Teepee removed after police arrest protesters at 'justice' camp near Sask. Legislature
Province posted eviction notices at camp 2 weeks ago
On Monday, police arrested six people from the teepee near the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina.
Hours later the teepee — the only remaining part of the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp — was dismantled by authorities.
"We've just watched the most important people in camp be hauled away. Some of them violently," said camp supporter Robyn Pitawanakwat as people were taken into custody.
"It symbolizes that we are still the least important thing for government, that to have a Canada celebration without Indigenous poverty in people's faces is more important than to actually deal with Indigenous poverty and Indigenous issues in general."
The protesters set up in the park 111 days ago, after Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier were acquitted in the Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine murder trials, respectively.
The province issued an eviction notice to the activists two weeks ago. On Friday, tents and other property that surrounded the teepee were dismantled.
Koch said the plan was to have Wascana Centre Authority employees take down the teepee once the fire went out.
Koch said he couldn't speak to how others were feeling or how this might affect relationships between police and Indigenous people.
He said what happened Monday was a joint operation between the Wascana Centre Authority, the Provincial Capital Commission and police.
No charges had been laid as of Monday afternoon, but police will be investigating.
"I think it's an emotional time," he said.
"It's not fun for the police service; it's not fun for the campers."
After the eviction notices were posted, campers said what they wanted most was for government officials to meet with them at the camp.
Justice Minister Don Morgan said he supported the decision to have the camp torn down, but is open to having discussions with the protesters.
"The park is not intended for overnight camping," he said.
Another man removed and placed in handcuffs. It seems everyone in the teepee is being placed under arrest, although police not have explicitly said that. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/vqGBmLOWY8">pic.twitter.com/vqGBmLOWY8</a>—@__stephaniejane
Pitawanakwat said it was a reoccurring issue in which officials would come to the camp without warning.
"They would wait until we weren't all here. They would wait until our elder wasn't here, and then they would pop into camp and now they're claiming those were meetings. Those were never meetings."
With files from Stephanie Taylor