london, ontario -- it's thursday,September 6, six years to the day since native activist Dudley George was shot and killed by OPP sargeant Kenneth Deane during a peaceful occupation at Ipperwash provincial park.A handful of us have gotten through police security and made our way to the second-floor offices of the regional coroner here in London.
We demand to speak to the coroner, but he's not here. We sit down in a circle on the carpeted floor and read a letter demanding a public inquiry into the police shooting death of Dudley George. The phone numbers of lawyers are scrawled across our forearms.
A police officer posted inside the office scurries to an adjacent room to call for backup. A few minutes later, more frustrated police and security fill the room.
While most of the media attention today is focused on a meeting Pierre George, Dudley's brother, is having with chief coroner James Young two hours down the 401 in Toronto, it's here in London that any inquest, if one is ever called, will be held.
Activists from across the province are outside this London building, adding their voices to the growing chorus calling for a public inquiry. Students, Mohawks, Metis, union members are all part of the growing throng.
We waited for a demonstrator to distract the police before we made our move. Rushing through the doors and up a few flights of stairs, we were somewhat surprised by the ease with which we were able to reach the office.
The phone rings. It's Young himself on the other end. He's willing to listen to our concerns, we're told. But only if we agree to end out sit-in first. We decide to hold strong.
After six years of stonewalling by the government in the face of increasing evidence that the premier himself sent the police in, what difference would more talking make?
One of the officers tells us there's no reason for us to continue our sit-in. He says Pierre George's meeting with chief coroner Young in Toronto has gone very well -- as if there were some important news in the offing. We continue our occupation.
The police begin forcibly removing us from the office. We decide to leave of our own accord.
Outside, picketing protestors gather at the exit of the underground garage where the paddy wagon carrying those arrested will appear.
We block its path to the street. Banging can be heard from inside.
About 40 of us march to the police station to demand their release. There, we're greeted by members of the London police tactical team. A sergeant emerges to tell us that those under arrest will be let go if we leave, but no one's leaving until all those arrested are out. Within an hour, they're all released. We leave confident that our message has been heard.
A few of us meet up with Pierre George later. His meeting with Young didn't turn out as promisingly as the officer who was talking to us during our sit-in would have had us believe. Young, George tells us, wouldn't commit to an inquiry.