Idle No More movement draws hundreds in Winnipeg
Published Friday, December 21, 2012 8:59AM CST
Last Updated Friday, December 21, 2012 2:04PM CST
Several Manitoba First Nation groups rallied at the Winnipeg International Airport Friday morning as part of a growing national movement.
The Idle No More campaign has gained ground across Canada in recent months and saw protests sprout up in Winnipeg and across the country again Friday.
The group met on Wellington Avenue around 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., slowing traffic.
The group then met at The Forks at noon and continued demonstrating, before a rally was held at the legislative building.
Winnipeg police said more than 500 people attended.
“This event proved to be an excellent opportunity for the Winnipeg Police Service to partner with Aboriginals in our province, to share a greater understanding of one another, and work towards a better future for all Manitobans,” said police in a statement. "The Winnipeg Police Service would like to thank the organizers for their efforts, as well as youth, elders and leaders from our Aboriginal community."
The Idle No More movement supports First Nations rights and addresses what First Nations leaders say are encroachments on their land, water and treaty rights. Activists have cited concern over several pieces of federal legislation concerning First Nations people, including the recently passed Bill C-45.
Idle No More rallies took place across the country Friday, including a large protest in Ottawa where more than 1,000 protesters gathered to march through the streets.
Theresa Spence, the chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, is currently on a hunger strike in the area. Spence has called for a meeting with Gov. Gen. David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Spence wants forums to be scheduled across the country on a number of important First Nations issues.
Protestors echoed her calls Friday.
-- with files from the Canadian Press