Canadian Anarchists Seized at U.S. Border

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Fifth Estate # 298, June 19, 1979

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The positioning of this article in the back pages in no way reflects our assessment of the gravity of the situation described herein. We extend our full solidarity to these comrades, victimized for committing no “crime” other than to cross a point of land arbitrarily designated as a “border” by those who we hold in utter contempt. It is small acts like this, carried out by cretinous functionaries of the State, that further steels our resolve to work actively for its total elimination.

Ten anarchists and four other individuals crossing from Windsor, Ontario to Detroit were seized April 13 by U.S. Customs officials at the Ambassador Bridge. The 12 Canadians and two Americans were hauled from their van and accompanying car, body-searched and interrogated for six hours.

The two Americans were finally released, but the 12 Canadians were threatened with indefinite detention if they refused to submit to being fingerprinted. Following the coerced fingerprinting, the 12 were expelled from the United States.

A hearing will be held in Detroit on charges of entering the U.S. with the intent of endangering the government. Any attempt to re-enter the U.S. by the 12 prior to the hearings will result in detention in a Federal penitentiary. No date has yet been set for the hearings.

Customs officials also seized copies of the Toronto Anarchist, bulletin of the Toronto Anarchist Group, and dozens of documents intended for a conference of the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the group’s destination.

The official charges against the group are as follows: “You are seeking to enter the United States to engage in activities which would be prejudicial to the public interest; you advocate opposition to all organized government (i.e. anarchy); you probably would, after entry, engage in an activity a purpose of which is the opposition to the Government of the United States by unconstitutional means.”

The charges were termed “ludicrous” by a spokesperson for the anarchists. He said they were refused entry under the 1952 Immigration Act, relevant sections which date back to 1901. This incident is a clear violation of the 1975 Helsinki Agreement which provides for the unhindered passage of individuals and ideas between signatory nations.

The Anarchist-Communist Federation plans to contest this administrative law at the hearings later this year in Detroit and is planning a series of actions to protest this blatant infringement of personal liberty.

Further note: Another unenviable position the Canadian anarchists are placed in is to have to deny the charges, all of which we would hope are true. Speaking for this newspaper, we plead guilty to them all.

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