Blockade ends in Attawapiskat – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 25, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

ATTAWAPISKAT – A peaceful resolution has been reached in Attawapiskat as the blockade to the Victor diamond mine was taken down by demonstrators late Friday night.

A large number of provincial police officers were on their way to the blockade to enforce a judge’s order to have the barricades removed but no formal action by police was required as the barricade was no longer in place, Const. Marc Depatie, communications officer with the provincial police in South Porcupine, told The Daily Press Sunday.

“The protestors appear to have voluntarily complied with the Superior Court Order without further incident.”

Depatie said “teams of officers” were deployed from detachments throughout the region from Hearst south to Black River-Matheson. There was also an emergency response team that was deployed from Thunder Bay. Unconfirmed reports from Attawapiskat indicated there were about 40 Ontario Provincial Police officers in the area.

The OPP will remain in the area, continuing to patrol the ice road to ensure access to the Victor mine remains open, Depatie said. When asked about the voluntary removal of the barricades by the demonstrators, Depatie noted, “The judge was rather direct and articulate when he handed down his instructions” to police and “what the inevitable outcome would be if the protesters persisted with the blockade.”

At a hearing held in Timmins Friday, Judge Robert Riopelle warned the blockaders that police would be directed to lay charges and arrest those responsible.

“Thankfully, a peaceful resolution was reached without any formal action by police,” Depatie said.

Tom Ormsby, director of external and corporate affairs for De Beers Canada, told The Daily Press transport trucks began on Saturday morning to move materials to the mine using the newly re-opened ice road.

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