Handshakes, just before native protesters removed a blockade that has divided the community for 83 days, signaled an easing of tensions in Caledonia, Ont.
Removing the Argyle Street blockade was designed to ease tensions between protesters and frustrated community residents who clashed in fistfights Monday despite a heavy police presence.
"I think today they were prepared to accept our gesture," aboriginal spokesperson Hazel Hill told CTV Newsnet on Tuesday, referring to the Caledonia Citizens' Committee.
The main obstruction, a portion of a hydro tower, was moved from Argyle Street and now blocks a construction site entrance at the centre of the dispute. The protesters are trying to prevent construction of a housing development on land they claim as their own.
"We're staying on the land. That's been our intention from the beginning -- to hold that peaceful presence on the land," Hill said, adding that protesters will stay there until negotiations are completed.
"People need to realize that all the money that's been wasted has been on strictly the barricades, the land issue hasn't been touched on," Janie Jamieson, another aboriginal spokesperson, told reporters.
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