Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Day After G20 Riot in Toronto, Ontario

Saturday (June 26, 2010) was a day of violence and rioting in Toronto, Ontario.  The Ontario government had quietly given the police extra powers by declaring the G20 security zone a public work under the Public Works Protection Act (1939).  The G20 protests started on the 25th with anti-G20 demonstrations some of which included the Black Bloc anarchists who have since been blamed for the rioting that followed.  As the world looked on at the damage and mayhem in Toronto, many blaming the police for not acting to curb the riot, little did they know that less than 24 hours later there would be accusations and compelling video evidence of police brutality and their blatant abuse of power.  In addition to that there would be claims of the police denying civil liberties and conducting a huge social injustice.

From the get go on Sunday (June 27, 2010) the police showed a much different face to the public and that was very apparent.  Like many I was watching the new coverage of events in Toronto hoping that Sunday would see a peaceful day.  That was not to be.  Those arrested on Saturday were taken to a temporary detention centre located at 629 Eastern Avenue in Toronto.  Friends of those detained gathered outside the detention centre to demonstrate about 1 am early Sunday morning.  The police acted.  Later that morning the police came on even heavier handed with demonstrators wanting their friends released.  As detainees were released word of conditions inside the detention spread adding fuel to already angry protesters.  Tensions rose throughout the day with several skirmishes and smaller protests throughout the downtown area but this time the police acted with military precision.  A larger protest headed down Queen Street stopping at Spadina to block the intersection so the police took a hard line and here is where things get nasty.

According to the police three warnings were issued for the protesters and bystanders to leave the area or be arrested.  They then performed a military tactic blocking all those remaining in the area on all four sides preventing anyone within the cordoned off area from leaving.  They finally let a few reporters go and the rain started.  They systematically removed a few individuals from the blocked crowd to arrest them.  All the while it was pouring rain.  Within the crowd there were citizens who had been caught up in the coral who were not allowed to leave even though they had not been part of the protest group.  In the end after about 4 hours of standing in the pouring rain with no washroom facilities, no way of letting their friends or relatives know what was going on, and no explanation as to why they were being detained, the police suddenly let the remaining people in the area go.

According to those being detained the police had already rounded up those in the crowd they were looking for.  Many have claimed to be residents from the area that had been trying to get home that suddenly found themselves in the wrong spot at the wrong time.  There were reports of some within the contained area being out simply to walk their dog and others claimed to be there to take pictures of what they viewed as a historic event.  Others blocked from leaving were members of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Toronto Community Mobilization Network.  The police have stated the saw a few doning masks a sign of the Black Bloc anarchists blamed for the previous day's riot.  For almost the entire duration of being detained at Queen and Spadina it poured rain.  Toronto was under a severe thunderstorm warning and there was localized flooding in the downtown Toronto area.

According to those watching the media coverage it quickly became quite apparent that the police were indeed abusing their power.  These people were blocked, prevented from leaving the area by the police, forced to stand in pouring rain under the threat of severe weather for about 4 hours.  They were not told why they were being detained, essentially denying them their civil rights.  In the end they were simply allowed to leave with no explanation.  This according to many was a gross abuse of police powers.  The conditions these people were held in were inhumane and many are calling it a social injustice.  Many immediately even before police released those remaining were calling for a public explanation of police actions. 


0 comments:

Post a Comment