I witnessed what I think was the first instance of violence during the Saturday march, at Queen St. and John St.: a group called No One Is Illegal, protesting against immigration policies tried to break off from the main march. In previous interviews, they had expressed that the fence around the world leaders was a symbol of the fences and borders that oppress people every day, and for them, it was an important strategy to approach the fence and protest it. However, their attempt to move down the street to the fence was blocked by police who didn’t hesitate to use batons against those at the front of the march. I was with a good friend who has medical training and helped her get four, then five people out of the way of the advancing, violent police line. I held a man as blood poured out of his head, down his face and on to my friends jacket, dripping on my pants. My friend, who could see his skull through the deep gash, covered the wound and told him to hold it. Calls to 911 were fruitless: the ambulance never came. Another man with a head-wound next to me was going into shock. The medics with him loudly asked the crowd that was still marching past us to give us any extra clothing they had on, to cover him and to hold his spinal cord steady. People threw us their extra sweaters, and t-shirts. The man’s eyes stared into nothingness, flickered and glassed over, and no ambulance came for half an hour. We called 911 so many times. I personally approached police officers who were dressed in the green jackets of the “Community Relations” police, and asked them to intervene, to let medical help through the blockades they had set up along all sides of the street. They said they could do nothing.
The march had already long passed us by. We heard, however, that police had deployed tear gas and the back of the march was doubling back and coming back through where we were, so we had to make a decision. We decided to move the injurd, even though there was a rish of furthering spinal chord injuries. We held the first man with the head injury between us, and walked him and another less woozy guy all the way to Mt. Sinai Hospital. We left the man who was almost unconscious with three other medics behind. They were going to use five people to try to move him into a van, to get him somewhere an ambulance would pick him up. I know it took them a long, long time to accomplish that. We all thought he was going to die.
That was the most dramatic situation I was in.
However, I was at several demo’s that were kettled by police. I posted one video here:
After this, there was a negotiation during which the police said that if people dispersed peacefully, they would let them go. They made us wait what seemed like an eternity in that emotionally and physically charged situation. People were crying, there were a few differently abled people who were especially vulnerable. They said: leave through the west, but they didn’t open a spot through which we could leave. Instead, they doubled up the line of riot cops to the west, and then changed the formation so that it was more spaced out. They held up their shields, some held batons, and they made us walk through one by one , weaving through the now four lines of the loose formation of cops. As people walked through, they were felt up by cops, and some bags subjected to illegal searches (illegal because the person would say “This is a violation of my rights” but stopped short of denying consent, because it was very clear what the result of that would be: immediate arrest). My medic friend was searched in this way: a police officer said “This one has a heavy bag!” And pulled her by her arm to prevent her from leaving. After going through her gauze, bandages, water bottles, etc, he let her go.We left quickly. I have heard mixed reports about what happened to some of the people who were behind us. Some were, indeed, arrested.
I was also at the clearing out of Queen’s Park by mounted police. There are several videos of that. What I witnessed was a long, long line of police corralling a peaceful crowd. Police on horses, police banging batons, police snatching people, people running scared, yet still being pushed back, threatened, and intimidated.
I was also at the march against police brutality yesterday. I was subjected to several illegal searches. In my opinion, the police force got entirely out of hand, criminalized journalists and peaceful protesters, and must respond to their actions.
My story of Saturday was posted first here: http://www.j-source.ca/english_new/detail.php?id=5308#ixzz0sGJJwbGF
My coverage of G20 for OpenFile.ca is in progress, and will contain more mentions of things I saw. If you want more detail about anything you read in there, I’m willing. I also know several people who eye-witnessed other things, like police provocateurs breaking into a crowd and pushing people around. Also, they drove people to and from the film studios detention centre, hearing all the first hand accounts of intimidation and inhumane treatment of detainees.