Amnesty International, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the NDP, Liberals and Bloc, and members of the ever-growing Facebook group Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry Into Toronto G20 (currently at 27,000+ members), CUPE, The Canadian Labour Congress, and many others are calling for a public inquiry into the actions and inactions of the police and other security and rights issues during the G20 weekend in downtown Toronto.
UPDATE: Joints lawsuit planned for G20 arrestees - Toronto Star
Blair has announced an internal police review, but there are growing demands for a public inquiry, with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Greenpeace and 121 signatories from the York University faculty recently joining the chorus of voices asking for an independent probe. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association is also calling for an independent fact-finder to probe the circumstances surrounding the G20 arrests and NDP critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) has requested the House of Commons public safety committee be recalled to study issues surrounding summit security.
The CCLA has a petition you can sign that they will be sending to the provincial and federal governments to ask for a public inquiry.
Canadians Advocating Political Participation (CAPP) Demands Public Inquiry.
There is a rally in Toronto at Queen's Park, Thursday July 1, 2001 at 5:30pm to call for a public inquiry. Facebook group for the rally at this link.
On July 17th from 1-3pm, there will be nation-wide rallies to call for a public inquiry as well as to let government know that we will stand up for our rights. Facebook link: G20 Protest: Defend Your Rights.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Amnesty International, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the NDP, Liberals and Bloc, and members of the ever-growing Facebook group Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry Into Toronto G20 (currently at 27,000+ members), CUPE, The Canadian Labour Congress, and many others are calling for a public inquiry into the actions and inactions of the police and other security and rights issues during the G20 weekend in downtown Toronto.
Visit the link, watch the videos.
G20 Toronto - Police chief Bill Blair lied about laws, orders, weapons, rubber bullets, illegal arrests, detention conditions, rape threats, ...
Bill Blair, the Toronto police chief, should be fired. He lied to the public and to his officers on a number of matters that are very serious.
Here are some links to posts and news all about it.
Globe & Mail: Police admit no five-metre rule existed on security fence law
Runesmith: Breach of Peace, Breach of Trust
Globe & Mail: 'Weapons' seized in G20 arrests not what they seem - police display items confiscated in unrelated incidents
Blair lies, citizen rights in the toilet
Chief Blair MUST be fired
Sex, Lies and videotape
We also know now that the police were ordered to let it happen.
... As downtown Toronto witnessed burning police cars and a small group of thugs on a rampage, a police source tells me the only thing that stopped the officers from doing that was an order telling them not to. They tell me they could have rounded up all, or most of them, in no time.
I have had several frontline police officers tell me they were told not to get involved. But even before that decision was made, says one insider, there was mass confusion and indecision.
"The orders went from engage to, no, don't engage to engage to, no, don't engage,' " said an officer. "It was an absolute shambles. Everyone was talking over each other on the radio. Nobody seemed to know what to do. It was just a mess."
So who made that order?
Was it Chief Bill Blair? Mayor David Miller? Prime Minister Stephen Harper? Somebody else?
The inevitable inquiry, separate from the announced internal police review, will have to address this and a whole lot of other things. For example, why were a record 1,000 arrests made a day after the actual incident where very few arrests were made during it?...
More news, videos, first-hand evidence on this issue at these two posts:
Were the burning police cars bait?
"Questions are being asked as to why the police chose to drive the
vehicles into the middle of a group of protesters and then abandon them,
and why there was no attempt to put out the flames until the nation’s
media had been given time to record the scenes for broadcast around the
Video - Protesters amuse themselves playing with the sirens and lights in two
police cruisers inexplicably driven into the crowd and then abandoned
in the middle of the street. Calling in to dispatch, making airplane
noises on the mike for the crowd, and handing out tickets — it’s all
Kid lights a paper fire on the passenger seat, someone else puts it
out, and a short altercation about safety ensues. Another guy writes on
the cruiser in green paint: “This is bait, aka a prop.”
Kid on the mike in the cruiser: “For $1.2 billion dollars, thanks for
all your photography. This will be on the news tonight justifying the
There was plenty of time and opportunity for the police to go back and get the cars, yet they didn't - they just left them there and when they were set on fire, the let them burn. They weren't doing their job. And by not doing their job (stopping the vandalism, removing their cars, allowing the burning cars to be extinguished) they jeopardized public safety.
Here is another video showing the 2 police cars on Queen St West near Spadina. You can see that there are no "black block" people around anymore, just people hanging out. The reporter explains that initially the police in these cars were attacked by "black block" people and so they abandoned them. But, why did they not come in force and get them back when the "black block" left the area? The most likely answer: so the cars would be vandalized and maybe burned - bait for a publicity stunt. Instead of doing their jobs, the police played public relations.
Another first-hand account regarding the police leaving the cars on Queen St. West.
... But it was at Queen Street that things changed and, from what I
witnessed, it was the police who changed it.
After the parade had more or less left the area, we saw the police block
off a section of Queen Street around Peter Street. They drove two
police cars into the area and then left them in the road, next to people
on the street with their windows open and gear on the front seat. The
police left the area, but they left both cars behind, windows open and
unattended. We thought this was very strange, given their public
statements of concern about vandalism.
At this time I saw perhaps three broken windows on store fronts along
Queen Street. We left the area for a while to walk along the perimeter
of the security fence (it was easy to get to and there were no
demonstrators). It was very peaceful and we joked with police inside the
Coming back up Spadina Avenue, about 6:25pm we saw smoke coming up from
Queen Street just east of Spadina. We went, along with a number of
others, to see what the smoke was all about. Again we saw no, or very
few black-hooded demonstrators, in fact most of the demonstrators had
dispersed and, from the film we took, most of the people seemed to be
ordinary citizens, many residents in the area, taking pictures with
their cell phones.
When we got there couple of minutes later, we saw that it was one of the
police cars the police had abandoned earlier that was on fire. The fire
department had the situation well in hand and were putting out the
fire. Again, Toronto police had formed a perimeter with their bikes and
no one was getting in the way of officers or firemen doing their duty.
At about 6:35, a phalanx of riot squad officers marched up Queen from
Spadina, which everyone thought was rather silly, given there was no
trouble. About 6:45, the riot police (mostly OPP officers) backed us all
to the east side of the intersection of Queen and Spadina. No one
resisted or even objected, until they began to push us into the
intersection and into northbound traffic.
Once they had done that, they began to threatened citizens with arrest
if we didn't get off the road they had pushed us into. They pushed the
crowd (which was not large compared to earlier in the day) right through
the intersection and then blocked the intersection. I thought they
might be clearing it for emergency vehicles, but none came out of Queen
Finally, after making everyone angry, the police left the intersection
and Queen Street. They again left the second police car behind. Shortly
after that, just after 7:50pm, we saw smoke billowing up from the second
police car. Small explosions erupted from the car and the flames were
very high, threatening nearby property. Again, we wondered why the
police had abandoned their squad cars in an area where they must have
known some people would be tempted to destroy them.
