Recollections Of A Concerned Citizen Who Was Detained At The G20 Summit
The year……..1984? The place………Torotanamo?
Crammed in a 5ft. x 8ft. cell with no shoes, on a cold concrete floor, air conditioning pumping down from above, no bench to sit on and no bathroom, with 5 other people who could just barely all sit at once if we arranged ourselves just right; I began to ponder why we had all ended up in this make-shift detention centre, when we would be released and exactly how many of our Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms had been erased so far.
On 26/06/2010, I was illegally detained by police while demonstrating in front of the Novotel at 45 The Esplanade. Myself and hundreds of other peaceful protesters where ‘kettled’, intimidated, attacked and subsequently arrested for the alleged ‘crime’ of ‘Breach of Peace’ even though we were never told to leave or given any possible way out of our police encirclement. I was held for over 19 hours with very limited access to water, food and a toilet. I saw many citizens being assaulted by police, and many bruised and battered people who had clearly also been the victims of police brutality and unchecked police aggression. The conditions that myself and my fellow detainees were held in can be described as nothing less than torturous! This is my story.
A friend and I planned to attend the protests during the day on 26/06/2010. However, after witnessing on television the property destruction and chaos ensuing in the downtown core, we decided to postpone our protest plans. Later that day after things had calmed down, Steve Da Silva and I drove into Toronto from the suburbs of Pickering and Ajax. I parked my car at The Keg Steakhouse at Wellesley and Gerrard and from there Steve and I set out for Yonge St. Once we reached Yonge, we saw a group of approx. 200 – 600 peaceful protesters marching down the middle of Yonge St. We joined the march.
It was the most liberating feeling I’ve ever felt before. To be walking down the middle of one of the busiest streets in the world with hundreds of my fellow citizens singing ‘Oh Canada’ and chanting various slogans – “WHO’S STREETS … OUR STREETS!”, “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” – gave me the greatest sense of unity I’ve ever felt in my life. This was a true example of democracy in action. Steve and I felt exhilarated to be part of it. We marched south on Yonge to Adelaide, west on Adelaide to Bay, south on Bay to King, then west along King until we cut through the TD Bank Tower plaza. We arrived at the billion dollar security fence just south of the TD Bank Tower on the steps leading down to Wellington. There the group stayed for 10 – 20 minutes singing ‘Oh Canada’. We were flanked by a large contingent of police (100 – 200) which pushed us back through the plaza onto Wellington in front of the Harry Rosen store. This would be the first time I was to encounter the notorious police practice of ‘kettling’, but certainly not the last.
By this time, the numbers of protesters had whittled down to approx. 200 – 400 people. We were ‘kettled’ in front of Harry Rosen with police lines cutting north to south across King to the west and east of us. Another police line was arranged east to west, blocking our exit to the south through the TD Bank Tower plaza which we had just walked through. There were a number of people sitting in the middle of the road, with the majority of the group standing on the north and south sidewalks of King. One of the protest leaders had a megaphone on which they announced that negotiations were underway with the police to arrange an exit path for our group. There was no communication from the police to the crowd which gave any instructions to leave, or to inform us that we were breaking any laws. The police line going north to south along King to the east of us retreated south to allow us to exit east along King. We then made our way to the east side of the fence and stopped at the intersection directly to the west of the Humming Bird Centre.
It began to rain then, but none of us were going anywhere. We were standing strong (rather, I should say we were sitting strong) along the road at the intersection of Yonge and Front. At this point, one of the protest leaders gave an announcement on the megaphone inviting any of us to say a few words and let our voices be amplified even further. One of the protesters on the megaphone demanded that a delegate of the G20 Summit come out to our location to hear our grievances and concerns about the inequality and undemocratic nature of the rich-boys-club that is the G20. We sat in solidarity for another 10 – 20 minutes, again singing our national anthem and chanting slogans. After getting sufficiently drenched by the rain, the group decided to keep moving and continued along to 45 The Esplanade – Novotel – where we were unknowingly to make our last stand (again, rather I should say ‘last sit’).
