Statement from Chantal Godin - Victim of Police Brutality at #ACT07
Below is a statement from Chantal Godin - the female demonstrator who was singled out, assaulted, cuffed and ticketed at our demonstration this last Sunday. We are putting this statement up here in solidarity with Chantal and to remind everyone that this campaign is critical of police and the role of policing and that we will ALWAYS support demonstrators who face police violence.
I was the women assaulted and handcuffed by the two Niagara police officers at the closing day demo at Marineland. There seems to be a lot of confusion seeing how only the end of the incident was captured on film. Basically, after ushering people to come into the park, people began to flood the dolphin show at which time we decided to go back and encourage more people to jump the gates. In the process of jumping back over the fence, I felt someone grab hold of me and push me down. Not knowing who was assaulting me, I swung my arm to free myself from this person. Once I saw it was the female police officer, I became extremely upset with the amount of unnecessary force she used, and began shouting at her telling her not to touch me, and asking her why she’s going after me while there were over a hundred protesters actually in the park protesting the show. I believe this is where my frustration escalated and the cursing came in. The “macho” stereotypical male cop then intervened, by randomly manhandling me, and pushing me backwards (which as you can see I deflected and pushed back), after which he smirked and walked away before returning to cuff my hands. I don’t feel such force was necessary, and I will not stand for that shit. Just because I am young, and just because I am a women does not give any police officer the right to treat me with such disrespect. They were extremely aggressive with me up until he whispered to her “you’re being filmed,” and after that her entire demeanor changed and she eventually released me (after bringing me to her cruiser at the front of the park) with a fine of 65$ for trespassing. I will be fighting this fine and I will most definitely be taking action. I felt violated and completely singled out. I do not regret this, as I feel my actions were necessary in the face of such injustice at Marineland. I believe the arrest was only to intimidate, or make some futile example and I was the scapegoat. Either way, this asshole of a cop will be dealt with, that I can promise. Thank you for the support as it has uplifted me a great deal and I hope this energy and passion is sustained and that we have this much strength for the opening day demo ! (Hopefully the place has been shut down by then)
You can expect a flood of posts today as we update folks on what happened last weekend and we reveal what we have planned moving forward.
First, a quick demonstration run down. The demonstration count from M.A.D. is 700 people, with hundreds of those people jumping the turnstiles and shutting down the last dolphin show of the year. This was not part of the demonstration schedule, but an organic expression of righteous anger. Out of this only one demonstrator was ticketed with trespass, a female demonstrator who was singled out and assaulted by Niagara Regional Police officer Alex Rivet as well as NRP Officer L. Bittman #8393. You can see that video here. We fully support Chantal, the demonstrator who was assaulted, and we will be releasing a statement from here later today.
Aside from this, we completed our entire demonstration schedule with performances from Arianna Gillis, Meghan Connolly, Heather Janssen and Spandy Andy, as well as speakers Phil Demers, Cheri DiNovo and Ric O'Barry. We are still working on compiling the best video’s - but if you look right now you will find that patched together the entire demonstration was filmed! A huge heart felt thank you goes out to everyone who spoke and performed. It was their words and performances that inspired us to act.
By now most have seen photo of video footage of hundreds of activists storming Marineland to shut down the dolphin show. Some things we would like to make clear
This was not an organized part of our demonstration but it is something we wholeheartedly support.
At no time were any children or park goers in jeopardy. Video footage is the best document of this.
No one paid to enter this park - again check the video.
Trespass requests were not actually made until re inforcements came from the NRP. Video footage attests to this and also shows demonstrators leaving - this is why there were no mass trespass tickets/arrests.
The noise of the demonstration is a concern, but worth noting that the level was nowhere near performance level in an auditorium with cheering fans and a massive sound system.
Photo and video of the demonstration have made their way across the world in the last two days - and media coverage has also been international. Without question this was the most powerful demonstration that many had ever experienced in their entire lives. Some will smear this demonstration, but it’s always important to ask - were you there?
Aside from this - we have some important updates to get out. Our bus organizing took a hit on the day of the demonstration, however, with over 100 people registering in total a lot of people simply did not show for buses. For those who pre-registered buses were purchased based upon those registrations. When people do not show it means that MAD has to make up that difference. Our total costs for buses nears $1400 and our total amount raised from buses was only $300. We expected to cover half of the bus cost, but are now well below that. We have had two gracious donors step up and they are willing to match donations to cover buses up to $350 til next Friday! That means for every dollar you donated up to $350 it will be doubled! You can paypal or e-transer for email@example.com to donate!
For everyone new to this campaign the best ways to stay in touch is to follow our facebook social media pages - main page -group page - twitter and also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and join our mailing list! Our main facebook page is updated the most frequently - but also linked with our twitter. Our facebook group page ensures that you get automatic invites to our events and is generally more of a discussion space for members. We’d also urge everyone to stay up to date with what is going on with our campaign hub - Niagara Animal Defense League- and come out and support our fellow working groups and campaigns!