This time, no fire trucks came. The mood of the crowd was not one that
would lead me to believe that anyone would have interfered if fire
trucks arrived. However, the riot squad came back up Spadina Avenue from
south of Queen Street. They cleared the intersection again and made
several bluff runs at people there. However, we saw no fire trucks come
and it appeared as though the police were letting their car burn out of
We left the area not long after being cleared north of the intersection
of Spadina and Queen along with some other folk who told us they too
were very puzzled by the actions of police. I heard more than one person
comment that the police seemed to be more interested in pushing people
around than in dealing with public safety matters. Indeed the whole
Queen Street operation had the air of something planned, and we could
not escape the feeing that the police wanted the cars burned so they
could justify further action, including, at about 8:30pm, clearing
Queen's Park (the area designated as the official protest zone) of
people who had gathered there.
Now there may well have been vandalism by black sweat-shirted teenagers
elsewhere, but on Queen Street, on the evening of June 26 all the
dangerous provocation I saw came from riot-suited police men and women.
And it wasn't necessary.
UPDATE - included in THIS video is a segment showing a few black block attacking a police car with the police inside, and then police reinforcements show up. The black block have quickly departed and the protester crowd is giving the police and the cars lots of space, but the police just leave the cars, open, as bait. Later in the same video, you can see police cars abandoned and burning at other locations, but there is space around them - the fires could have been put out, the cars could have been moved.
More regarding police inaction during the vandalism:
According to long-time social justice activist an author Judy Rebick
who was at a press conference with police representatives today [June 29, 2010], the
Toronto police have admitted to receiving stand-down orders while
property destruction took place and many people suspect that police cars
were abandoned in the middle of streets as decoys to attract vandalism
and were left to burn for over 30 minutes for media photo-ops. Many
believe that the police used this situation as a pretence to brutally
repress protesters not involved in property destruction (about 50 to 100
people were involved in the vandalism while nearly 1000 have been
I have no doubt there were plenty of regular police officers who were angered and shamed by the fact that vandals were allowed to rampage for an hour and a half through Toronto on Saturday.
I also spoke to a retired police officer/consultant from Michigan. I wanted to know if there could have been a mobile squad that could detach as needed to pursue these vandals. He said it was absolutely standard operating procedure to have a quick response team in place. I'm going to assume things were planned well enough that there was such a force, and that it simply wasn't deployed. Not only was this a tactical failure, but it's turning into a public relations failure as well.
"The bosses of this police force and other police forces decided to play public relations, and instead of doing their jobs, they let the city burn," said Naomi Klein on Monday.
Yep, show the public just what kind of violent elements there are, and maybe that will justify the massive expense. And in making that decision, a volatile situation was made more so. It was immediately after the vandalism that things got ugly. Decent cops were humiliated and angered, innocent people were rounded up and stripped of their rights.
More news, videos, first-hand evidence on this issue at these two posts:
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Individual stories of brutal arrests, inhumane detentions and theft and/or damage of personal property.
Open letter alleges police brutality at G20 demo
As the group of cyclists was passing by 148 Cumberland Street, one of
the cyclists was singled out by the police. He was descended upon by
several bicycle police officers. He was forced or somehow removed from
his bicycle. He was then held by his arms by two officers, one on each
side as a third officer then punched him in the face. The cyclist was
then pushed to the ground, where he was held face down. Several officers
(the witnesses were not sure how many, but thought it was 4-6) then
repeatedly punched the cyclist in the legs. When the cyclist was stood
up, he was punched in the genitals by one of the officers. He was then
quickly removed to inside the parking garage at 148 Cumberland Street
where he was kept out of sight until shortly before his removal.
CCLA Monitors Arrested
CCLA is concerned about the conditions of detention: people are being
denied access to lawyers, they are unable to contact their families and
we have heard that there are no plans for prompt release. The police
does not appear to make serious attempts to provide access to lawyers or
information. This is a serious violation of basic rights of hundreds
Backofthebook.ca: Canada's Online Magazine - Widespread police misbehaviour, illegal activity at G20
While mainstream news coverage of the G20 was dominated on Saturday by
footage of burning police cars and vandals smashing windows, video of
police misbehaviour, breaches of law, and plain old abuse emerged
overnight on the internet. I’ve gathered some of it below. [see link above]
Considering that the Harper government foisted the summit on downtown Toronto, and considering that the Toronto Police (who were in charge of all the policing outside of the security area) stood by and did nothing and allowed the black block vandals to vandalize for 1.5 hours without stepping in to stop them, I would recommend that the federal government and the Toronto Police split the bill to compensate businesses who had property damaged. The city could take the amount to be paid by the Toronto Police out of their next year's budget and just give them that much less.
It only seems fair.
watch the video!
36 minute interview video
As thousands protested in the streets of Toronto, inside the G20 summit
world leaders agreed to a controversial goal of cutting government
deficits in half by 2013. We speak with journalist Naomi Klein. "What
actually happened at the summit is that the global elites just stuck the
bill for their drunken binge with the world’s poor, with the people
that are most vulnerable," Klein says.
Globe & Mail article: Sticking the public with the bill for banker's crisis by Naomi Klein
Monday, 28 June 2010
The rally ended peacefully after 10pm. From what I've read and seen, there weren't riot-gear police, just normally suited police and bicycle police. No arrest and no police brutality. But the police did stop and ask many people for ID.
Toronto Media Coop
Naomi Klein says stop playing politics and let them go #g20report Monday June 28 2010 9:30pm [regarding the people illegally detained at the Eastern Ave detention centre]
pls be careful exiting march, unmarked
vans are following people & questioning them #G20report Monday June 28 2010 9:10pm
TorontoPolicePR: We've already recovered sufficient evidence of police
misconduct from all those journalists we arrested and strip searched.
#g20 #g20report Monday June 28 2010 8:59pm
3k strong at Queens Park! #G20report #G20 http://tweetphoto.com/29735577 Monday June 28 2010 8:51pm
March going north on university to queen,s park #g20report Monday June 28 2010 8:50pm
prisoner solidarity march back to dundas and university, chanting
away... #g20report Monday June 28 2010
Heading out of Nathan Phillips square #g20report http://tweetphoto.com/29730798 Monday June 28 2010 8:10pm
Thought the police were holding up traffic on Queen in front of city
hall, turns out it's police in a fleet of minivans #g20report Monday
June 28 2010 8:08pm
CBC News: G20 Protests Continue
Activist Naomi Klein takes part in the rally. (Patrick Morell/CBC)
The crowd fills College Street. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
CBC News: Crowd Protests Police G20 Actions
Another large, noisy, traffic-stopping protest erupted in downtown Toronto on Monday, with about 1,000 demonstrators marching through the streets, angry at what they said was police overreaction during weekend G20 protests.
There was a peaceful, two-hour rally on College Street, outside the headquarters of the Toronto Police Service, with chanting, drumming, and a call for the release of those protesters still being held in detention.
