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Sunday, Nov. 18, 2001 at 2:06 PM
anarchist from los angeles not allowed into canada.
I was comming to Ottawa for the G-20 protests from Los Angeles. I flew to New York where I met up with 3 other activsts, and from there we took the Greyhound bus to Canada. When we reached the border, everyone got out of the bus and went through the normal security procedures/questions; "what's your name?" - "why are you in canada?" - "how much money do you have on you?" ..etc.etc. Everything was going fine until I was next in line to answer these redudent questions being asked by the border officer. I showed proof of U.S residency, including my birth certificate and drivers license. Then he looked at me and told me to "take a seat" and wait for immigration. Everyone else on the greyhound bus got through without any problems. Another activist who I was with came back to see what the problem was. The lady from imigration came in and started to search my bag and ask me additional questions, prefebly about my job. She asked for my work number, I gave it to her but the line was busy. She repeatedly called the number but did not get through the busy signal. She pulled everything out of my backpack, and said, "oh? all black clothes?", and asked why I had a gas mask. She then kept asking me questions about my job, and seemed to ridicul me as if I was lying when I told her I was a computer programmer. She then had the both of us sent over to the immigration office across the street, where they took my ID and started doing background checks. By this point our bus had already left without us. We were sitting in the room for about 30 minutes waiting for them to call my name.
They seemed pretty busy doing background checks on alot of people comming through the border. Preferbly people wearing black. But that's not all. We looked around the room where we were waiting, and noticed that they had also been disallowing entry to people who were Arab, Black, Hispanic..etc. We looked around the room and didn't see a single white person, with the exeption for 2 who had just previously left. (I assumed this was another one of the reasons why I was flagged). After waiting about 30 minutes, they called my name and took me into this room. Where I was generally interigated for about 45 minutes. They took my finger prints, took a mug shot, took everything out of my wallet and copied down all of the numbers I had with me. They took everything out of my backpack, layed it flat on the ground and photographed everything multiple times. They told me that I had no rights in Canada. They kept asking me additional questions before taking me to another room where they threatend to send me to jail for a maximum of 2 years if I lied to them. At this point they had my file pulled up and printed out. They knew that I had been arrested at a previous protest in Long Beach. He then pointed to two names on a piece of paper and asked me who they were. I told him I didn't know. He asked why I was going to Ottawa, and I said obviously to protest the G-20. He then told me "well, we think you were there to do more than just protect", and took out a picture of my gas mask and pointed to it. I told him it was for my own personal saftey. Then I asked him if he knew what the IMF and World Bank was. He said he knew, but I said if he knew what we were protesting. I explained to him breifly and he said, "that's fine you have your right to your political opinion", yet obviously not if I was being interigated for 45 minutes, not because of my actions, but because of what I think. After they "finished" with me, I went back out to take a seat and they called my friends name. They took her into the same room and took her mug shot and finger prints. Then they tried to accuse her of a crime comitted in Los Angeles that she didn't even do. They then realized that the person who comitted the alledged "crime" (trespassing and graffiti) didn't match her height. They asked her if she had been to the Seattle protests, along with other so-called incriminating bullshit.
After they finished questioning us, searching everything, taking pictures and databasing everything they could find out about us, they put us in a car that felt like a police car, and drove us back across the border to the US customs office. When we got there we were told that we were in the U.S now, not to mess around, and that we may be searched even 3 times more. They then searched our bags and questioned us (again). They also took out a paper I got at the bus station from a deaf man that was a sign-language key. Thinking it was some "secret anarchist sign-langauge", they photocopied it and databased it.
We then waited at the US customs office for about 4 hours to catch the next Greyhound heading back to New York.
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