Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spectator at Wescam

Wescam demonstrators arrested      (view a video of the action)

Six members of peace coalition face trespassing charges after protest

By John Burman, The Hamilton Spectator BURLINGTON (May 16, 2006)

Six members of a loose-knit demonstration led by the Mother's Day Coalition for Peace have been charged with trespassing after trying to enter Wescam's North Service Road offices.
Halton police said the demonstrators were arrested just after noon yesterday after demanding a meeting with Wescam management and refusing to leave when asked by security.
Andrew Loucks, a member of Hamilton Action for Social Change, said the group -- which also marked Mother's Day with a demonstration at the same site Sunday -- chose Wescam because it provides imaging equipment for war purposes.
The group placed about 100 black paper "grave markers" beside Wescam's entrance. Each bore the name of a civilian, some as young as two, who the group says have been killed in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Wescam was bought in the fall of 2002 by L-3 Communications, a giant, New York-based U.S. defence contractor interested in Wescam's wireless cameras and stabilizing mounts.
The Hamilton-born company -- famous for making Superman "fly" in movies with its camera equipment -- now counts on the military, governments and law enforcement for about 75 per cent of its business.
Company security chief Don Wallace was not available for comment yesterday.
The six were taken into custody, charged under the Provincial Offences Act and released. Each faces a $58 fine if convicted and have 15 days to decide whether to fight the charge.
Loucks was not among those arrested yesterday. He said the coalition sees Wescam as an opportunity for those against war to "think globally and act locally."
Halton police Detective Steve Skerrett said the group was part of a larger number of protesters who moved onto the property after a peaceful demonstration to seek a meeting with Wescam officials. Skerrett did not have names of those arrested.
Most of the group retreated when asked, he said. When some refused, Wescam security called police and an officer and three constables responded.
Randy Kay, a Hamilton peace, cycling and transportation activist who earned a Vision 2020 Sustainable Community Recognition Award two years ago, said the coalition sees Wescam as part of the "military-industrial complex right here in beautiful Burlington."

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