As we proceeded to the Novotel, the hundreds of police who were silently observing us at our last sit-in calmly followed behind our group. We went south on Yonge, then east along The Esplanade just past Scott St. where we came to our final stop of the night; where we would find our freedom taken away and many of our Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms metaphorically trampled upon as many of us peaceful protesters would literally be caught under foot, baton and shield of the various police agencies employed – with gross over-time pay – that night. What follows is, I maintain, one of, if not the worst example of police brutality and aggression ever witnessed in modern Canadian history!
It must be noted here that OUR group of protesters, different from the destructive protest which occurred 6 – 10 hours before we marched, was a group of completely peaceful protesters. At various points of our march, I saw first-hand examples of this. One angry young man who had just been threatened by police was swinging a towel in his hand, smacking it on street signs as he walked. One of the other protesters sternly told the young man that this was a peaceful demonstration and no destruction would be tolerated at all. Another instance I recall was when we were walking down the middle of the street past a taxi cab. One or two people in the crowd began tapping on the cab telling the driver, “Bad night for you, eh.” In itself, this was not violent or destructive, yet one protester approached them and told them to leave the driver alone because he’s just trying to make a living and should not be the focus of our energies. These were the ONLY actions of our group that even came close to aggression.
During the G20 Summit, the Novotel was housing ambassadors from France, Brazil, Japan and Indonesia. When we arrived in front of the Novotel, we all gathered together in the middle of the street and began chanting slogans such as, “NO JUSTICE … NO SLEEP”. Again we stood in solidarity. There were only a handful of police (5 -8) who were standing to the east of our position, while the hundreds of police to the west who had followed us from our last peaceful sit-in maintained their position behind us. What we didn’t know was the massive amount of police who were being bused and trucked in; slowly taking up positions to surround us for their final ‘kettling’ tactic. The line of 5 – 8 police to the east of us quickly grew to hundreds in a matter of, what seemed like, minutes. We were blocked in on The Esplanade from the east. None of us could figure where they were all coming from. Nor were we very concerned that we would face any legal consequence due to the fact that we had not, and were not breaking any laws. We also noticed that the west side of The Esplanade had been blocked just east of Scott St. At this point we had no exit path whatsoever. Our group was still approx. 200 – 300 strong and following the advice of the protest leaders, the majority of the group sat down. The theory behind this, as voiced by some of the other protesters, was that if we were all sitting we would not be construed as any type of threat, and therefore would not be subject to police violence (which sadly is what some of us knew to expect, even though our behaviour didn’t warrant any violence).
The majority of people did sit and most of us were on the street directly in front of Novotel. Some others were sitting or standing on the sidewalks to the north and south of the main group in the street. We again began singing and chanting, “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE”, and “PEACEFUL … PROTEST, PEACEFUL … PROTEST”. The fact that we were sitting and singing mattered little to the seemingly blood-thirsty police, fully clad in riot gear with a collective look in their eyes that said ‘kill, kill, kill’. I am not exaggerating. When surrounded with angry police, who had undoubtedly been told by their superiors that we were the ones responsible for the so-called ‘black-block’ tactics that were unleashed (and provoked) in the city earlier that day, I’d never felt a fear so real in my life. There were various types of guns aimed at us with no knowledge of what type of ammunition was in those weapons; live or ‘less-than-lethal’. The police looked angry. They looked like they wanted to take their anger out on us peaceful protesters, as opposed to the destructive ones that the police literally stood by and watched earlier that day. The police lines to the east and west of us grew closer and closer by the minute, while striking baton to shield creating an ominous sound as their lines drew menacingly nearer. The police started sending in groups of 3 – 5 cops at a time, shields up, batons swinging, feet kicking into the group of protesters sitting on the ground, virtually all with both hands extended in the air displaying the universal ‘peace’ sign while chanting “PEACEFUL … PROTEST”. These snatch-squads would rush into the group sitting on the street, randomly hitting people, then grab one (usually by the neck) and violently drag them back behind the police lines where the police could be seen to pounce on these individuals and brutalize them even more. I witnessed this police brutality first hand, unleashed on a number of my fellow protesters. It wasn’t long after the first snatch-squad was sent in that panic began to strike the crowd. I saw the, once calm group of people sitting in the road, frantically run to the sidewalks and huddle in groups along the wall like a herd of scared animals. This was when I too left my spot on the road and was squeezed into the frightened crowd along the wall. It must be noted that, up to this point, we were never instructed to leave or told we were breaking the law in any way. One of the protest leaders requested on the megaphone that a police negotiator discuss the exit and dispersal of the group. The request was voiced several times and was announced as our formal request to go home. Our request was ignored. Other people were approaching the police lines to ask to leave and were either directed to leave through the opposite police line or simply arrested. When told to go to the opposite line, the opposite police line would just say, “…no, you must leave on the other side.” It seemed like there was a great deal of confusion amongst not only the peaceful protesters, but also the police manning the lines. The snatch squads continued in their unnerving, brutal fashion. Again, I must reiterate that I personally witnessed many innocent citizens brutalized by our police who are paid by our tax dollars to serve and protect us – the citizens – in this so-called democracy.
