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Mohawks angered by Legault's 'dangerous' AK-47 comments, lack of apology
MONTREAL -- Mohawks who have blocked a rail line south of Montreal are angered by Premier Francois Legault's comments saying they had assault weapons, including AK-47 rifles.
Legault's comments were false, misleading and dangerous, Kahnawake peacekeeper constable Kyle Zachary said. "If you've been to the protest site, there is nobody there with firearms. There are elders there. There are women and children. This is a peaceful protest."
Both the traditional and elected Mohawk governance structures in Kahnawake have denounced the premier's comments.
Racist messages towards the members of their community had spiked since Wednesday when the premier made the declaration, Zachary said.
But the Legault's words have also strengthened community resolve, Kenneth Deer, a spokesperson for the protesters, said. "There are even more people here, so the people here are getting more and more solid the more threats are given to this place."
Their protest, which has prevented access to Montreal on Exo's Candiac commuter line and snarled CP rail traffic, is peaceful, Deer stressed. Those manning the blockade want the premier to apologize. But he hasn't, and won't.
CAQ MNA and former SPVM spokesperson Ian Lafreniere defended Legault on a popular French-language radio program on Thursday morning. Legault was trying to explain why the SQ hadn't moved in on the blockade, Lafreniere insisted, stressing that the comments, which cited "reliable sources," were made in the pursuit of transparency.
"During protests, there is always a group more radical that can use different tools for the protest," Lafreniere said. "Yesterday, we have been honest and transparent, and we said that they could have access to weapons, and that is the reason we fear for the future."