The protest closed a section of College Street, affecting car and pedestrian traffic, as well as one of the city's busiest streetcar lines, for a large portion of the afternoon rush hour.
After about two hours of peaceful protest, the group moved off westbound, then headed south on University Avenue, which is lined with hospitals, insurance companies and the U.S. consulate.
The protesters continued their marched through the streets of the city, followed by police, snaking their way through Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall.
Western Standard: I was just harassed by Toronto Police
It happened just a few minutes ago. I was sitting down on
University Avenue, when a group of police officers approached me and
said they wanted to talk to me. Stunned, I opened my mouth getting
ready to reply to the request, when one of the officers at the top of
his lungs yelled: "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK!"
Another officer said they didn't want to hear about my rights.
They then proceeded to demand I remove the earphones from my ears,
forcing me to get off the phone with my colleague. I told them I was on
the phone to which another officer responded, "we don't care."
black shirt". To which I replied, that I did not consent to any
searches. I told them that I would not resist them, and that any search
they conducted was under protest. They simply said, "we don't care.
We want to make sure you don't have any bombs to kill us with."
protest. To which they told me they didn't care again.Then one of the officers told me that, and I quote, that I (me)
"don't care about the security of the city." To which I protested. They
then called me "ignorant".
they simply denied that any such language had been used. Despite having
literally sworn at me multiple times, seconds prior.
looking at me somewhat sympathetically. I sensed that he was not
comfortable with what his fellow officers were doing.
contrary to my Charter Rights. And when I protested my treatment, I was
repeatedly told that they "don't care". They accused me of not caring
about the security of Toronto, and they called me ignorant twice. I
should note that I was never given any chance to really say much to them
at all, so I can only assume that they had some prior knowledge of who I
And I would swear a legal affidavit on the above facts.
Posted by Mike Brock on June 28, 2010
MyNews CTV: Surrounded and arrested by police
from Sunday evening at Queen & Spadina - more evidence of police brutality
Posted by Jason MacDonald. Uploaded 2010-06-28
- watch the video at the link above -
WARNING: Strong language and violence that may upset some viewers.
MyNews user Jason MacDonald, a 27-year-old construction worker from
Toronto, submitted this chilling first-hand video of a tense standoff
with police on Sunday.
MacDonald told CTV.ca his group marched peacefully along Queen from Bay
Street to Spadina, where they were surrounded by police in riot gear.
“We kind of got surrounded and weren’t able to get out, they just pushed
us back and I
was trying to film, and the one officer lunged forward
smashed me in the face with his shield and one by one they arrested us,
all of us,” MacDonald alleged.
In addition to the cut to his face, MacDonald alleges he received
bruises to his ribs, head and both arms, as well as scratches to his
back from being dragged by police officers.
Eventually, MacDonald and his friends were all arrested and taken to a
detention centre. He was eventually released at about 11:30 p.m.
Rabble.ca - In His Own Words: Guardian journalist arrested by G20 security forces
33 minute interview. Listen at the link
Jesse Rosenfeld was writing for The Guardian newspaper when G20
security beat him up and arrested him. Amy Goodman on what it means to
have a real independent media.
1:48 - 13:45 Jesse Rosenfeld was writing for The Guardian when G20
security beat him up and arrested him. rabble radio spoke to him a few
hours after he was released from detention.
14:08 - 32:15 Amy Goodman is the host of the radio/tv/podcast
Democracy Now! Friday night, at the Council of Canadians event Shout Out
For Global Justice, she spoke about what it means to have an
independent media, and why it is important.
2:38 minutes - listen at the link
The author, writer and journalist argues that police arrested “the most
important grassroots organizers in the province” on Saturday to try and
discredit them. “Hopefully, the media will smell a rat and start to see
that this whole thing was a setup,” she said, in an interview on Sunday
LondonFuse.ca: Growing Number of Serious Allegations About Police Treatment of Detainees in During G20 Summit
Video interviews with Jesse Rosenfeld - The Guardian and Independent Journalist, and with Amy Miller of Alternative Media Centre.
Maggie Knight: The World Is Watching: G20 Media Summary to Date (June 28, 2010)
Includes a lot of interesting links. Links to interviews with and stories of journalists being arrested and detained. One very disturbing item included in the video interview above with Amy Miller - "Amy Miller says she was told she would be repeatedly raped so she would never want to be a journalist again." She also saw a number of young women, who were detained, being strip searched and cavity searched by male officers.
Urgent: Conditions at 629 Eastern Ave. Illegal, Immoral, Dangerous
WE ARE CALLING AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IN THE
MEANTIME, DISTRIBUTE THIS LINK AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE.
willing to testify in front of a court of law, tribunal or hearing to
attest to the validity of these statements. Much of this is now recorded
on video and we have some contact information for the victims. We will
NOT consent to contact with any police representatives (municipal,
provincial, or federal) nor will we consent to speaking to other
security agencies (CSIS, Canadian Forces, etc.). We can be contacted at
lex.gill [at] gmail [dot] com, or jackgiovannetti [at] gmail [dot] com.
We just got back to our computers and are frantically writing this
message. It is 4:45 a.m. on Monday morning. We are the only people who
seem to know the extent of this story. Coffee and adrenaline keeping us
going. When we got to Queen and Spadina after leaving the Convergence
Centre raid today, we had already been blocked off by police lines. It
was pouring rain, and we could hear a confrontation taking place further
down the street. The cops didn’t care whether or not we were media — in
fact, we heard that media was forced to leave before we arrived. Police
acted violently and with sheer disregard for the law, attacking
peaceful protesters and civilians unrelated to the protest. Tired,
frantic, and feeling defeated, we came home and posted the message
before this one.
We then did the only thing left to do, and headed to 629 Eastern
Avenue (the G20 Detention Centre, a converted film studio), where
detainees from the demonstrations were being taken. We knew people were
being released sporadically so we grabbed as many juice boxes and
granola bars as we could afford and set off with medical supplies.
Journalists were basically absent, showed up only to take a few seconds
of video, or simply arrived far too late to be effective.
It is next to impossible to set the scene of what happened at the
Detention Centre. Between the two of us we estimate that we spoke to
over 120 people, most of whom were released between 9:30 p.m. and 4:30
a.m. Despite not knowing each other, the story they tell is the same. It
goes like this. Most were arrested at three locations: the Novotel on
Saturday evening where the police arrested hundreds of peaceful
protesters (look @spaikin on Twitter); Spadina/Queen’s Park all day
Saturday and early Sunday, as people were arrested all over the downtown
for many different (and often bogus) reasons; and the University of
Toronto, where hundreds of Quebecers and others were woken up and
arrested at gun point early Saturday morning.
What follows is a list, as detailed as we can make it in a blog post,
of what we saw and heard.