Hey all, the much awaited bus information is below. We we will be sending buses from Toronto and London and they will be stopping in Kitchener/Waterloo, Hamilton and St. Catharines on there way. Our apologies to those who registered from Kingston. Our bus costs would have doubled and unfortunately we did not have enough registrations to warrant that. That said, we do now have some space opened up on the Toronto bus so if you missed our registration deadline get in touch asap! Bus schedules below. Buses leave 15 minutes after time posted. Both buses will depart from the site at 3pm. If you have any other questions or concerns about the bus contact email@example.com
London (White Oaks Mall) - 7:15 am
Kitchener/Waterloo (Kitchener City Hall - Duke St W.) - 8:50 am
Hamilton (Food Basics Parking Lot - Barton and Mary) - 9:50 am
Niagara Falls (Marineland) - 11:15 am
Toronto (Keele Station) - 9:15 am
St. Catharines (Rexall Pharmacy 258 Lake St.) - 10:35 am
For #ThrowbackThursday we want to recognize one of the amazing artists that have performed at MAD demos. Today we spotlight Ariana Gillis. On Closing Day, October 2012, Ariana performed one of her songs titled “The Cove” after seeing the movie in 2010.
With 5 days left til the demonstration we wanted to share the song “Call of the Wild” that Meghan Connelly will be performing on site. It’s meant to be sung together - so do your best to learn the lyrics!
The Bus Registration Closes on Saturday Sept 29th (Midnight)
Hey all, just a note tonight that we will be closing registration for buses this Saturday (Sept 29th) at Midnight. Based on those numbers we will be ordering buses on Monday and hope to announce bus locations/times on Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to everyone who has register thus far and everyone who has been promoting the closing day demonstration. We are doing our best to make this demonstration as accessible as possible and get as many people involved as we can. If you haven’t registered yet you can below.
This Sunday October 7th we will observe Marineland’s Closing Day. This campaign has opened and closed with Marineland for the past two years and we are calling on you to help us close this year in a big way. We need all hands, all voices, all people on board. If you can make it out to our demonstration and join us along with Ric O'Barry, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, Phil Demers and many others - then please do! If you can’t please do your best to observe Oct 7th in your own way. We need bloggers, we need shares, we need tweets, we need emails, and so much more! Below are some action suggestions for next Sunday.
- Hold a screening in your town. Screen “The Cove,” “Sharkwater,” or any documentaries that educate the public on the plight of marine mammals.
- Hold a fundraiser in your town for Marineland Animal Defense - vegan bake sale, lemonade stand, garage sale, etc.
- If you are anywhere near a marine park - organize a demonstration! If not, set up an outreach table in your town in a busy area and educate the public about captivity.
- If you are a blogger - reach out to Marineland Animal Defense for an interview and post that interview or commentary on Oct 7th encourage others to share.
- If you use social media do your best to share photos, video, information on all of your networks. If you are on twitter and/or tumblr be sure to use the hashtag #ACT07
- Email or Fax Libby Davies and Fin Donnelly urging them to present a motion to close the wild capture loophole and cc your local MP. Also, email Dalton McGuinty urging him to introduce strict regulations with the option of park closure and cc your local MPP.
- Sign the Change.org Marineland petition if you haven’t already and urge others to do the same!
MOST IMPORTANTLY - NEVER GIVE UP! This campaign is a pressure campaign dedicated to increasing it’s opposition to John Holer and Marineland. In order to do that - we need you to dedicate yourselves to following this issue through til the end. On Oct 7th make that pledge.
#ACT07 Update / Call in to Madeleine Meilleur and More!
We have a lot to update on since our last mail out!
First, the first day back on the job after our #ACT07 demonstration Liberal MPP Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced that the following day she would be holding a conference announcing new changes to the OSPCA Act. On wednesday she held that conference and announce what was a watered down and toothless version of the motion NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo had planned on revealing that same week - removing a stance against wild capture and also the ability to close parks that do not comply - while also promoting captive animal businesses as educational (including Marineland). Unfortunately many members of the press were not critical of this maneuver and hailed it as sign of progress. We immediately countered with a press statement outlining how this was a move to actually protect and strengthen Marineland and how these proposed changes will most likely never materialize with this currently Liberal Provincial Minority. Aside from this we have announced that next Monday we are going all out to call / fax / email Madeleine Meilleur’s Toronto Office to send a strong message that we will not be ignored and that wild capture language MUST be a part of any new legislation introduced. You can find the event page and details for that event below. Please RSVP/SHARE/INVITE and REPEAT! We are already near the 200 mark - let’s keep pushing! Call in poster is attached with details as well - feel free to share!
We have more demonstrations and plans to roll out very shortly so in the meantime we ask for people to be patient. We welcome suggestions - but more than that we welcome people dedicated themselves, joining our working group and regularly attending meetings! In the meantime we also ask that people join the Marineland Animal Defense facebook group. Even if you set your notifications off being in this group will ensure that you get an automatic invite to any and all M.A.D. actions/events, etc.
Last but not least we wanted to update people on our bus donations. We put the call out earlier this week that we were $1100 short on our bus costs and that two people had stepped up to match donations up to $350 dollars by this last Friday. The response? Overwhelming! We’ve raised clear over that $1100 mark and appreciate everyone who gave!