Vancouver protest planned to show solidarity with G20 detainees, black bloc activists

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      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.

      Marla Renn, a member of the Vancouver Community Mobilization Network, told the Straight that the protest will also be a display of solidarity with activists who use black bloc tactics.

      “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




      Jul 1, 2010 at 3:05pm

      I would encourage everyone who supports basic civil liberties such as the right to have a life without feeling threatened by anarchist thugs to ignore the 75 or so people who will show up for this loser rally. Unfortunately, the Straight won't.

      Gerald Finrand

      Jul 1, 2010 at 4:28pm

      I would encourage those who support morons like the "black blockheads" to go take a long walk off a short pier.

      While I loathe police state tactics, I doubt any of the legitimate protesters would have had a problem if it wasn't for the mob of idiots wrecking police cars and smashing shop windows.

      There are far more intelligent and productive ways to "speak truth to power" and screaming at a cop whose wants to smash your face in or vandalizing some shop owners store are not two of those.

      The really sad part about all this is that without use of provocateurs, the Powers that be managed to have any useful attention to the pointlessness of the G20 summit diverted by the stupidity of others.


      Jul 1, 2010 at 4:31pm

      While the way Toronto Police conducted themselves was abhorrent, marching in solidarity with the violent protestors behind the terrorism that took place that week is very unseemly. The Black Bloc are bad news and don't deserve anyone's support. What we should be marching for is the restoration of civil liberties taken away by the government, not for these thugs who hide their faces and only want to vandalize property.

      Freedoms are Under Assault

      Jul 1, 2010 at 4:35pm

      Here is some background information on why people should join the rally this coming Sunday to stand up for the protection of civil liberties, including the rights to security of person, to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and right not to be arrested without cause and kidnapped and tormented by the police.

      There is a vigorous debate over whether people who commit vandalism on corporate property as a means of political protest are right or wrong to do this. There are many points of view on this. I suggest that if you believe in democratic freedoms, that you show up for this event on Sunday, whether you condone Black Bloc strategies or not. The civil society protest and activism movement shouldn't be splintered over issues of strategy, where there will always be differences of opinion. One thing we can all agree on is civil liberties, because without them we are all up shit creek without a paddle.

      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?

      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
      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.

      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

      Stephen K

      Jul 1, 2010 at 6:09pm

      Were any of the Black Bloc even arrested? If they were/are denied representation or any other such rights that's one thing, but as far as I'm concerned they should owe up and accept the legal consequences of their actions. A rally just in support of the detainees I can wholeheartedly support, but I'm hedging on this one.


      Jul 1, 2010 at 7:08pm

      wait a minute I thought all these black bloc types were undercover cops why should we support that?


      Jul 1, 2010 at 7:20pm

      Gerald, first of all, there have been numerous protests such as the one during APEC in Vancouver where the Black Bloc were not present, where police violence and other police infringement on civil liberties was extensive. There was a major inquiry that went on into all the atrocious conduct of the police for years, and the findings found the police to be at fault in many ways.

      The Prime Minister's office, city police and RCMP, are highly inclined to infringe on basic civil rights without the need for the Black Bloc to provide a rationalisation. There are countless other examples of police and government behavior that corroborate this thesis.

      So the Black Bloc are not the primary cause of the recent infringements on civil liberties by police and government; they are merely a rationalisation for a deep seated and long standing agenda issuing from the corporate / political elite cabal.

      Secondly, even if the Black Bloc were the primary reason why the police routinely rampage and riot during major protest marches, this would still not justify this bizarre conduct of the police. They should be educated in the law, and be trained to uphold it, not to violate it. So either way, the conduct of the police and government is inexusable, and a matter of extreme importance to anyone who treasures constitutional government, civil liberties, and demoncracy.

      We should examine the conduct of police in light of the law, and the circumstances. When the police seem to be conducting crimes to provide a rationalisation for attacking citizens, or allowing crimes to occur on purpose to create such a rationalisation, then we have a criminal agenda within the police force which is a far greater threat to public security than any group of unruly hooligans breaking windows could ever be.

      No solidarity with agent provocateurs

      Jul 1, 2010 at 9:34pm

      I will sign on to statements against police repression but I will not attend rallies "in solidarity" with thugs, testosterone vandals and agent provocateurs. The "Black Bloc" was obviously in effect working with the police to let this whole scenario take place.

      Citizen N.

      Jul 2, 2010 at 1:19am

      Since the issue of Black Bloc tactics is so charged I would hope those supporters would refrain from flying their colours at the civil liberties rally in order to encourage greater attendance and keep the focus on the issue, not themselves.