People were held for up to 35 hours with a single meal. None
seemed to have received food more than twice daily, the meal they did
receive was a hamburger bun with processed cheese and margarine
described as a centimeter thick. Detainees had to create loud noises for
hours to receive any food at all. All reported feeling more ill and
dehydrated after eating than before. Some vomited and received no
medical attention when they did. Water was not provided with the meal.
Inadequate water, as little as an ounce every 12 hours.
some people reported receiving approximately an ounce (a small Dixie
cup) of water every three hours, most seemed to have received far less
than that. They had to create loud noises and continuously demand water,
only to receive it up to an hour and a half later. Sometimes rooms with
over a dozen people were only given a handful (four or five) cups of
water and forced to share. Some reported the water as yellow-coloured
and smelling of urine, which they didn’t drink.
There were many reports of “cages”
filled with 40 people, though a police officer told one detainee that
they were intended for groups of no more than 15 to 20. Each cage had a
single bench, with only enough seating for five people. There was only
one toilet in each cage and it was without a door. Women were creating
barriers with their bodies for others to create some semblance of
Major delays in processing.
Many detainees were told that the only
reason they remained at the Centre was due to unexplained delays in
processing. Most detainees seemed to go through a three step system
whereby they were put in an initial holding cell, only to be moved to a
second cell after meeting a Staff Sergeant in a board room. This is
where they were told what they were arrested for. Eventually they were
moved to a third cell before release. This process seemed to take no
less than 10 hours. Others were never told why they were arrested and
never signed any documents. A few were released immediately upon
arriving at the Centre and were never processed. Some were never brought
to a cell, only made to wait in a line to be let out.
Groups arrested at the same time and for
the same behaviour were given different charges, with some let out and
others given court dates. Many felt the police simply assigned a charge
or did not know why they were being arrested. Some charges were changed
or dropped before the detainees were released.
People put in solitary confinement.
Most of the openly queer
detainees reported to have been transferred to a “Segregated Zone.” In
cages built for one, couples of men and women were held. A lesbian is
reported to have spent nearly 10 hours alone. Another woman said she was
kept alone in a large cell for hours, asking to be moved the whole
No pillows or mattresses to sleep.
No bedding was ever provided
for detainees, who were told to sleep on bare concrete floors. Detainees
were stripped of all but a single shirt and legwear. Many said they
could not sleep during their day long detentions.
Unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.
Many of the floors of
the cages were covered with dirt and the residue from green paintballs
used to identify suspects in crowds. Vomit was also on the floor and no
cleaning of the cages took place.
Police intimidation of released detainees.
With many of the
detainees released and standing across the street from the detention
centre, getting food and water from community volunteers while waiting
for friends, police stood menacingly across the road. Almost all the
detainees were frightened by the police presence and feared an attack.
The police used the headlights of rental Dodge Caravans to light up the
crowd, citing a need to “keep them visible.”
Non-stop light exposure/loss of natural light rhythm/sensory
Detainees emerged with a broken day/night cycle, being
deprived of all connection to the outside world or any other time-based
events (ie. set eating times). While in their cages, detainees were
subject to constant light.
Exposure to extreme cold.
Detainees complained of the air
conditioning in the building being very high. Many of them said that
they were frozen and asked for blankets, a request which was always
refused. Due to having only a single layer of shirt and sleeping on
concrete floors, the cages were extremely cold.
Sexual harassment of women and Queer people.
We heard many
first-hand accounts of cat-calls and crude sexual comments directed at
women from police officers at the Centre. Some women faced inappropriate
sexual contact (including one girl who was forced to endure a police
officer covering her body with detainee number stickers in order to
touch her), and rough handling from police officers. Openly Queer boys
were told to “straighten up,” and there was at least one completely nude
strip search preformed on a young woman with no reasonable explanation.
It is unclear whether the strip searches that took place were
consistently conducted by members of the same gender. It is also unclear
as to whether any Transpeople, if detained, were put in cells of a
gender of their own determination or in cells of a police gender
Youth as young as 15 in adult cells.
Youth (under 18) detainees
were held in the same cells as adults, some of whom had not been charged
at all (and thus it could not be justified that they were being held on
adult charges). A 16-year-old was held in an adult cell for at least 12
hours, the police were fully aware of his age, and his parents were at
no point contacted.
Denial of legal counsel.
When detainees asked to see lawyers they
were told that they would receive legal counsel at a later time or at
the time of processing. Often, these times went by and no legal counsel
was provided. Those released without charge were told to avoid
contacting lawyers. Most detainees said they were never informed of
No phone call.
About only one in ten of the detainees we spoke to
had been given access to a phone. Others were promised access at a
later time and never received it. There was a father waiting outside for
his 20-year old son who had been arrested Saturday afternoon or
evening, and had yet to receive a call. Many of the detainees were told
that only 20 phones were available in the building, holding over 500
detainees at the time. The offices of legal counsel also had no
Most detainees reported that at least
some of their confiscated belongings were not returned to them,
including passports, wallets, credit and debit cards, money, cellphones
and clothing. When detainees were escorted outside the Centre, many were
made to walk on the street without access to their shoes (sealed in
thick plastic bags only returned at the limit of the Centre’s property).
Some shoes were missing entirely. At least one extremely visually
impaired detainee’s glasses were put with his belongings and were
severely damaged when he recovered them (ie. broken in half).
Threats of assault/harassment.
Many detainees, but especially
French Canadian detainees (who were not served in French), were taunted
and threatened with assault. Homophobic slurs were used by guards and
one was told that if he was ever seen again in Toronto the cop would
attack him. Other degrading comments were made, including telling
detainees that they “looked like dogs.”
Obviously illegal civilian arrests.
Some civilians who were
completely uninvolved in the demonstrations were arrested while exiting
subway stations in the downtown core. Some were arrested after illegal
searches of cars turned up “dangerous goods” (like books about activism
and lemon juice). One fully-uniformed TTC streetcar driver was arrested
for hours. He had been ordered out of his streetcar by riot police and
was immediately arrested. We wish we were kidding.
No access to medication or medical treatment.
While doing medical
support, Lex met at least two people who had been denied medication.
The first was a woman who said that she was pre-diabetic and needed
medication for nausea and dizziness. She was denied access to medical
treatment, despite the fact that by the time Lex found her she was
extremely faint, barely conscious, and had difficulty sitting up. The
second was a young man who was prescribed anti-psychotics and had missed
several doses (he did not, however, have an episode at the time Lex met
him). We heard stories of at least one person with Type 2 diabetes
inside the Centre who had been deprived of insulin and fell unconscious.
Many stories of a man handcuffed to a wheelchair, missing a leg (and
his prosthetic) came from the released detainees. One recently-released
detainee had four extremely poorly done stitches on his chin and was
uncertain as to what shots (whether tetanus or anesthetic, or both) he
was given. He was given the stitches at the time of his arrest and the
wound was still bleeding badly (we had to sterilize it and applied
Despite all of the above mentioned crimes against
detainees, most notably including medical issues, the Toronto Police had
no plan for the detainees after they were released. They were simply
escorted off the property and told to leave. Many had no idea where they
were, had no access to a phone, had not eaten in a day, had no
identification or money on their person, and were nowhere near mass
transit. Had community volunteers and fellow released detainees not been
present to assist them, we fear that some could have faced
life-threatening medical emergencies or death.
