Saturday, May 27, 2006

Cops haul in bicycle activists

by Adam Clayton

A bike ride through the streets of downtown Winnipeg ended in chaos and arrests yesterday.

Members of Critical Mass Winnipeg -- an activist group that promotes bicycle use over automobiles -- claim [the word "claim" is used by the conservative media to cast doubt on what is true - Timothy] police used excessive force when several cyclists were arrested near the provincial legislature.

Police followed approximately 50 cyclists -- many dressed in costumes in what was apparently a display of self-expression -- along their route before trying to arrest some members near the corner of Donald Street and Broadway around 5:30 p.m.

Melanie Howe, who was taking part in the monthly bike ride, said she wasn't sure how everything started. Earlier, police stopped traffic at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street so the cyclists could proceed.

"I saw several cops chase after this bicyclist and grab him in a headlock from the back," said Howe, who wore fairy [drone - Timothy] wings and antennae. "I saw one fellow with a cop's knee on his head; he was being pressed to the ground."

Shaun Martin said police and some of his fellow cyclists were jawing at one another before all hell broke loose.

"People started arguing with the cops. There's some anti-establishment sentiment going on here. I guess some guys got aggressive and things got out of hand," he said. "It was just crazy. Absolutely crazy."

Police Insp. Steve Pilote said five adults were arrested in total and face traffic-related charges in addition to possible charges stemming from the scuffle that broke out.

Critical Mass members, who gathered outside the Public Safety Building [named like other government institutions in Orwell's "1984" - Timothy] following the arrests, said some cyclists were injured and one might have suffered a broken leg but Pilote said any injuries were relatively minor.

"I don't know of anybody that has any injuries that were of any consequence," he said. "I would expect there might be some scrapes and bumps on both sides but nobody went to the hospital or anything like that." [Because they brought an ambulance to the detention cells, to give Marcel stitches! - Timothy]

Several Critical Mass members were arrested earlier this month for allegedly disrupting traffic to protest Operation Charging Bison, a military exercise that took place in Winnipeg.

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