The police eventually announced (not on a megaphone, just by shouting) that we were all under arrest for ‘breach of peace’, even though we were NEVER told to leave, nor given any way to leave. The officer also announced that we had the option of surrendering peacefully, or the police would be forced to continue to aggressively arrest us, and “…people will be hurt…” – which are the words I remember him saying. It didn’t take long for most of us to process the inevitability that we were all going to be arrested that night.
People slowly began to approach the police line with both hands behind their head, as instructed. The first few people were violently choked and dragged through the police lines, even though they were complying with police demands. At this point, Steve and I accepted our fate and assumed we would most likely be arrested and released within a few hours with a Promise-To-Appear in court request. I was quite foolish to assume that I maintained any of my rights as a Canadian citizen from this point forward. What followed was the most glaring example of arbitrary mistreatment, detention and Orwellian-Authoritarianism that I have ever encountered in my life.
I approached the line, hands behind head, half expecting to be choked and dragged away. But, I figured that was better than being shot with God-knows-what (plastic bullet, bean bag, pepper ball, tear gas canister, etc). I was told to wait. Two police officers approached me saying, “Wow, this one’s big, let’s get him out of the way first”. I had my arms brutally twisted behind my back and was cuffed with plastic zip ties. I did not notice at the time, but Steve was not arrested at the same time I was. Instead, he was left to wait for approx. 2 more hours. The plastic cuffs were yanked on so tight that I soon began to lose feeling in my left hand and my shoulders quickly began to hurt due to the extreme angle my arms were being held in. I told the police officers who arrested me several times that the cuffs were too tight. I was repeatedly told there was nothing they could do about this. I was illegally searched and had my property illegally seized. The officers that arrested me were from Edmonton and remarked to me that ours was the most peaceful group of protesters that they had ever encountered. I asked why I was being arrested and was told that this was, “…a preventive arrest for breach of the peace.” I explained to the police that we were never told, or allowed to leave. That did not seem to matter to them. They had orders to follow and they weren’t going to let a little thing like the Canadian Charter – or the law – stand in their way. I was sat on the ground, cuffs still wrenched tight behind my back. There I waited to be placed on the jail bus. Time: 10:45pm. Thus began my illegal detention.
After a half hour of sitting on the ground, I was stood up and taken to a female Toronto officer who was in charge of processing us detainees onto the first bus. She harshly instructed me that they were going to take my plastic cuffs off and place me in metal ones for the bus ride and that, if I even thought of doing anything, there were plenty of cops around to “… jump me if I tried anything”. She told me to put my thumbs up once the plastic cuffs had come off to signal to them that I would remain co-operative, “… or else”. I told her, “My thumbs are up now and will stay up, so you have no excuse to beat me”. She said, “Great, then we have an understanding”. When I was put on the bus with the metal cuffs was when I first noticed that the plastic zip-ties had cut my wrist and I had blood all over my hands and shirt. Off to Torontanamo.
