I participated in the march on Saturday June 25 that left from Queen’s Park. As the march approached John Street on Queen, some sections of the march attempted to turn left on John. The sight of a full line of riot police indicated that this was not going to be possible. There were some speeches, but otherwise it was just a standoff with no altercations by either side. However at some point the riot police received an order to advance and began moving forward. I somewhat expected this and gradually the crowd began to move backwards, but during this process what I did not expect to happen was for demonstrators to be struck by police batons for not moving quickly enough or for another unknown, unannounced reason. I was struck on the shoulder, leaving no skin under the shirt on the part of the shoulder where I was struck. My girlfriend, who was standing next to me and calm, was struck on the head, arm, hips, and kicked in the leg by a police officer, leaving a large bruise. She later vomited and suffered from blurry vision. Medics at the scene diagnosed a concussion and we left for a hospital with some friends before the day got too heated. It is my belief that unprovoked actions like these by the police contributed towards the anger that was displayed later in the march. It’s one of those things that don’t come across in TV reports but that you can feel viscerally when you are physically present.
I also participated in an earlier demonstration on Thursday June 23 for native land rights. As people were gathering in Queen’s Park, I noticed a beefcake-looking man filming a meeting of the native peace-keepers for the day’s march. I took a photo of him with my phone. He then approached me and stepped on foot and came within 4 inches of my face and asked what I thought I was doing. I refused to answer and asked him why he was filming this meeting of the marshals for the march. He responded that he was trying to sell photos (he was holding a video camera). I told him to get his story straight, move my foot from under his and walked away. I was certain that he was a police officer and I think that the conduct of plainclothes police is another matter that deserves a full investigation. I did not appreciate his attempts to intimidate and provoke me.