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Report from Southern Ontario New Year’s Prison Demo Road Trip


On December 31st 2011, crews from all around Southern Ontario got their road trip on, covering over 400 kilometres (250 miles) and hitting up 4 prisons over the course of a 12-hour noise demo marathon!

The 14-vehicle caravan, loaded with drums, warm clothes, 80 pounds of dumpstered citrus and almost as many fireworks, converged in Penetanguishene, Ontario in the early afternoon. Penetang is home to the Central North Correctional Centre where over 1000 people are imprisoned, including three of our close friends for their roles in the anti-G20 protests of 2010.

60-70 anarchists, anti-authoritarians and other party peoples marched on the jail to the beat of a hip-hop-inspired noise brigade through a thick blanket of fresh snow. A single screw-cum-superhero met us near the entrance and attempted to pull off a one man, Gandalf-inspired, You Shall Not Pass manoeuvre. Despite his admirable spunk, we had no choice but to humiliate his efforts and carry on our route while he proceeded to bounce around us like a grumpy chihuahua for the better part of the march.

We drowned out his wildly obnoxious barking with bursts of fireworks and a chorus of chants expressing our disdain for prisons and police (On the count of 3 say Fuck The Police: 1,2,3. . .). The silhouettes of inmates crowding around windows and banging their fists gave fuel to the fires that burned inside of us, and kept us warm as we marched the perimeter and eventually exited safely through the parking lot.

After bidding the chihuahua farewell with a well-arched roman candle, we dispersed back to our vehicles. Police cruisers quickly blocked off both ends of the residential street we’d parked on, kettling in any cars that hadn’t already split. After 45 minutes of obnoxious flashing lights, ID checks, and groundless detentions (conspiracy to commit arson? really?), we were back on the road, on schedule, and ready for round two.

The Maplehurst/Vanier prison complex in Milton is a fucking beast, with a perimeter that stretches on like a desolate Siberian highway. We bundled up for the long haul, carried by relentless rhythms and the sweet sounds of militant megaphone poets. Midway through the fun, we were joined by a few cruisers. One cop, seemingly confused by how drumsticks work and wanting in on the fun, sacrificed his fingers to the percussion brigade after putting his hand on a snare drum. Oooops!

After a brief moment of confusion, we realized that we didn’t much care for the police and continued our march, snaking through the several police vehicles that had lined up to intercept us. The women inside Vanier were stoked to see this, and nearly brought the prison down by sheer force of excitement.

Having learnt from our previous demo, vehicles were parked in smaller clusters and only a few cars were pulled over and questioned. After a few run-arounds with the fuzz and several chauvinistic comments (Why don’t you grow some balls and take off your mask?), we were back on the road again, still anatomically intact and on schedule.

Finally, we rang in 2012 with the third annual Noise Demo outside of Barton Jail (Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre) in downtown Hamilton.  We were joined by some new and energetic peeps, and proceeded to unleash yet another extravaganza of funky-ass music and glorious pyrotechnics. A few brave cats took the opportunity to beautify the entrance sign with a spray-painted circle-A. This was the only public noise demo of the day, with posters having been plastered online and around the Barton street neighbourhood. It was also the only demo of the day in which we were spared the party-pooping presence of uniformed thugs, save for one stray cruiser that didn’t stick around long.

After an epic countdown, and a loudly proclaimed promise (We will be back!), many of us hit up a nearby house party where a warm meal and a line-up of DJ’s awaited our arrival. Somehow, after a long day of marching and driving, Southern Ontario cats proceeded to wreck the dance floor well into the night, refusing to show it mercy until about 6am, January 1st.

We have since learned that in at least one of the prisons, our actions have spurred conversations about anarchism and solidarity with prisoners.  Some of the prisoners inside the CNCC were told there was a “situation outside”, and were instructed to return to their cells for lockdown; at least two refused and were taken to solitary.

Overall, the day was an overwhelming display of passionate prisoner support, inter-city organizing, and sheer fucking defiance.

Big ups to all the cities that held it down! We pack cars like crown attorney Jason Miller packs feces. In his mouth. Because he eats it.

See you next year!

-Southern Ontario Anarchist paRtycommittee

Posted in G20 Update, Prison Resistance, Prisoner Resistance, Southern Ontario.