In the bus I could hear 2 girls in the front screaming because their cuffs were also much too tight and they had lost feeling in their hands for some time already. Their screams and pleas were ignored. We sat in the bus for approx. 45 minutes while it became hotter and hotter with no windows open and the body heat of everyone circulated in our first tiny cage. We then drove for 5 or 10 minutes until we pulled into the gates of the Toronto Film Studio on Lakeshore Blvd. I was confused. Were we now about to be used as extras for a re-make of George Orwell’s predictive classic, 1984? Our bus pulled into a long garage that could fit 3 – 4 large buses length-wise. Down the right side of the long garage were the buses. Down the other side were approx. 6 – 7 25ft. x 12ft. fenced in cages with one small bench down the left side (5 feet long) and one port-a-potty in the right corner (*with no door*) facing the buses. Two or three of the cages had all women in them who were screaming at the time of our arrival because many of them had to use the toilet, but had no privacy from male view due to our buses and many male police officers in plain view. The women ingeniously, and in a display of true unity, formed a human blockade in front of the port-a-potty to block the view of all the males that were within sight. My bus was unloaded and we were all taken to our cage.
The cells were segregated based on gender. I was placed in one of the above mentioned cells with approx. 25 other people. Our plastic cuffs were re-applied even though we were in a cage. When the cuffs were put back on me, I told the cop the last time the cuffs cut me and asked him not to do them up too tight. I even showed him the blood on my shirt, hands and the cut on my wrist. He looked at me and tightened the cuffs even worse than they were before. I asked him to loosen them and he said there was nothing he could do. Our cage was quite crowded and many of us were experiencing pain and numbness in our hands and wrists from the plastic cuffs. One of the court officers working in the make-shift detention centre eventually came to our aid and loosened our cuffs. I tried to reason with many of the guards watching us. The common response was, ‘I’m just doing my job’. I told them that is what many Nazi’s involved in the Holocaust also claimed. Some other guards wouldn’t even rationally talk to me and would rather tell us how they were raking in the overtime pay. Many were quite content in the knowledge that they were violating many of the laws and rights that they had sworn to protect.
During my illegal detention I was transferred to 3 separate cages, each one smaller than the last. In every cage I was in, I encountered people who had been viciously beaten by the police. I saw many black eyes, bloodied noses and boot imprints on the heads, shoulders and backs of these victims of gross police brutality. At this point, some people had their shoes taken away, others their glasses, some their belts; all done in the most arbitrary fashion. There was no consistency to this mistreatment. Anytime I would ask the question, “What’s happening?”, or, “When do we get to go home?”, it was met with the vague answer – the one thing the police did that night with any consistency – “you are being processed”. Before being moved to the next cage, I saw Steve getting off his bus being led to his cage. At this point they had taken his glasses (which he cannot see without), his belt, his shoes, his hat, and he was in ankle shackles. Again, completely arbitrary mistreatment.
I was in the first cage for approx. 3 – 4 hours. I was then taken, for the next stage of ‘processing’ out of the garage into the main warehouse building that was the Detention Centre (a.k.a. the Toronto Film Studio). My property was taken with me and I was presented to another officer who was in charge of intake for this section. My shoes were then taken off, along with my belt, and added to my property bag. I was then put in another cell just slightly smaller than the first. In this cell there were approx. 15 people, 2 of whom were journalists (one being a journalist for The Guardian, Jesse Rosenfeld). I was left in this cell for approx. 3 hours. It is worth mentioning at this time that, on top of the fact that we were crammed in cages too small with no shoes and only a small bench which not everyone could sit on, in a building with the a/c pumping from above, sitting on a cold concrete floor; we were offered water only a few times and were provided with 2 or 3 small cheese sandwiches for the whole time of our illegal detention. Many people requested blankets or pillows and were laughed at. Many people were in soaking wet clothing, but it was clear to us that our health and legal rights were of no concern to these people.
Once I left the above mentioned cell, I was taken to a small trailer/office where I was questioned briefly by 3 officers. I advised them that I have medication that I must take every evening and morning and that if I’m not allowed to take my medication, my health would suffer for it. They advised me that I would be ‘processed’ to the next area where I would be questioned further by a Detective and then hopefully released. I was then taken to a small wooden room where I was thoroughly searched by 2 female guards. Following the search, I was taken through a metal detector, passed on to another guard, and then taken to my last cage.
