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'Idle No More' targets Peace Arch this weekend

PEACE ARCH (NEWS1130) – The nationwide “Idle No More” protest movement is continuing to gain strength, as First Nations groups blast the Harper government and its policies on aboriginals.

A protest is planned for a busy Lower Mainland border crossing this weekend. A one-hour “Idle No More” demonstration is set to happen tomorrow at the Peace Arch at 1 p.m., with a caravan leaving Hastings and Commericial at 11:30 a.m.

Grand Chief Stewart Philip with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs maintains they do not aim to block the crossing. “The fundamental principles of this particular action are based on peace, respect, and honour with respect to [Attawapiskat Chief] Teresa Spence, the sacrifice that she’s making.”

“So there is no plan to obstruct traffic or to establish a blockade,” he emphasizes.

Supporters from south of the border will join in a prayer ceremony, drumming songs of welcome for each side.

Protesters concerned about the federal government’s Omnibus bill C-35 gathered yesterday at UBC and at the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain Station, carrying placards and beating drums. This follows a protest on Wednesday at Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver.

Phillip says they’re just getting warmed up. “I don’t think there’s any question that the movement continues to grow exponentially by the hour.”

“There are so many ‘Idle No More’ actions, not only throughout Canada and the United States but also around the world.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to meet a delegation of First Nations leaders next Friday. It comes as Spence enters the 24th day of her hunger strike. She is expected to continue her hunger strike until that meeting.