Vancouver activists plan to hold a demonstration on Sunday (July 4) to show solidarity with the hundreds of G20 summit protesters who were detained by police in Toronto.
“We’re going to march and make a visible expression that’s very clear and understandable to folks about our solidarity with all of those who have been horrifically treated over the last week, had their rights removed from them, and also a visible show of solidarity with people who choose black bloc tactics,” Renn said via cellphone.
The protest will start at 2 p.m. in China Creek South Park, which is located on East 10th Avenue at Clark Drive.
According to Renn, activists are concerned about the “trashing of civil rights” that occurred in Toronto over the past weekend, and reports of teens jailed in cages, detainees being sexual assaulted and threatened with rape, and protest organizers facing serious charges. Activists are demanding the dropping of all charges laid against G20 protesters.
Renn said she personally supports Amnesty International’s call for an independent review of the security measures put in place for the G8 and G20 summits. Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, the Ontario New Democratic Party, the Council of Canadians, and others are also calling for a public inquiry.
“Anyone who’s ever organized anything in this country should be concerned,” Renn said.
Renn noted Sunday’s protest aims to counter the depiction of black bloc protesters as “anarchist thugs”. She pointed out that Vancouver’s June 26 protest against the G8 and G20 summits saw members of the Council of Canadians and other groups march side by side with activists using black bloc tactics.
“Solidarity doesn’t mean that you agree with people all the time,” the activist said. “Solidarity means that you’re not going to do the state’s work. It means that you stand beside people, even when you don’t agree with what their actions may have been on that particular moment. I think it’s a disastrous approach to take to try and push people who are choosing those tactics into the fringes. I think we need to envelope those tactics in the larger movement.”
She argued that the debate over whether activists should use a diversity of tactics has become a distraction from “actual issues”, such as the protection of civil liberties and the capitalist policies of the G8 and G20.
“I stand against those, because what we see is a very small, elite group of people who benefit from policies that have disastrous impacts on all of our lives,” Renn said. “Those are the same people who, once crises come up, they sit down and say, ”˜Hey, how can we fix that using the same structure that created those problems?’ So, what I think we need to call for is to be able to put the power in communities’ hands to make those kinds of decisions.”
Rallies in solidarity with the "Toronto 900" are scheduled to take place today (July 1) in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.