While being led to the next cage, a guard told me that there was “…a real mouthy fuck…” in my new cell and that if I wanted, I could “…shut him up…” and he would be very happy. I took this as a request from the guard to physically assault a fellow protester, to which I responded, “Why would I do that? I’m not a criminal.” When I reached the cell, I could clearly see the man the guard was talking about. He had a black eye and bruises all over his head and upper body. He confirmed that the police viciously beat him. In this last cell was where I faced the worst, most inhumane conditions that I’ve ever been subjected to. I was kept in an approx. 5ft. x 8ft. cell with 5 other people for more than 12 hours! This cage had no bench and no port-a-potty. We were left there to shiver on the cold concrete floor in wet clothes with no shoes on. Only if we positioned ourselves perfectly could we all sit at the same time. There was no way anyone could lie down to try and sleep. Anytime one of us had to use the toilet we would ask a guard passing by. They would either ignore us completely, or say, “I’ll be right back”, only to return 2 – 3 hours later. I had waited all this time to go to the bathroom, but could wait no longer. I asked one of the guards to take me to the toilet, waited the standard 2 hours, and then was taken to a port-a-potty sitting directly across from, and facing 2 cages filled with approx. 25 women in each. Of course, the port-a-potty had no door and therefore no privacy whatsoever. And unlike the women who had used their open door port-a-potty upon my entrance to the detention centre, I did not have a line of men that could stand outside the doorway to block me from view of the many eyes that could see me. Needless to say, I refused to go to the bathroom and told the guard that this was ridiculous and that I was tired of being treated like an animal. Indeed, the cage I was returned to was not even fit for a dog. I am a pet owner and a dog lover and I would never subject any animal to the cruel and unusual treatment that we suffered all those hours.
During this time, no one that I knew of had been allowed to use a phone or contact a lawyer. However, my Mother, after having heard of my arrest, had been frantically searching for legal counsel to help. She eventually was able to speak with a lawyer by the name of Ron Marzel. While waiting in my 5ft. x 8ft. cage, a guard came up to me and advised me that my lawyer was here. I was pleasantly surprised because I’m not rich, couldn’t afford a lawyer, and therefore didn’t expect one to show up for me. I met, for the first time, Mr. Ron Marzel. Mr. Marzel advised that he spoke to my Mother, and that he would do what he could to speed up my release. I advised him of the conditions of the detention centre. He was clearly appalled, especially regarding the toilet conditions. He advised me that he and another lawyer, Mr. Allan Young, were trying to help as many of those ensnared in this debacle as possible. Mr. Marzel advised me that I may be held for another night until the morning of 28/06/2010. I wasn’t happy with this news, but it was at least some consolation to know when I might be let out.
Up until this point, we were only told that we were being processed and were given no idea as to when we’d be released. We were completely deprived of any sense of time during our detention. I remember seeing one of my fellow detainee’s, Jesse Rosenfeld, on the news a few days after our release. He was commenting on the fact that he has been a journalist in the middle-east for some years and likened the conditions of our detention to the conditions of Israeli prisons where Palestinian prisoners suffer. There were no windows and the lights were kept on the whole time. The only way we could tell whether it was night or day was due to a small hole in the roof where the beautiful sunlight was just barely shinning through.
Finally, after over 19 hours of illegal detention and inhumane treatment, we were released. This, of course, was not a quick process. But in the space of 2 – 5 hours, the majority of the people arrested with me in front of the Novotel were released. I was told by one of the guards that we would’ve been released sooner, but there was a ‘situation’ outside the detention centre. I later came to realize that the situation he spoke of was a protest at the gates of the Film Studio to demand our release. This ‘situation’ was the first time in Canadian history that police had resorted to the use of tear-gas. While the guard blamed this protest for our late release, I believe that had that protest not happened we would’ve been illegally detained even longer. Upon release, some detainee’s were forced to make video recorded statements declaring they would not attend another protest. I was not made to do this. We were released into the pouring rain; not allowed to put our shoes on until outside the gates of the Film Studio. Many people had their property stolen. Many cell phones were never returned. One can imagine this was most likely due to the fact that these phones contained incriminating footage of abusive police behavior.
