Indigenous protesters have returned to the site of a housing development at the center of a land dispute in southern Ontario, a day after nine people were arrested after a violent clash with police.
Provincial police say they went to the McKenzie Meadows development on the outskirts of Caledonia on Wednesday to enforce a court order ordering protesters to leave the ground.
The OPP alleges that some of the occupants threw “large stones” at the officers, and the officers responded by firing a single projectile from a gun that shoots rubber bullets.
They say nine people were arrested and then released.
Protesters have dubbed the site “1492 Land Back Lane” and began occupying it more than two weeks ago, arguing that the development violates the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee people.
The development had previously been approved by the elected council of Six Nations of the Grand River, however protesters, who are members of the hereditary council, say they do not recognize the authority of the elected band council.
The Haudenosaunee, a group that includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora First Nations, are also known as the Iroquois or the Six Nations, and were involved in a similar land dispute in 2006.
The occupation drew the ire of the prime minister on Thursday, and although he said he could not and would not lead the police, he made his position clear.
“You cannot go in and take over people’s future homes…. It’s wrong, ”Doug Ford said during a news conference.
He called the incident “unwarranted”, “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”
Provincial police say Highway 6 Caledonia Bypass remains closed in both directions between Greens Road and Haldimand 4th Line.