We will be continually updating this blog over the next few weeks.
Please share this with everyone you possibly can. People must know what
has happened in Toronto. For those of you attending the Jail Solidarity
rally tomorrow, please distribute this link widely.
QUICK UPDATE: Its been five hours since we posted this entry and
it’s climbing by hundreds of hits every half hour. According to those on
the ground, detainees leaving the Centre seem to now be avoiding the
group of supporters outside waiting for them. We fear this is due to
police intimidation within 629 Eastern Ave.. If anyone has further
reports, please post in the comment section.
Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill
G20 Toronto Protests - Government in Denial About the Police Brutality and Illegal Arrests Over The Weekend, and Protest right now against Police Brutality @ Nathan Phillips Square
David Miller and our need to know
Torontonians woke up this morning wanting answers. Most of the protests this weekend were peaceful. Most of the
protesters this weekend were peaceful. And yet. Mass arrests. Detainees denied water for hours and kept in cuffs for
more than a day. Assaulted journalists. Toronto's first ever use of tear
In a stunning moment of denial, a stunning moment of incomprehension,
or a stunning failure of courage, David Miller betrayed Toronto today
by failing to call for an independent inquiry into security and police
procedures during the G20.
Calling for a inquiry is not a confession of wrongdoing but an
admission that there is are pressing matters—matters whose significance
extends beyond specific individuals involved and to the broader
community—which demand concerted, coherent, independent, and public
investigation and analysis.
Mayor Miller: "I thought the Toronto Police Service acted with admirable
professionalism in dealing with those violent protesters," Miller said
this morning. And they did. That says nothing about how police (perhaps
of several services) dealt with entirely non-violent protesters. From
all appearances police exercised far less restraint Sunday than they did
Saturday, which is striking because the violent protest was on
Saturday, not Sunday. Police actions on Sunday appear, from the outside,
to have been pre-emptive and motivated by fear rather than any imminent
Dalton McGuinty is
refusing to answer questions about the expanded powers police were
granted for the summit. That's why we need an inquiry, which will help
us all better understand what happened, and will help both politicians
and police authorities understand what changes may need to be made in
security procedures for the future.
Torontonians woke up this morning wanting answers. Torontonians
deserve answers, and we deserve a mayor who will fight to get them.
Protest against Police Brutality
And, the police brutality and disregard for the law (illegal arrests and inhumane treatment) and civil rights over the weekend has given rise to a new protest today outside the Toronto police headquarters at 40 College St. What began at about 5:30 as a few hundred, has grown to about 1,000+ people by 6:30pm
The protesters marched from the police station on College, down University, along Queen to Nathan Phillips Square.
At Nathan Phillips square #g20report http://tweetphoto.com/29728810 Monday June 28 2010 7:54pm
A person just got snatched behind me the entire rally just stopped and
demanded his release #G20report (he got released) Monday June 28 2010 7:47pm
CBC showed up with their own security. #wtf? #g20 #g20report http://twitpic.com/20tuvm Monday June 28 2010 7:46pm
http://twitvid.com/S35TP - A quick
video clip of the crowd protesting police brutality #g20 #g20report #fb Monday June 28 2010 7:34pm
Activists Naomi Klein and Judy Rebick are expected to speak at the rally
Monday, June 28, 2010
9:32 a.m. 15-year-old held in detention centre
Keith MacDonald has just been released from the Eastern Ave.
detention centre to cheers and clapping from the crowd.
He contends police inside the detention centre are just telling
people what they think they want to hear. A 15-year-old boy has been in
there for 33 hours, he says, and they told him 10 hours ago they called
MacDonald, who is in his late teens or early 20s, says he was
arrested at Queen and Noble in Parkdale yesterday at 3 p.m. when police
were arresting anyone who wasn't part of the media.
He says he was wearing a black T-shirt and black pants, with a shaved
head and a bandanna. He says he was charged with a raft of things,
including obstruction of police, but all charges were dropped.
9:59 a.m. 15-year-old released after 33 hours
15-year-old Liam has just walked free of the Eastern Ave. detention
centre, where he has been held since very early Sunday morning.
Liam, who goes to Central Tech, says he was down on the Esplanade
just before midnight on Saturday night when he was arrested.
"If you're a citizen of Toronto watching the protest, you've got to
expect to be detained," he says.
A sergeant called his parents after 24 hours but he was not able to
speak with them.
"I'm pretty sure my parents are going to be upset."
The police surrounded a large group of people and "once they
surrounded us, they said we should have just left because we were all
Wearing an orange T-shirt and jeans, the babyfaced Liam has short,
almost shaved dark blond hair and stands about 5-foot-5. He says he was
held with three others in the young offenders' cell and they've all been
released without charges.
The small crowd outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre is making
posters now, including one that says "Amnesty for the Toronto 900."
There are granola bars, apples, bananas, strawberries, pakoras and a
big bag of popcorn for them to eat.
10:51 a.m. Trinty-Bellwoods resident disputes police version
A man who lives in the Trinty-Bellwoods neighbourhood says he was
just on his way home last night when he was corralled in the
intersection of Queen and Spadina and forced to spent nearly four hours
there in the pouring rain.
"We were just trying to go home," Richard Beer told CP24 this
morning. "We were boxed in with nowhere to go."
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says people inside the human wall of
police in the intersection were given three chances to leave. Beer says
they weren't. And Star reporter Raveena Aulakh, who also spent
hours in the intersection, says there was nothing said by police that
people could leave.
Before police boxed people in, she had heard they shouted a warning.
But not afterwards.
Most of the people standing around him in the downpour were just
bystanders, Beer says.
A friend who volunteered to go was sent single file through a police
line but then was put into a Court Services van and taken to
Scarborough. Hours later, she was dropped off at Kennedy subway station,
where Beer and friends collected her.
Blair insisted earlier this morning that people were asked to leave
three times. The ones who stayed, in his opinion, were "facilitating"
the others in the group intent on violence.
11:11 a.m. Accusations of strip-search on women by male
Three people in their 20s have just held a news conference to talk
about police treatment during the summit.
Amy Miller, Jesse Rosenfeld and Adam MacIsaac describe themselves as
independent media and allege police refused to accept their ID. They
didn't have G20 media accreditation, but say they did have ID.
Miller, who lives in Montreal, charges male police officers gave
women a full strip search and many returned to their cells at the
Eastern Ave. detention centre traumatized and crying.
MacIsaac says he was repeatedly kicked in the ribs and stunned with a
stun gun. He showed the marks on his body. He says police ignored him
when he told them that he has a pacemaker. The incident happpened at
Bloor and St. Thomas, he says.
MacIsaac is from Prince Edward Island.
