NEWS RELEASE · 12th April 2010
Coalition For Justice
New British Coalition for Justice for Residential School Victims Rallies at Canadian Embassy in London, England
After being barred by London police from gathering anywhere near the Canadian embassy in London yesterday, a group supportive of Rev. Kevin Annett and the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) convinced the police to allow them to hold an impassioned memorial rally for children who died in Canadian Indian residential schools.
Facing the embassy, the group of nearly twenty people held aloft the FRD's banner entitled "All the Children Need a Proper Burial", prayed, drummed and burned sage, and eventually broke into dance as they leafletted tourists and passersby in the adjoining Trafalgar Square.
Rev. Kevin Annett addressed the rally and called for sanctions against the government and churches of Canada for their deliberate murder of thousands of children.
Cornelius Crowley, a survivor of abuse and torture in an Irish Catholic boarding school, also spoke to the rally.
"What happened to me and to thousands like me, here and in Ireland and Canada, wasn't just the result of evil men. It was a policy to destroy our lives. It's an institutional evil that hasn't gone away, nor will it, even if they do fire the Pope."
The rally organizers were initially ordered by Trafalgar Square security guards and police not to gather or hold aloft any signs or banners either at the Canadian Embassy or in the public space of Trafalgar Square. But after discussions with Rev. Annett and other rally members, the police agreed to "allow" the gathering.
"It's a city statute in London now that no protest or gathering can be held within a kilometer of Parliament. You can't even wear a T shirt with a political slogan on it" explained Allan, one of the rally organizers.
"But I explained to the cops that their job isn't to enforce a statute, especially one that violates Magna Carta and our common law right to gather in public, but to uphold their oath of office. They must have known I was right, because they immediately backed off when I told them that."
At one point, abuse survivor Cornelius Crowley held up an eagle feather brought by Rev. Annett from residential school survivors in Vancouver and pointed it at the Canadian embassy, declaring,
We are not here to harm anyone but we will not stop, ever, because we see you for what you are now, and we will not allow you to evade justice. What you did to the children and what you are is not right or natural. Return to the earth and may the grass eat your buildings and metabolize your evil into manure that will feed later generations and the earth."
The rally followed on similar actions held by the group outside Westminster Abbey (Anglican) and Westminster Cathedral (Catholic) in downtown London on Sunday.
The group is planning to build a broad coalition to oppose the visit of Pope Benedict to England on September 16, and conduct public exorcisms and memorials like the one held yesterday.
Following on a similar movement built recently in Italy that has won local governmental endorsements for the FRD, the aim of the new group is to create public and political support in England for the FRD's efforts to bring Canada and the Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada to justice before an international tribunal for their crimes in Indian residential schools.