Friday, August 04, 2006

Guelph, Ontario, Canada - Police arrested Matt Soltys, a 23-year-old environmental activist and campus radio DJ for painting a bulldozer on a wall of the Matrix social housing complex. He has been charged with mischief and is scheduled to appear in court on September 11th. Police allege that Soltys used a stencil to paint the bulldozer and was about to use another stencil that said "eco-terrorist" when he was apprehended.

Ed Pickersgill, who manages the Matrix building were the image was painted, doesn't consider the graffiti offensive or criminal. "I see that Matt has been charged with mischief and I don't understand what the mischief would be," said Pickgersgill. "It's not as good as some of the other artwork," added Pickersgill of the bulldozer. "Obviously its graffiti interuptus. We would hope if there is going to be more graffiti it would be on the higher end, on the art scale."

Soltys says the image of the bulldozer juxtaposed with the words eco-terrorist was meant as a "satirical comment to get people rethinking the politicization of the word eco-terrorist." The term "eco-terrorist" was coined by big business advocate Ron Arnold as a way to marginalize radical environmentalists.

The term is most often used to describe the radical Earth Liberation Front whose adherents have claimed responsibility for numerous arsons and acts of sabotage in the Guelph area in the past year. Soltys says that he is not connected with any of that activity and only wanted to make a statement.