Rosenfeld, who lives in the Middle East, says he was reporting for
the British newspaper The Guardian, which has described him as a
contributor to their open Comment is free website. MacIsaac says he had
$6,000 in camera equipment stolen and was told to "file a complaint" to
get it back.
All three, who were held for many hours in the detention centre
before being released today, say they haven't filed complaints yet, but
are considering it.
12:07 p.m. Two held with pocket knives
out for a walk when both were arrested yesterday and found themselves
at the Eastern Ave. detention centre.
Both had pocket knives on them and face concealed weapons charges.
Enns, who is studying to be a math student, says he was strip searched
and moved from cell to cell, unable to talk to a lawyer.
He was "passing peace" to officers on the front lines when four
officers took him into custody. He was wearing a black T-shirt that
He says he was driven around for hours and spent five hours in pain
because he had to pee. "I hope this is cleared up so I'll be able to
teach," he says. He says he uses is dollar-store knife to cut fruit.
Breed, a security guard at Molson Amphitheatre, says he and his
girlfriend were watching the bike rally and thinking about brunch when
he was taken into custody. His girlfriend, waiting outside the detention
centre for him, had lawyers numbers scrawled in her arm.
of people, possibly 500, have taken over the eastbound lanes of College
St., between Bay St. and Yonge St, in front of police headquarters.
Chanting "Shame!" and "2-4-6-8- We don't want a police state."
Journalists Illegally Detained and Searched en Mass
Mass Civil Liberties Violations Being Reported City Wide in G20 Aftermath
Toronto - Hundreds of illegal detentions and searches have became
common place this weekend for everyday Toronto residents and protesters
while Alternative Media Centre (AMC) journalists have also been subject
to mass illegal searches, detainments, 8 arrests without charge and 1
arrest for breaching the peace.
Dozens of AMC journalists have reported illegal searches and
detainments by police. Police are not allowed to detain, search or
arrest people without a charge (or their consent in the case of a
search), unless they are caught commiting a crime or unless the police
believe a terrorist activity is taking place.
Over 900 arrests have been reported during the G20 Summit making this
the largest mass arrest in Canada's history. Many have been arrested
without charges and held in small cages crammed with protesters for
hours or even days.
An AMC journalist was seriously injured when a stun device was used
on him while filming an illegal search. The journalist had a pacemaker
and was rushed to hospital.
Meanwhile, AMC journalists Maxx Lennox and Brianna Chatwin were
witnessed being illegally searched while covering events in Downtown
Toronto on Sunday. Isaac, a friend with Maxx at the time, recounted
that both were walking around the corner at 4:15pm when police saw that
Chatwin had a bandana. A Constable, Badge # 10038, confiscated the
banada informing her that "We're taking all banadas so you can't put it
on," and stated it was "a new order." Chatwin said police did not
believe that she was media.
Both Chatwin and Lennox say they were also stopped an hour and a half
before near College subway station by Toronto Police Services officers
who were not wearing badge numbers and refusing to identify themselves.
When asking for police identification, Lennox said that police responded
"we don't have to respond to your questions" and "protesters took our
ID". Police are required to show badge numbers under the law. Chatwin
also said that police told her, "If you take my photo, I'll smash your
Two other AMC journalists who happened upon Lennox and Chatwin's
detainment took photos and repeatedly asked police what grounds they
were using to search both journalists as neither had consented to a
search. Police told both that they were "blocking the sidewalk" and
that if they did not walk away from the illegal detention, they would be
arrested for "obstruction of justice". Constable's #10430 and #9909
took photos of all the journalists and repeatedly threatened AMC
journalists with arrest.
All 4 were eventually allowed to leave.
Here is some video footage of what was being mentioned in the this post:
There are 3 videos.
In part one, the vandals are in the background smashing windows, and you can see the police are standing a couple of blocks away on a side street not doing anything. And there are some other people milling around but not vandalizing, but watching the vandals.
In parts 2 and 3 you can see more police showing up on the side street and they eventually begin to head down an alleyway. Meanwhile, a lot of vandalism has been allowed to happen un-checked.
Video Part One
Video Part Two
Video Party Three
Why were there no police marching along beside the protesters or spread out along the route (which is normal practice in Toronto)? If they had done this, they would have been able to stop the vandalism on the spot and nab those responsible. Who convinced the police that they should abandon tried and true practices and be afraid of the peaceful protesters (thus allowing the few vandals free reign)? Why did the police then take revenge on the innocent peaceful protesters (because they missed their chance to stop and arrest the vandals) for the rest of the weekend by beating and arresting them?
And, there is this video from a photo journalist who actually followed the black block for 1.5 hours and said that there were no police around during their rampage of vandalism. They even smashed windows at the police station on College without being stopped! Curious.
G20 Toronto Black Block Get Green Light To Rampage?
Posterchild's rendition of Stephen Harper in riot gear.
URGENT: Warning about increased police powers near the security zone | Toronto Media Co-op
From hundreds of eyewitness accounts and videos and photos we know that:
- Hundreds of innocent peaceful protesters, as well as passers-by, clearly marked impartial observers, and a number of journalists were arrested and detained
- Many of those detained were treated inhumanely during their detention
- Hundreds of innocent peaceful protesters were attacked and beaten by police
- A few organized masked and black-clad people managed to vandalize store-fronts, police cruisers and set fire to some police cruisers while the police did nothing to stop any of this.
- The burning police cars: At least the first one, was allowed to burn for at least 20 minutes before the fire was put out. Photos and videos showed that there was no reason that police or firemen could not have dealt with the fire right away.
- Were the black masked vandals undercover police or people organized by the police? If not, why were they allowed to vandalize, while peaceful protesters were attacked, arrested and detained? If they were undercover police or people organized by the police, and this is found out, will the MSM report this and will we direct our police to not do this again?
- Why were the police directed to allow the vandalism to occur?
- Why were the police directed to allow police cars to remain burning when the fires could have been put out and no one was keeping them from getting to the cars, and the burning cars were a potential safety hazard as they had gasoline in them? Or, were the cars planted in place with fuel drained from them so they would not be so hazardous?
- Why were the police directed to brutally attack and arrest hundreds of innocent peaceful protesters?
- Why were the police directed to brutally attack and arrest journalists?
- Why were the police directed to arrest uniformed CCLA observers?
- Why were the police directed to not allow people detained phone calls or water or to go to the bathroom?
- Why were so many police called in from all over the country, when, it is obvious from past evidence of protests, and from the evidence of the day, that a normal amount of police could have dealt with the few violent protesters (were they so directed to do so), and ensured safety around/amongst the thousands of peaceful protesters?
I have nothing against the police. The individual officers on the street were following orders. What concerns me is whoever was directing the police actions and why they made the decisions they did to do what was done (or not done). Also, did the host of the G20, the Harper government, have anything to do with the decisions of direction of the security forces over the weekend? Remember Mike Harris and Ipperwash? Did something like that play out here in Toronto over the weekend? Did those responsible for directing the security forces follow suggestions from Stephen Harper or someone from his office or someone from his government?
