G20 protest organizers say $1 billion in security spent on repression in Toronto

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      The coalition behind the protests against the G20 summit in Toronto says the $1-billion security budget for the event was spent on beating and intimidating protesters and city residents.

      This evening (June 27), the Toronto Community Mobilization Network released a statement, asserting that the G8 and G20 are "anti-democratic illegitimate institutions" that destroy the lives of people around the world.

      "This is why people targeted banks and multinational corporations, and the property of police," the network stated.

      It also said many community organizers have been arrested and charged with conspiracy.

      According to news reports, more than 600 people have been arrested in the G20 protests.

      Here's the network's full statement:

      The G8/G20 are anti-democratic illegitimate institutions that inflict daily violence on our communities. Everywhere the G8 and G20 have met to further their exploitative agendas – from London to Pittsburgh to Toronto - they have faced huge opposition from local communities. The kind of mass resistance we have seen in Toronto has and will continue to follow them wherever they go.

      For several months, communities across Toronto have been coming together to resist the imposition of austerity measures advanced at the G8/G20 summits. The Harper government spends 1.2 billion taxpayer dollars to host the G8/G20 summits while it cuts social spending in ways that have drastic impacts people in the Toronto area and other parts of Canada.

      Since these communities have come together, the police have been using intimidation tactics to repress and silence people in the Toronto community. Police and intelligence officers went to community organizers' homes and harrassed them in the streets. Now they have arrested many of these people, many of them young organizers of color, and charged them with conspiracy.

      These people hold the Harper government to account and they speak out against policies that are making ordinary people poorer, sicker and more desperate. As a result, they have been intimidated, harassed, and imprisoned. They are political prisoners in this country, where the police repression shows that its claims of democracy are simply window dressing.

      While police continue to intimidate people, individuals and community members keep going out in the streets to show that they are not afraid and stand with political prisoners as well as oppressed peoples – first nations communities, immigrants and refugees, poor people, people of color, women, trans people, people with disabilities and queer communities.

      The police intimidation and repression added to the anger and frustration people have with the G8/G20 policies and leaders that destroy their lives and the lives of people around the world. This is why people targeted banks and multinational corporations, and the property of police.

      Ultimately, 1 billion dollars were spent on beating people who were demonstrating throughout the week, on intimidating community members in the streets, on arresting organizers of color and indigenous solidarity organizers, on sending demonstrators to hospital with broken bones, and on using tear gas on those in the so-called designated “free speech” zone. 1 billion dollars has not been used to protect people and to keep the city safe. Instead it has been used to repress the people who are working to make this city, and planet a fairer, more just, and more humane place.

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.




      Jun 28, 2010 at 1:07am

      The "Property of Police?" Who do you think pays for and owns this property? This is a crock. It was my property and the property of other citizens they destroyed. How about the security guard they beat up when he tried to defend the poeperty he was watching. This is a democarcy if you don't like something cast a ballot don't throw a rock.


      Jun 28, 2010 at 5:54am

      Read more about the Orwellian, sadistic torment of the 600 detainees in the massive battery cage facility which was specially created to repeatedly strip search, refrigerate, torment, intimidate and humiliate the peaceful protestors, community organisers, innocent bystanders, tourists and reporters:
      Charlie Veitch: Arrested, Tortured, Caged by Toronto Fascist Police at G8/G20

      It was an eyeful

      Jun 28, 2010 at 1:10pm

      Turning on the news and getting the showdown on the event speaks volumes to what actually went on as police brutality was front and center as on lookers are pushed and beaten back by officers. I have never seen the likes of it on Canadian streets. The price tag is greater than the one billion as most who got an eyeful of the violence as it unfolded felt the Canadian leader couldn't even handle a few protesters much less a financial global crisis.


      Jun 28, 2010 at 2:13pm

      Whether you agree or not with the G8 and G20 these aren't your average protestor. We saw the same groups at the Olympics and once again they hijacked and infiltrated a peacful demonstration. Their aim was to vandalize and deliberately cause unrest and not to show solidarity against an organisation. The reason they were targeted by the police was because they were not exercising their freedoms but rather plotting criminal activities. You do not go to a peacful protest armed with metal bars. The police were well aware this was going to happen which is why you see them in riot gear.

      Paul Manly

      Jul 1, 2010 at 4:18pm

      First my interview with a photo journalist who followed the black block for 1.5 hours and 24 blocks without any police interference until they reached the official designated protest site, got out of their black clothes, dispersed through the crowd and left the scene. Then the police brutally attacked peaceful protesters in the designated protest zone with batons and pepper spray.
      G20 Toronto Black Block get green light to rampage? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5G7aCgXtWg

      Full video of police charging on protesters as they finished singing the national anthem
      How respectful - they waited until the anthem was over and then charged!

      Amy Miller - Alternative Media Centre, Independent Journalist http://vimeo.com/12925239
      Describes her arrest and detainment at Toronto Film Studio makeshift prison including strip searches and threats or rape.

      The peaceful protest courtesy Alex Lisman. This is the story the media hasn't covered.

      More of the peaceful protest where I followed Dave Coles from the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQchFZ8zLw

      Amnesty International is calling for an inquiry and so are some folks on facebook...
      Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20 on Facebook

      During the 12 days I was in Toronto I witnessed the police overreact and provoke innocent people. The first person I videotaped being arrested was charged and detained for 3 hours on Monday June 21 for possession of break and enter tools - the break and enter tool was the key to her workplace! The police didn't listen to her and only released her after finally calling her employer. She asked me not to post the video.

      I have lots of footage of police searching people on the street and as they try to enter parks in the vicinity of protests. I have footage of journalists and innocent bystanders being attacked and I have footage of the Council of Canadians and the canoe flotilla as they tried to paddle to Deerhurst resort. We had five police boats, two helicopters and RCMP zodiacs at ready to stop four canoes! Security indeed!

      I also have great footage of events and speakers at the Peoples Summit Launch and the Shout Out for Global Justice and interviews with people on the streets explaining why they and all of us should be opposed to the agenda of the G20. I will be posting lots of this content on the Canadians Nanaimo youtube site as well as packaging programming for the Smart Change Cable Access Coalition project.

      Happy to be Home
      Paul Manly