The Free Marc Emery (also known as the Prince of Pot) Campaign came to Oakville Tuesday and one arrest followed.
Emery is a Canadian, who was recently extradited — with the co-operation of the Canadian federal government — to await sentencing in the United States for selling marijuana seeds online. Emery is due for sentencing in September and faces five years in prison stateside.
The campaign has seen protesters take over numerous offices of members of the Conservative government of Canada, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to demand the return to Canada of the imprisoned marijuana activist.
About 20 Free Marc protesters arrived at Oakville MP Terence Young’s Constituency Office on Kerr Street mid Tuesday afternoon and moved into the office for a sit-in.
The protesters refused to leave the office until just before its regular closing time.
Its leader, Jacob Hunter, of Vancouver, at one point enjoyed some medicinal marijuana at the scene.
Constituency office staff called the Halton Regional Police and a young woman from British Columbia was ultimately arrested for trespassing.
“We were called to keep the peace. One female was charged for trespassing,” reported Halton Regional Police Sgt. Brian Carr.
Nicole Seguin, 24, of British Columbia was arrested for trespassing. She was taken into custody by police and later released.
According to Hunter, protesters had told police they would leave just before closing time — in keeping with their Constitutional rights to stage a protest.
However, Hunter said police, after a telephone discussion with Young, moved to close the office early.
Young, who has been in Ottawa this week, including the day of the protest, told the Beaver he came out of Question Period and called his constituency office.
Upon speaking to police at the scene, he said he was advised to close the office early and so he agreed.
“We were closed today, too,” he said on Wednesday from Ottawa.
A report on the Oakville protest was filed by Jeremiah Vandermeer and published in the online magazine Cannabis Culture, which follows the Free Marc campaign.
According to that report, Seguin was the third Free Marc activist arrested in less than a week during the Conservative MP office occupation campaign.
The report describes Seguin as a Vancouver drug policy reform activist and member of the Free Marc Emery campaign.
“We did not pre-announce our location, as the Conservative Party has a bad habit of closing early (proroguing if you will) to avoid protest,” said Hunter.
The protest caused a stir on Kerr Street where it became noisy and drew public attention.
One woman working in a nearby office called the Beaver to report the protest, saying she couldn’t see it, but could hear it from her workplace.
It left Young’s Constituency office staff calling in police. Nearly a dozen officers, including some tactical unit officers, monitored the protest. Seguin was ultimately arrested after she did not leave the premises when it was closed.
A video of the protest was posted on YouTube and linked to the magazine website.
The magazine report states that Seguin refused to leave “in a display of civil disobedience.”
“Police arrived with more than 10, heavily armed SWAT members (in addition to the five or more regular duty officers) to respond to a peaceful protest. At no point in our campaign has such blatant police intimidation been applied,” said Hunter.
According to Young, it was disruptive to the constituency office and its staff.
“It was disruptive. The staff couldn’t get any work done. It was in your face. It was unpleasant. I was told they were sitting in my office, there was shouting and chanting and they were taking pictures of the staff,” said Young.
The office remained closed the following day, as Young said the protesters had said they’d return.
The group is one of many who are gathering at conservative MP offices across the country.
“Our goal is simple, we are demonstrating to the Conservative Party that we will go to any riding, anywhere in Canada, to ensure they are defeated during the next federal election. We will protest at all of their events, we will volunteer for their opponents, we will not rest until this government is defeated and Marc Emery is brought back to Canada; a country he never left and that refused to charge him,” said Hunter.
– Article from InsideHalton.