Police arrive but protest camp on Manitoba Legislature grounds stays put as noon eviction deadline passes

Protesters at a camp that’s been set up on the eastern grounds of the Manitoba Legislature for more than a year have no plans to leave after a noon eviction deadline came and went.

Numerous police vehicles rushed to the building around noon, and officers went inside for a few minutes.

Shortly after, one of the organizers of the eastern camp marched up the steps, beating a drum, and spoke briefly.

Political leaders in Manitoba “keep making laws, doing everything they can to get rid of us, put us back in those communities. They don’t want us around. This is not right,” said Mary Starr, whose traditional name is Great-grandmother Bear That Comes Like the Wind. 

A sacred fire was lit on the legislative grounds in June 2021 after the discovery of suspected unmarked graves at former residential schools. Organizers have said they intend to keep it going until all former residential school grounds in the country are searched for burial sites.

Officers at the legislature told a CBC News reporter that they have no plans to evict the protesters on Friday.

Police said they rushed to the legislature after receiving a weapons complaint, which turned out to be a false alarm. They all started leaving around 12:10 p.m.

A second encampment that formed earlier this year and includes a large teepee on the front lawn of the legislature grounds has also been ordered to leave.

That camp had previously been associated with nearby parked vehicles that had messages opposing COVID-19 public health restrictions posted on them.

Leaders of the eastern camp say they are not connected to the other group.

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