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Environmental Justice Toronto activists drop banner off Gardiner Expressway demanding freedom for G20 arrestee Alex Hundert

by Maryam AdrangiJulien LalondeBrett Rhyno

Environmental Justice Toronto activists drop banner off Gardiner Expressway  demanding freedom for G20 arrestee Alex Hundert

Toronto ­– At 8:00am this morning, activists from Environmental Justice Toronto risked arrest by walking on to the Gardiner Expressway to hang a banner saying “Free Alex Hundert,” a community activist who has been in jail since being re-arrested after speaking at a public panel at Ryerson University in mid-September.

“Alex Hundert is a strong voice for indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. His work with AW@L in Guelph is an inspiration for all who are working to build a better world,” says Environmental Justice Toronto activist Brett Rhyno. “All charges against Alex should be dropped.These arrests, detentions, and false charges are part of a greater attempt to isolate effective and vocal community activists, and to criminalize dissent against the violent policies of the G20, policies that perpetuate environmental degradation, militarization, labour exploitation, and the theft of indigenous lands.”

Deploying the banner was in response to a national call to action from the Community Solidarity Network, a grassroots community group created after the G20 mobilizations in Toronto this past June. The call was for public demonstrations to take place on Tuesday October 12, when Hundert will re-appear in court after a judge ruled he violated his conditions to not attend any public demonstrations by speaking on a public panel.

Hundert is facing G20 related, and politically-motivated charges. The state repression and injustice that faces Hundert in the legal system is a daily occurence everywhere that the G20 policies are structures are imposed. Attacks against marginalized communities continue and the ongoing struggles will continue with strength and solidarity.

October 12 is also the date of a global call for actions in support of Climate Justice, led by the Global Minga and Climate Justice Action networks. Gloabally, environmental and climate justice activists are marking this day in 1942 as the landing of Christopher Columbus on what is now known as the Americas, marking the beginning of centuries of colonialism. "The extension of European greed into the Western Hemisphere globalized the exploitation of the Earth and its indigenous peoples in the endless pursuit for growth and profit. Today this translates to a  neocolonial system of over-consumption, over-production, and over-extraction of the Earth’s finite natural resources," says Rhyno.

“Only powerful climate justice movements can achieve the structural changes that are necessary to confront the climate crisis,” says Julien Lalonde, also from EJ Toronto. “All around the world today, climate justice activists are working collectively towards ending our addiction to fossil fuels, replacing industrial agriculture with local systems of food sovereignty and self-sufficiency, halting systems based on endless growth, and addressing the historical responsibility of the global elites’ massive ecological debt to the global exploited.”

In the lead up to the UN climate talks in Cancun, climate justice activists hope to consolidate recent advances in a global climate justice movement, building on experiences and advances achieved during the G20 and the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth which took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

"From our perspective, the answers lie in community empowerment, and the ongoing struggle for social, gender, economic, migrant, indigenous, and environmental justice are all connected in the defence of Mother Earth. We must continue onward to our ultimate objective until we achieve universal justice," says Lalonde.

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