Homes Not Bombs ("Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up") brought 120 people to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King with a January 15 demonstration and Citizens' Weapon Inspection at Diemaco, Canada's leading small arms manufacturer in Kitchener, Ontario. Two dozen organizers had delivered a Notice of Impending Citizens' Inspection to Diemaco management on November 10, and a few weeks later received a letter from the company refusing the request to inspect the factory, which makes machine guns, grenade launchers, assault rifles, and other combat weapons.
After protesters creatively illustrated ways of transforming Diemaco, the weapons manufacturer, into Lifemaco, the builder of community, a group of eight Citizen Inspectors approached the building. Police informed them they were trespassing, but did nothing to stop their progress. From behind the locked front door, police and company managers refused entry to the inspectors. After a brief wait, the group approached each window to display their placards ("Throw a Parade, Not a Grenade", etc.) to employees inside. Others approached the building and chalked slogans on the bricks, but police simply watched and videotaped the proceedings.
It was not until well after the peaceful demonstration concluded that police made two intimidating arrests. In the first instance, a police van overtook the car driven by Homes not Bombs site coordinator Laurel Smith, and grabbed Citizen Inspector Josť Martinez from the back seat, threw him against the car, and arrested him in a physically brutal manner.
Shortly thereafter, demonstrator Julian Ichim was arrested outside Stirling Mennonite Church, as folks were getting off the bus which had returned them from Diemaco. He was thrown into a van and taken to police headquarters. Both men were charged with criminal mischief. Martinez was released later that day, and Ichim was held overnight. Both have court dates in March.
For more information, contact Homes not Bombs at P.O. Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, Ontario M6C 1C0, (416)651-5800, email@example.com.