30 June 2010

Welcome to Toronto

Sorry to keep bombarding y'all with G20 stuff, but, hey, I find it pretty interesting, and this blog is kind of a compendium of whatever I find interesting at a given moment.

Latest stuff coming out of G20:

- This article, from the Toronto Star, which is a compilation of stories from folks who were detained by police during the summit. Three that I found particularly interesting:

Adam MacIsaac, P.E.I.

MacIsaac, an independent journalist in town for the G20, took out his video camera to document police search methods and says he was aggressively thrown to the ground. Police began kicking him in the ribs and stunning him with a stun gun. “I have a pacemaker!” he screamed repeatedly, but says they didn’t listen.

MacIsaac was eventually taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was handcuffed to a hospital bed. He says officers harassed him; one repeatedly asked if his pacemaker battery was nuclear. He was later taken to the detention centre and left alone in the back of police cruiser. When police let him go seven hours later, they said they had no idea where his $6000 worth of equipment went. They told him to file a complaint.

Amy Miller, Montreal

Miller, an independent journalist, was on her way to the jail solidarity protest Sunday around noon with fellow journalist Adam MacIsaac. She stopped at Bloor and St. Thomas Sts. where she saw police officers searching a group of young people carrying backpacks. She says police attacked her.

“I was throttled at the neck and held down. Next thing you know I was being cuffed and put in one of the wagons.” She says she was threatened and harassed by police at the Eastern Ave. detention centre. “I was told I was going to be raped, I was told I was going to be gangbanged, I was told that they were going to make sure that I was never going to want to act as a journalist again.”

She also says she spoke to numerous young women who were strip-searched by male officers.

Maryam Adrangi, 24

The spokeswoman for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network was arrested Sunday outside activist “convergence space” at Queen and Noble on Sunday afternoon. She said she was driven around the city in an unmarked police van for four hours, taken to the detention centre for about 30 minutes and released without charge.

Adrangi, who was born in Iran, said she endured racist and sexist comments from police, who made fun of her name and the photos they took of her. “I was really angry and frustrated that the cops felt entitled to do that to people,” she said.

“One cop said to me, ‘If you were my daughter I would slap you in the mouth.’ ”

Second article I'm linking to / excerpting from this evening is from the Globe and Mail, and I find it almost more interesting than the first one. Why? Check this out (first few paragraphs of the story) -

Hours after Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair sat in front of a bank of cameras and microphones last Friday morning, defending the powers the province gave police to search, detain or arrest anyone coming within five metres of the G20 summit’s security fence, Toronto police received new information: The regulation specified nothing of the sort.

But police, having papered the area with pamphlets outlining G20-related security rules, felt no need to send out a press release clarifying how the regulation in question worked.

In total, police arrested more than 1,000 people over the course of the G20 summit. But of those, only 263 were charged with anything more serious than breach of peace – 714 people faced that minor charge, and were released unconditionally.

Another 113 were released unconditionally with no charges: They were arrested but not booked, said police spokesman Mark Pugash, who emphasized these numbers aren’t final. He said no one was arrested under the Public Works Protection Act who shouldn't have been.

Fun fun fun, innit? So... they invoked this act, said it gave them special powers to search and arrest anyone they wanted, went on camera defending those powers, then, when they realized they shouldn't actually (legally) have them, conveniently forgot to mention it until after the summit. Huh.

I also find it interesting that of the 1000+ people they arrested over the course of two days, they released 800+ of them without trying to do anything whatsoever to punish them for those oh-so-serious crimes they were supposed to have committed - other than, if we believe the stories of the people they arrested, pepper spraying them, tazing them, kicking them in the face, holding them for 23+ hours without letting them contact anyone outside, and threatening to gangrape them. Isn't that awesome? Oh, Canada... you're trying to be just as big and tough as our cops now, aren't you... don't worry - you'll get there someday!

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