I have various pieces of evidence to corroborate my story. I have pictures and video from my Blackberry. I can also be seen on various YouTube videos which depict the events on the night of 26/06/2010 in front of the Novotel. In these videos, I can clearly be seen in the crowd wearing a white shirt, curly dark hair and a beard.
I was never permitted to use a phone, but continually asked for a phone call. I was released from detention 27/06/2010 at approx. 6:30pm. I was not formally charged with anything, nor was I given any documents to record the detention. I would rather have been formally charged with a crime, because at least then I would have my day in court. I was held illegally and unconstitutionally for over 19 hours with no charge. I was subject to illegal search and seizure. I was subject to unlawful and arbitrary arrest and detention. I was subject to cruel and unusual punishment.
The Fundamental Freedoms guaranteed to me under The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were disregarded and trampled upon. The following sections of Part 1 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were grossly violated by the police and the Ontario government during the 2010 G20 Summit: sec(s). 1., 2.(a,b,c,d), 8., 9., 10.(b,c), 11.(b), 12.
As I mentioned before, I am a concerned citizen and that is why I felt it my duty to protest the G8 and G20 Summit. I am concerned with the fact that global temperatures are steadily rising, causing extreme weather conditions throughout the world which displace and kill thousands of people daily. I feel that Canada – along with the rest of the world – can and must act to mitigate and reverse the effects of global warming. I am concerned that poor people die every day because they cannot afford the enormously high price-tag the pharmaceutical companies place on medicine, just to increase their precious profit margin. I am concerned that the greed inherent in Capitalism has rotted the core of government controlled economies turning banks and investment firms into pyramid schemes, and stock markets into high-stakes casinos. I am concerned at the ever growing trend of privatization and deregulation of government industries around the world – which can be directly related to the causes of, and the responses to Hurricane Katrina and the BP Gulf oil deluge. I am concerned that the Harper government and the Obama Administration support Israel’s illegal and inhumane occupation of Palestine, which is directly responsible for the deaths of many innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians. I am concerned with the way the Canadian government has betrayed and mistreated the Indigenous Peoples of this land. I am concerned because the U.S. tortures people and Canada is complicit in that torture. I am concerned at the fact that the U.S. is prosecuting a child soldier for war crimes; a Canadian citizen that the Harper government has refused to stand-up for. I am concerned that American soldiers and politicians are largely exempt from International Criminal Court prosecution. I am concerned because citizens and soldiers who expose U.S. war crimes are accused of committing treason and sabotage. I am concerned because the American government supports the use of white phosphorous and cluster-bombs, yet will not support the nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I am concerned that the U.S. and many other countries do not support the initiative by the United Nations to declare water and sanitation fundamental rights. These concerns, and many other concerns regarding this troubled world, are what brought me to protest against the G8 and G20 Summits.
The so-called ‘War on Terror’ is paradoxically perpetuating terror across the globe by killing innocent civilians, causing many others to pick up arms and stoke the roaring inferno of war in retaliation for innocent deaths. This should be of great concern to all Canadians, because we have mistakenly joined the ‘War on Terror’. I am concerned that the wars we join, and diplomatic efforts we make around the world to promote democracy are hypocritical. What are Canadian soldiers dying for in Afghanistan; democracy, human rights, justice, equality, the rule of law? If so, then we must compel the government to maintain these same rights here at home. Canada fights for democracy and rights in Afghanistan, yet allows abuses of her own democracy. I wonder what our beloved soldiers who are put in harm’s way think about this?
I am concerned by the apathy of the average citizen when presented with the facts of the G20 abuses of power. I believe this is because the average person is not being shown the truth by the media. Because, surely if everyone knew the truth of what happened and why, they would be nothing less than outraged – outraged that our soldiers die overseas for ideals and rights which are not protected at home. Outraged by the notion that what many of our ancestors fought for; rights, justice, equality – all synonymous with Canada – are being squandered and tossed aside. For what?
