Native protest disrupts Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal rail service

Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:00pm EST
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* No timetable for resumption of service

* Third disruption in a month by Idle No More native group

* Prime Minister Harper has agreed to Jan. 11 meeting

* Protests in support of northern Ontario chief on hunger strike

By Frank McGurty

TORONTO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Aboriginal demonstrators disrupted passenger rail service on routes connecting Toronto with Ottawa and Montreal on Saturday, a day after Canada's prime minister agreed to meet with First Nations leaders to discuss grievances behind a growing native protest movement.

About 1,000 people traveling on four trains were stranded on VIA Rail routes in eastern Ontario when the railway stopped service in both directions Saturday evening, said a VIA Rail spokeswoman, Annie Marsolais. The passengers were completing their trips on buses provided by the railway.

VIA Rail could provide no firm timetable for the resumption of service, saying it was awaiting further information from local authorities about the protest, which was blocking tracks near Marysville, about 205 kilometers (127 miles) east of Toronto.

Authorities on the scene of the protest could not immediately be reached for comment.   Continued...