This is but one of many terrible incidents I either experienced or witnessed first hand while in Toronto for the G20.
It began while myself and a few peers were walking down Queen st west and saw a group of people being harassed by an even larger group of police. We were in town as part of the student contingent of the peoples march, simply trying to raise awareness for the issues surrounding education world wide.
While politely asking officers questions such as “how long is your work day” “Did you have a choice to be here” I was assaulted with a riot shield. Minutes later, in an effort to cut the tension, a man got naked and marched slowly toward the front of the crowd, gaining laughs and applause. I proceeded to ask one of the officers what the protocol for dealing with a naked protester was, but did not have to wait for an answer. Almost immediately, I was speared in the ribs by a police baton and pushed to the ground as the police line charged forward, swallowing and arresting the naked man. The remaining crowd was then ordered to disperse, despite being surrounded on all sides by police who where marching ever closer together. At this point everyone assumed we all were going to be beaten and arrested; many were visibly shaken, embracing loved ones and crying. In an effort to show our peaceful nature we began to sing the national anthem, however the second this nervous rendition was over, police charged again, beating and arresting more innocent people. Media agents were also abused, along with their equipment. Luckily amateur video was captured, and exists on YouTube, corroborating my version of events from multiple angles. Many individuals in the crowd that I spoke to were shocked as they had simply been on their way home from work or were out shopping. We were detained there for quite some time before being released only after large media outlets arrived.
Upon leaving the scene, myself and many other peaceful observers were stopped multiple times by various groups of police. They demanded identification and searches of bags and persons, without cause, and under the threat of physical violence, detention and legal action. They also stole inert personal items such as flags, shoe laces, jewelry and even a textbook. Any question as to why things were searched or seized, or under which aspect of the law such actions were warranted were met with further threats and use of physical force. It was scary and shameful.