Well, for one, to have the ‘privilege’ of hosting this most ‘prestigious’ event. The privilege of casting aside $1,000,000,000.00 of Canadian tax money. The prestige of having innocent citizens – marching in the streets to UPHOLD democracy, right here at home – thrown in cages not meeting the standards of even the Toronto Humane Society; all while the whole world is watching. Our country which has been a beacon of rights, justice and equality for decades is now the harbinger of state sanctioned police brutality. Are we now living in a Police State? Has Western Civilization itself turned Fascist? Am I going too far? Not by much. If we as a country don’t get bothered real quick by the actions of the government during the G20 Summit, then possibly, those questions when asked a decade or two from now will be answered with a muffled and whispered, “yes”. By then it will be too late. This is not alarmist, it is historically true. For when societies do not take notice and action over abuses of power, corruption and other forms of anti-democratic activity, that is when a Fascist State or a Police State is born. It is born out of an unmaintained democracy; one where the citizens were too complacent, comfortable or apathetic to notice their rights slowly being stolen by the state. George Christian, a Connecticut librarian who, along with 3 other librarians, launched a class-action lawsuit against the FBI for demanding that libraries provide information on what books patrons were borrowing; unconstitutionally authorized by the U.S. Patriot Act’s ‘National Security Letters’. Mr. Christian, while appearing on the 11/08/2010 episode of DemocracyNow.org, reminds us, “It’s always tempting for those in power to encroach upon civil liberties in the name of expediency. If someone doesn’t stand up and say, ‘hey wait a minute’, before you know it, your liberties will be gone.” Democracy is not based on a blind, forever enduring faith in the government. True democracy only exists when people are informed, active members of their community and society at large. We as citizens must keep our guard up and demand that our government uphold the rights that make Canada one of the greatest countries to live in.
Let us all contemplate the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!”
My name is Todd. I am a 27 year old part-time student of the University of Toronto. For the past 2 years, I have been working full-time for an insurance company. I am very distrustful of the police, and have little faith in our government for letting this happen. All responsible parties involved in this fiasco must be brought to justice. This is an attempt to address my grievances and put my recollection on the record. I’m not a protest organizer. I’m not a so-called ‘anarchist’. This was, in fact, the first major protest I’ve ever attended. I am simply a concerned citizen of this DEMOCRATIC country of Canada, who believes that the G8 and G20 Summits are: anti-democratic, unequal, and proliferate the practice of a few rich countries ruling the masses of the poor.
– Thank you for your time in reading this, and let us all ensure that Justice, Human Rights, Equality and true Democracy prevail. –
YouTube videos – some of which I can be seen in:
I can be seen in white t-shirt walking east on The Esplanade, just passing Scott St., walking past a ‘Do Not Enter’ road sign, south side of the sign, approx. at min. 1:32 into video. Also, shows police forces mounting, positioning to strengthen their encirclement.
Video was taken from same NOVOTEL protest.
(part. 1) *EXCELLENT video _ captures nearly the entire event*, I can be seen on video with back to camera, sitting on ground.
(part. 2) – – *EXCELLENT video _ captures nearly the entire event*, on the ground, in the crowd, shows police violence, aggression.
The following shows myself and other G20 detainee’s being interviewed by Toronto’s NOW Magazine outside the Toronto Film Studio after our release:
More YouTube links for related videos – some of which I can be seen in:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrNslpJxb54&feature=related – – shows police taking positions to close-in on our protest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG0M7Dno1jo&feature=related – – shows police kettling outside Novotel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKjD3_WZvKg&feature=related – – shows police line advancing on seated protesters.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzywt-1LC5o&feature=related – – similar to above.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fctV8hotZ0&feature=related (part. 1) – – excellent vantage point of hecklers from above laughing, some moron yells, “Die you fucking hippies!” I can be seen in huddled crowd at bottom of screen (north sidewalk of Esplanade, against wall).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9eUp4mzEqE&feature=related (part. 2) – – again, I can be seen in huddled crowd at bottom, holding my phone up, taking video. Chants of, “LET US GO HOME!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJA882zzoIg&feature=related – – man gets shot by police with pepper ball while trying to get into his apartment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Upv-1oMsk&feature=related – – more arbitrary arrests, police tightening their noose.