Political riots
5 min

Mounted police rode right into the crowd

There were more police than protesters at Human Life International’s 18th Annual World Conference. And they barricaded both protesters and media from the International Plaza Hotel.



Police won’t divulge the number of officers on the scene, but there appeared to be at least 300, with some 40 in riot gear, nine mounted police, and 20 patrolling the rooftop lookout. Others stood in the hotel proper or waited hidden behind the building.



An estimated 150 protesters attended the Sat, Apr 10 Anti-Racist Action demonstration, while about triple that gathered for the kick-off demo on Apr 7.



Over the two protests, about 29 groups pitched in some cash to rent buses and transport demonstrators to the airport-area hotel on Dixon Rd. The highway was shut down for about 500 metres to accommodate them.



The Ontario Coalition For Abortion Clinics led the first day’s contingent; Anti-Racist Action led the second, as a result of a split in the Rage Against HLI coalition.



Both rallies were quiet relative to the 1995 Montreal HLI conference. That year, hundreds surrounded conference delegates in a cathedral in downtown Montreal, screaming obscenities and pelting them with garbage.



This year, HLI members did not leave their hotel.



Protesters mostly chanted slogans (“Jesus died for your sins, not mine!” and “HLI, your name’s a lie; you don’t care if doctors die!”). Graffiti included the phrase “Don’t hate, masturbate!”



Even Jesus showed up, chanting “Repent your sins!” for the cameras.



But tension mounted on the weekend, when some 50 police officers in full riot gear and shields in front of the hotel decided to advance, pushing demonstrators off a two-foot ledge.



“The protesters were told that they would have to back up because the officers were pressed up against the windows. [When they didn’t move back] the officers moved forward,” says Toronto Police Media Relations Constable Devin Kealy.



One male officer shoved three protesters off the ledge – the only three who had not given way to the riot shields. The cop’s badge number could not be seen.



He continued gesturing aggressively, and was eventually tapped on the shoulder and replaced by a female officer.



A demonstrator responded by spitting on the row of police.



Kealy says the replacement of officers was a tactical manoeuvre and claims that no one was removed for being too aggressive. He says officers were commended for their performance.



Occasionally, police would herd demonstrators from one end of the empty and blocked off highway to another. Officers on horseback rode right into the crowd.



Two men were thrown to the ground and arrested.



Eighteen-year-old Michael Brito and 29-year-old John Hodgins are charged with assaulting police. Their first court date is on Mon May 10, at the East Mall Courthouse, at Queensway and the East Mall. Donations towards their legal defence can be sent c/o Anti-Racist Action, PO Box 291, Station B, Toronto, M5T 2T2.



Xtra’s managing editor watched badge number 6077 aggressively shove marchers who were already moving back; a third officer kicked a woman so viciously she was limping.



Protesters later threw eggs, horse manure and balloons containing “unknown fluids,” Kealy says.



Police were also heavy-handed with reporters. “My bags were

searched and I couldn’t get in [the hotel] to use the washroom,” said one television reporter. And security was heavy inside the hotel too, where HLI had hired off-duty officers to man the corridors.







WHAT HLI WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE



Here’s a quick rundown of some of what Human Life International pushes onto its members.



¥ The Gay Agenda: A Christian Response, by Human Life International.



“Sexual orientation does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background etc, in respect to non-discrimination.



“Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all, including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct [HLI’s terminology for practising homosexuality].



“It is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches and in military recruitment.



“Including ‘homosexual orientation’ among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homosexuality, [and] therefore [it] should not form the basis for judicial claims.”



¥ Feminism: Frauds And Fallacies, by Babette Francis.



On “The Feminist Dementia,” Francis writes:



“In addition to academic bias, we have an intellectual dishonesty in

support of feminist claims, and are heading towards research censorship. Two recent feminist books not only ignore the mass of evidence concerning the effects of the male hormone, testosterone, on dominance behaviour, the female hormones oxytoxin and prolactin in nurturant behaviour, and discoveries of major differences in brain structure between men and women, but also make repeated demands for an end to the study of sex differences altogether.



“It is paradoxical [for feminists] to argue that there are no differences between the sexes, but that only men are effective in gaining power and retaining it.”



Francis on a medical textbook entitled The Unborn Patient, which describes prenatal surgery performed on fetuses:



“The baby is lifted right out of the uterus, has a defect corrected and is then replaced in the uterus while the mother is given labour-suppressant drugs. The pregnancy then continues, and when full term, the baby is delivered by caesarian section,” the book reads, according to Francis.



“When medicine acknowledges the fetus as a patient worthy of treatment in its own right, including expensive surgery, and not just a blob of tissue, as claimed by feminists, it [will] no longer [be] medically logical to destroy other fetuses,” Francis adds.



¥ What do experts have to say about this?



“Yes, it is possible to do fetal surgery at an advanced stage of pregnancy,” says the secretary for Dr John Challis, chair of the Department Of Physiology at the University Of Toronto.



“It’s beyond our realm of expertise at this point,” says a spokesperson for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, when asked about potential implications on abortion legislation.



¥ Abortifacient Contraception: The Pharmaceutical Holocaust, by Rudolf Ehmann, MD.



“God only knows how many unborn children are being killed by the

abortifacient characteristics of the Pill, the IUD, Norplant, Depo-Provera, the Morning After Pill and their deadly counterparts.



A Toronto doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explains why HLI’s claims with regard to the pill are fallacious:



“HLI is saying that the pill prevents an egg-and-sperm combination from implanting itself in the uterine wall. But most women don’t produce eggs when they’re on the pill and the pill changes vaginal mucous so that it’s incompatible with sperm,” she says.



“Breakthrough ovulation occurs in seven to 10 percent of cases,” HLI counters.



¥ Development Or Population Control? is a lecture delivered by HLI’s advocate for developing countries, Father Matthew Habiger.



“Financial institutions such as the World Bank use their clout to influence the ‘population controllers’ – people who think there are too many people in the world [the World Health Organization and UNICEF, for example].



“Instead of long-term planning and assistance, developing countries receive family planning and population control [from aid organizations] that have adopted anti-natalist policies. International Planned Parenthood organization ideology has entered the policy of all these groups”



An expert in the field says this is a huge exaggeration.



“[Population control] is part of the mandate of those organizations. [But] it’s certainly incorrect to suggest that the main goal of all those organizations is population control, especially UNICEF, which has a whole series of development projects,” says Richard Sandbrook, a specialist in international development studies and professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.