National Chief Statement on potential illegal protests on June 29th



    OTTAWA, June 27 /CNW Telbec/ - I am aware of public statements in recent
days about intentions to disrupt traffic during the National day of Action in
support of First Nations on June 29th. While these comments have been widely
reported they are isolated comments and do not reflect the position of the
Assembly of First Nations, or the many First Nations across the country, who
have organized peaceful and positive events that are inclusive of all
Canadians.
    The real story here is not about conflict. It is about the many events
that are taking place across the country which, combined, make for one of the
largest rallies ever held in Canada. The real story here is that we have an
unprecedented critical mass of support for justice and fairness for First
Nations. We have already received pledges of participation from various
organizations, corporations, unions, church groups, and ordinary Canadians.
    We respectfully urge Canadians not to criminalize First Nations people
with respect to the actions they plan to take on June 29th and beyond. Our
people do have a right to protest, as do all Canadians. The Assembly of First
Nations has never resorted to illegal activities, or anything beyond the rule
of law, to advance the causes of FN people.
    We understand the frustration that exists among too many of our people.
Our objective in organizing the National Day of Action is to provide a
positive channel for that energy. We invite all Canadians to stand with us in
support of a better life for First Nations and a stronger country for all
Canadians.
    In recent weeks, the AFN has met with various police forces, as well as
CN and CP Rail, because of our mutual interest in ensuring public safety and
security during the various events that will make up the National Day of
Action.
    Of course, the best way to prevent problems of a disruptive nature is for
First Nations and Canada to show that we are working together for a better
future, and to give our people hope. Since the National Day of Action was
passed by resolution by the Chiefs in Assembly last December, the intent has
always been to have a peaceful day of education and awareness in order to
create a common rallying point for all Canadians to show their support and
solidarity for First Nations people.

    Phil Fontaine
    National Chief


    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications,
(613) 241-6789 ext. 229, cell.: (613) 293-6106, bhendry@afn.ca; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243,
(613) 298-6382, npine@afn.ca


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