The next major round of trade talks start on Friday. Trade ministers from 34 countries and the CEOs of majorcorporations will descend on Quebec City to negotiate the Free Trade Area of the Americas. While they arenegotiating in secret, thousands of people will demonstrate in the streets, accompanied by the largest Canadiansecurity operation in history.
A recent article in the Financial Times reads:
“The most elaborate internal security operation in Canadian history is being launched ahead of the Summit of theAmericas.
“Police are being drafted in from across Canada, while work is almost complete on a 4 km chain link fence embedded inconcrete to keep delegates and protesters apart. A jail is to be cleared in case of mass arrests.
“The summit’s organizers are determined to prevent demonstrations by anti-globalization protesters from bringing thesummit to a standstill, as they did at the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999.
“Canadian police have held talks with counterparts from all those cities who have witnessed anti-globalizationprotests. “Seattle is the prime example of what can go wrong,” said Julie Brongel of the Royal Canadian MountedPolice. “Protesters were very efficient at stopping the movement of dignitaries.”
“The police mobilization will involve more than 5,000 officers from four forces: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,or Mounties; the Quebec provincial police; and municipal police from Quebec City and from neighboring Sainte-Foy.”
Canadian security forces have already cracked down on protesters. Many U.S. citizens have been turned away from theborder in past weeks.
The increased security has prompted new alliances. Tomorrow, hundreds of activists will travel to Akwesasne, theMohawk land which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border at the town of Corneal. There they will be met by a group oftraditional Mohawks who are also opposing the FTAA. The Mohawks will accompany the protesters to the border in asolidarity march.
- John Boots, life-long resident of Akwesasne.
- Brian Skitters, on the Traditional Mohawk Council.