I'm not seeing any of these questions in the MSM. Why are they not asking these questions?
I'll leave you with a very disturbing video - peaceful protesters on Sunday evening, stood and sang our national anthem on Queen Street near Spadina Ave. As soon as they were done, the police attacked them.
I've discovered that the RCMP were responsible for the security inside the Summit security perimeter and that the Toronto Police were responsible for the security forces outside the perimeter. So, the police in question above were under the authority of police chief Bill Blair. So, he has some questions to answer. But so far, all he is saying is that if there was any wrongdoing, it will be looked into - just follow the proper channels to lodge a complaint.
We need some organization to help facilitate this process for all those who were brutalized and detained, and who had their legal rights violated in the arrest process and while being detained.
We might start by asking questions of our city councillors, especially if they sit on the Police Services Board.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
The last day of the G20, protesters ended up at Queen and Spadina. Soon after stopping the crowd police boxed them in and began grabbing them out 1 by 1 to arrest people. They were standing there peacefully, I'm not sure what the police's plan is.
Peaceful G20 Protest at Queen & Spadina
Sunday evening. Video. You now have to sign in to YouTube to see this video. This incident happened shortly before the above story, Boxed In at Queen & Spadina.
Peaceful protesters sang the Canadian National Anthem. As soon as they were done, the police attacked them.
After being boxed in, about 100 police arrested the 50 remaining protesters, passers-by, and anyone else who was caught in the cordon. (Toronto Star blog)
CBC News 6pm: G20 arrest tally hits 562
CBC News 9:33pm: G20 crowds, police engage in standoffs
Arrests now at 604
Arrests in Parkdale: About 80 people were detained and some were seen being strip-searched in front of Parkdale Community Legal Services on Queen Street West. About 40 of them had been preparing to board a bus bound for Quebec when the police surrounded them, freelance journalist Rebecca Granofvsky-Larsen told CBC News.
From CBC's Amber Hildebrandt:
Twelve. That's the number of times Mike and James say they've been stopped
by police in the streets of downtown Toronto today.
When I caught up with them, a gaggle of police officers surrounded James north of the Queen St. W. and Soho corner. He was stuffing items back into his bag just as the latest round of cops asked to see what he had with him. "I just got searched!" he said.
Among the areas where the pair were searched Sunday: University, King, Adelaide, Bay and Wellington. "Just everytime we run into a group of officers," said James.
The police, they said, told them why they were being searched: both of
them were wearing black clothing, the uniform of choice for the Black Bloc.
"It's definitely no fun," said Mike, who didn't want to give his name. "I
personally think it's an invasion of privacy."
Toronto Star Blog:
8:45 p.m. Five observers from Canadian Civil Liberties Association arrested
Five observers from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have been arrested this weekend.
The four men and one woman are volunteers, trained to take notes to document both police and protesters’ behaviours at the demonstrations during the G20 Summit, said Nathalie Des Rosiers, the general counsel for the Association.
Des Rosiers said that the first two observers were arrested on Saturday night in front of the Novotel hotel on the Esplanade when a peaceful protest turned into a mass arrest. The other three were arrested late Sunday afternoon at the Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. standoff.
“We are quite distressed by these arrests,” said Des Rosiers.
All were wearing their white uniform, including a white hat with CCLA on it. They also have cards identifying them as impartial onlookers, said Des Rosiers, who confirmed that the Integrated Security Unit is aware of the observers’ presence at the protests.
“We have no idea what they have been charged with,” said Des Rosiers. “And that’s the concern.”
One of the observers was released after being detained for 16 hours. “He is still in shock,” said Des Rosiers, who added that he described his experience as chaotic. He also told her that the cages at the detention centre were full of garbage.
Similar monitors were dispatched at the Vancouver Olympics to watch over the protests there – none of those observers were arrested, said Des RosiersTorontoist Blog:
9:22 PM: Two of the National Post's photographers—Brett Gundlock and Colin O'Connor—were arrested and in custody for twenty-four hours, including an overnight stay at Eastern Avenue's temporary detention centre. The Post has more, including photos of Gundlock as he was tackled by police officers.
National Post - Posted Toronto: Post photographers spend night in detention centre
3:04 p.m. Arrest total reaches 550
Police now confirm a total of 550 G20-related arrests this weekend – and more are expected, officials say. At 9 a.m. today, the official count was 480.
3:26 p.m. Toronto jail conditions "Deplorable"
Legal observer from Toronto Mobilization Network is calling conditions in at the Eastern Ave. detention centre "deplorable." He says arrested protesters "often not being given timely access to counsel."
At a news conference in Parkdale, he says protesters being denied water to drink for up to eight hours and are being crammed into small cells.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is denouncing what it is calling "sweeping arrests" of G20 protesters. Among the organization's concerns: the arrest of reporters and CCLA monitors, detainees not having access to lawyers, and suspension of the presumption of innocence.
More Individual News Stories:
What the media ignored: 25,000 peacefully demonstrate against G20 policies in Toronto
(thanks for the tip Andrea!)
CCLA denounces the sweeping arrests at G20
Toronto Police Services At Door of the Alternative Media Centre
Firsthand report of arrests, tear gas, beatings of peaceful demonstrators at detention centre
CBC News: Family hit by G20 raid say police overreached
CBC News: G20 Arrest Tally Reaches 562
Agent Provocateurs (undercover police or people hired/trained by the police to vandalize, act violently, to try to get other protesters to act violently, and to give the general protesters a bad name)
From updates at Toronto Media Coop
12:48pm - police break up protest outside the Eastern Ave detention centre with batons and rubber bullets and tear gas.
Just after 1pm a bicycle rally began to gather at Spadina and Bloor
1:17pm - police are at the downtown bus terminal asking to see the ID of some of the young people leaving Toronto.
Prayer vigil at Church and King. People sitting peacefully and handing out prayers. They plan to march to the security perimeter fence on Wellington and sit and pray. So far the group is about 150 people.
By 1:20pm the bike rally at Spadina and Bloor has grown from about 50 cyclists to about 400. The bike rally heads through U of T campus.
from the Toronto Star blog:
1:53 p.m Civil Liberties group says rights violated
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it is concerned about the conditions of detention of those arrested in this weekend's G20 demonstrations.
Many people are being denied access to lawyers, they are unable to contact their families and the organization has heard that there are no plans for prompt release, the CCLA says.
Toronto police do not appear to be making serious attempts to provide access to lawyers or information, the group says, branding this as a serious violation of basic rights of hundreds of people.
The CCLA also questions whether the policing is proportionate to the threat.
2:16 p.m. Amnesty International wants independent inquiry
Amnesty International is asking the Canadian and Ontario governments to launch an independent review of the security measures for the G8 and G20 summits.
The international human rights groups wants the review to look at the impact of security measures, including decisions about the locations for the summits and the protection of human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.
