CTV News Staff
Updated Sun. Jun. 11 2006 2:46 PM ET
Ontario Provincial Police are looking for seven First Nations residents who face a number of serious charges in the ongoing Caledonia land dispute, including attempted murder, forcible confinement and robbery.
Police issued arrest warrants Saturday in connection with several violent clashes, including one incident Friday where a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle was stolen and driven toward an OPP officer.
Const. Doug Graham said the officer was injured as he was pulled out of the speeding vehicle's path. He was treated and released.
The stolen vehicle was recovered but no arrests were made.
Graham said angry native protestors had surrounded the U.S. Border Patrol vehicle, then dragged out the three passengers who were inside.
"They were forcibly removed after they were swarmed," he said.
U.S. Border Patrol officers were in the area to observe how OPP were handling the standoff.
"Often, police officials work together and share information, and that group was here observing how we were using our police resources during this incident," Graham said.
Other charges expected to be laid against the suspects include theft of a motor vehicle, intimidation and assault causing bodily harm.
The following individuals are being sought by police:
The swarming incident was just one of several disputes Friday that are related to charges.
About 300 angry Caledonia residents confronted riot police to protest police inaction after two Hamilton TV news cameramen were injured by aboriginals.
One victim who needed stitches to close a gash on his head said police stood by and did nothing during the assault.
Police said more charges will be laid in connection to an incident Friday where an elderly couple was hassled by native protestors.
Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said she had a difficult time believing police would stand idly by during the attacks.
"Any of the OPP officers that I know, they wouldn't have let that happen," Trainer told CH News.
"They wouldn't have let those seniors be harassed like that, and they wouldn't have let those cameramen be beat up -- I know they wouldn't. So I don't know what was wrong with those few that were there."
Police said more charges will be laid in connection to an incident Friday where an elderly couple was confronted by native protestors.
Deputy OPP commissioner Maurice Pilon also had a hard time believing the claim.
"I find it difficult to accept that our officers are not engaging when they need to," he said.
Pilon said police are working with Six Nations officers to find the suspects.
"I must point out that some of these people that we're seeking warrants for are not from this area and I don't know if they're still in the area," he told reporters.
In a statement Saturday, the Six Nations Confederacy said they are a peaceful people and don't condone violence.
"The actions which occurred at the Six Nations reclamation site and within the town of Caledonia today are very disheartening," the statement said.
"Our prayers and concern are with those who were injured during the outbreaks today. A peaceful co-existence with our neighbours and the safety of all remain at the paramount of our concerns."
The individuals involved in the incidents have been removed from the site until the Six Nations complete its own investigation, the statement said.
The confederacy said it's committed to working with the OPP to "de-escalate" the tense situation.
The violent disputes are the latest in the 104-day standoff.
Gen. Rick Hillier, Canada's chief of defence staff for the Canadian Forces, said he doesn't expect the military to get involved in the dispute any time soon.
"We believe that's a police operation, and every conversation we've ever had with police forces is that this is their business," Hillier said.
"Getting this thing right is the way to approach it."
Critics are blaming the Ipperwash standoff for the reluctant police action on unruly protestors.
During that dispute, aboriginal protestor Dudley George was shot and killed by a police bullet in 1995.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has taken fire from opponents who say he is not providing any direction to police in dealing with the Caledonia protestors.
McGuinty says a peaceful solution is within reach.
In recent weeks the situation has been tense, as both the aboriginal protesters and non-aboriginal residents have demanded the end of the occupation.
The protesters are trying to prevent construction of a housing development on land they claim as their own, and have vowed to stay on the site until there is a resolution to the dispute.
Protesters argue that the site of the Douglas Creek Estates housing project was part of a large land grant back in 1784, but the provincial and federal governments insist the land was surrendered in 1841 to help build a major highway.
With files from The Canadian Press