Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another large demonstration follows the G20

Protesters held another 1,000-strong demonstration in downtown Toronto on Monday, rallying at police headquarters, City Hall and Queen's Park a day after police conducted mass arrests in the city.

Some later made their way to the temporary jail where an unknown number of people were still being held. But police blocked their path en route.

The crowd appeared to be drawn from all walks of life, marching peacefully and chanting "justice now" as they went.

"I have the right to peaceful assembly," one placard read.

Many protesters complained that police had mistreated those who were detained in mass arrests over the weekend, and that they had overstepped their authority.

The demonstration began as at least 1,000 people gathered outside police headquarters on College Street around 5:30 p.m.

One man said he had been held at what he called "Torontonamo Bay," a temporary detention centre, for failing to provide identification to police.

A woman who identified herself only as Zoe told CP24's George Lagogiannis that the money spent on the G8 and G20 summits "could have been used to end homelessness in this city."

Three rows of police lined the street in front of the building. Some officers had arrived on TCC buses, others by bicycle. They made one arrest in a nearby alley as they bolstered security in the lead-up to the demonstration.

The crowd eventually moved south down University Avenue before turning east on Queen Street West, where they were reportedly blocked by police. They made their way across Nathan Phillips Square to City Hall before backtracking up University Avenue again.

More than 900 people have been arrested since June 18 as a result of the mayhem and vandalism that occurred on the weekend. More than 600 of those arrests occurred in the past two days.

One of the most contentious events of the weekend took place on Sunday evening, when large groups of riot police trapped several hundred people at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue in the pouring rain.

Police claim they had information that a group of protesters using black bloc tactics may have been in the crowd. They made an estimated 100 arrests before the crowd was allowed to disperse hours later.

In a statement released on Monday, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network said that over the past two days, those detained "have been denied access to lawyers, telephones, food and water, and held in deplorable conditions in makeshift steel cages."

"We need to get our people out. We need to take our city back from the armed fortress that it has been turned into."


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