They also want a review of how police operations and the use of legal provisions under the Public Works Protection Act have affected the rights of thousands of people living, working and operating businesses within and near the G20 security zone.2:58pm - Prayer group now stopped at King and Bay. All peaceful. The police are giving them space.
More from the Toronto Star blog:
2:37 p.m. Getting used to police searches
About 15 police officers stationed at the southwest corner of Queen and Bay Sts. are stopping and searching males with backpacks.
For Caleb Eisen of Welland, who is here visiting a friend, this afternoon's search was his third this weekend.
The 16-year-old says he was nervous the first time but is now used to it, and even laughed and joked with police as they went through his belongings.
He's visiting friend Samuel Ng, 19, of Toronto. Another friend, 18-year-old Marshall Biller of Fort Erie, has also been searched three times this weekend.
The trio say they haven't been involved in any protests.
And other G20 news.
Watch the video.
And in that confusion, several hundred people changed their clothes
and took off together running down queen street while thousands of riot
cops picked their noses. In full police view, they let a mob destroy
banks and trash Yonge street.
"And while riot cops had shields AND bikes and thousands of dollars
in body armor to protect them from the remaining peaceful protestors,
somehow they were so scared of us that they abandoned police cars."
The police spokesperson told Metro Morning today that they waited
until later when it was safer to make arrests but that cannot be true.
I was there and like David I believe the cops could have arrested the
Black Bloc right at the beginning of the action but they abandoned
their police cars and allowed them to burn, not even calling the fire
department until the media had lots of time to photograph them. They
had a water cannon but they didn't even use a fire extinguisher. Why?
A comment released to a media outlet last night from official police
spokesperson tells some of the story, " We have never tried to curtail
people's rights to lawfully protest. All you have to do is turn on the
TV and see what's happening now. Police cars are getting torched,
buildings are being vandalized, people are getting beat up and the
so-called "intimidating" police presence is essential to restoring
order. That is the reality on the ground."
Police playing politics, justifying the expense and responding to the
critiques building all week about excessive and arbitrary police
powers. A politicized police force is unacceptable in a democratic
society. There are serious questions that must be answered and they
have not been satisfactory answered.
People were shocked last night by a city out of control but the
Toronto police--without all the huge expenditures, extra police from
across the country and sophisticated new toys-- have kept the peace in
riots with a lot more people and in hundreds of demonstrations much
larger and often angry. I disagree with torching police cars and
breaking windows and I have been debating these tactics for decades with
people who think they accomplish something. But the bigger question
here is why the police let it happen and make no mistake the police did
let it happen. Why did the police let the city get out of control?
And they did let it get out of control. The police knew exactly what
would happen and how.
Watt was there when the first police car was torched, "The officers
clustered and formed a line. A second picket of officers lined up
behind them, facing the crowd where I stood. They started to move, but
they weren't clearing the street; they were clearing out and abandoning
two police cars, including the one with the shattered windshield...
In moments like this, someone needs to make a decision. This time it
was a man in dreadlocks and no shirt, red paint all over his torso. He
moved towards the police car, grabbing the squawking police radio...
"Following the lead of the dreadlocked man, someone else pulled what
looked like a leather folder from inside the car and spread its contents
over the trunk. A kid wearing sunglasses, his face covered by a scarf,
inspected the paperwork. Soon after, the squad cars would be on fire.
(The gas cap appeared to have been removed from one of them even before
the crowd moved in.)"
for "dangerous anarchists" after a week of peaceful protests. No more
than one hundred, probably fewer, young men who think violent
confrontations with the police will create a radicalization and expose
the violence of the state. A new generation of young people who are
becoming activists believing they live in a democratic society and are
shocked by the degree of police violence arrayed to stop them.
Bloc tactics run wild and then used the burning police cars and violent
images as a media campaign to convince the people of Toronto that the
cost and the excessive police presence was necessary. They knew what
would happen and they knew how
it would happen. It is the police that bear the responsibility for
what happened last night. They were responsible for keeping the peace
and they failed to do it.
70 people, sleeping in dorms at U of T were woken and arrested.
Protesters march from Jimmie Simpson Park to the Eastern Ave detention centre
Police deploy a smoke bomb in the crowd of protesters at Queen and Pape.
Police charge protesters at detention centre
12:35 p.m. Panic, arrests at jail rally, riot police arrive
Hundreds of riot police have shown up in two buses and at least 10
vans on Logan Ave. south of Queen. It seems they're all heading to
outside of detention centre.
At least two people have arrested as a rally at the Eastern Ave.
jail turned violent after police snatched people out of the crowd,
Police later forced the crowd north to Queen with batons and fired
at least three shots from concussion guns.
Just after noon, unmarked vans showed up at the protest; police with
batons and shields started to storm the group, hitting and pushing
people, apparently trying to grab people.
“The protesters dispersed on Pape and agreed to meet at Queen and
Pape to regroup,” reports the Star’s Brendan Kennedy. “People
are taking stock of what just happened.”
The protesters have just moved to Queen, but they are scattered as
they walk away. Emergency Task Force officers, with gas masks and stun
guns, are along Eastern and Queen telling people to move onto the
Later, at 12:48am
The protest was broken up by police using batons and rubber bullets.
Tasers were drawn, but not used. Some people were arrested. No tear gas
American protester tries to gain Obama's attention with his sign
i saw police brutality tonight. it was unnecessary. they asked me to
leave the site or they would arrest me. i told them i was dong my job.
they repeated they would arrest me if i didn't leave. as i was escorted
away from the demonstration, i saw two officers hold a journalist.
the journalist identified himself as working for "the guardian." he
talked too much and pissed the police off. two officers held him....
a third punched him in the stomach. totally unnecessary. the man
collapsed. then the third officer drove his elbow into the man's back.
no cameras recorded the assault. and it was an assault.
the officer who escorted me away from the demo said, "yeah, that
shouldn't have happened." he is correct. there was no cause for it.
i can appreciate that the police were on edge today, after seeing four
or five of their cruisers burned. but why such overreaction tonight?
the demonstration on the esplanade was peaceful. it was like an old sit
in. no one was aggressive. and yet riot squad officers moved in.
police on one side screamed at the crowd to leave one way. then police
on the other side said leave the other way. there was no way out.
so the police just started arresting people. i stress, this was a
peaceful, middle class, diverse crowd. no anarchists
literally more than 100 officers with guns pointing at the crowd. rubber
bullets and smoke bombs ready to be fired. rubber bullets fired
i was "escorted" away by police so couldn't see how many arrested, but
it must have been dozens.
we must make a distinction between the "thugs" who broke store windows
and torched cop cars and the very reasonable citizens who...
...just wanted to remind the authorities that the freedom to speak and
assemble shouldn't disappear because world leaders come to town.
i have lived in toronto for 32 years. have never seen a day like this.
shame on the vandals.
and shame on those that ordered peaceful protesters attacked and
arrested. that is not consistent with democracy in toronto, G20 or no