Large crowd outside police station in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a> tonight for protest after arrest of Cedar Hopperton. Hopperton was arrested for violating parole during confrontation at Pride last weekend, in which several people were injured. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCHamilton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCHamilton</a> <a href="https://t.co/xl4HGeNgQG">pic.twitter.com/xl4HGeNgQG</a>—@LauraHowellsNL
The Pride confrontation included religious protesters bearing huge anti-LGBTQ signs. Investigators have suggested that people associated with the weekly yellow vest protests at city hall may have been involved.
Fireworks outside jail
About 100 people gathered in front of police headquarters Saturday evening, yelling "queers fight back" — among other anti-police chants — in front of line of several officers.
The crowd made its way to Barton Street jail, where Hopperton is being held, setting off several fireworks on the way and outside the building.
Several fireworks set off outside Barton jail. Protesters angry at police response to violence at Pride, some say queer people like Hopperton being targeted. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCHamilton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCHamilton</a> <a href="https://t.co/tP6EDIuhnK">pic.twitter.com/tP6EDIuhnK</a>—@LauraHowellsNL
"Cedar [Hopperton] was doing your job at Pride," said one sign at the protest.
"Stop arresting queers," said another.
Pride Hamilton has said police took "far too long" to respond last weekend and that the confrontation could have been prevented.
The demonstration was organized by the Tower, a local anarchist collective.
"Police are criminalizing and arresting queers for defending themselves and their communities," said the event description on Facebook.
Hopperton was trying to defend people in the queer community during Pride, said Bronwyn Frisen, who says she witnessed the violence.
"It's really frustrating to see that somebody who was helping last weekend is now in prison," said Harjot Atwal, who was not at Pride but wanted to support Hopperton.
"Whereas fascists who were attacking individuals who were at this Pride celebration are free and doing the same amount of harm now in Toronto, or wherever else they are."
Hopperton was arrested Saturday morning at an anti-hate rally outside city hall.
At a community meeting after the Pride confrontation, Hopperton said police target queer people and told them to "get the f-ck out."