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Despite Escalation of Police Harassment, OCAP Mobilizes Against the G20


On June 25th, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) will be mobilizing to confront the G20 and G8 summits by taking to the streets. With allied community organizations, OCAP will be rallying at 2:30pm in Allan Gardens Park, marching through the streets of Toronto and setting up a Tent City.

Police harassment and intimidation is escalating leading in to Friday’s demonstration. Five minutes away from where the G20 summit will be held, at Dundas St E and Sherbourne St, there is one of the highest concentrations of homeless and poor people in Canada.  The police have begun to clear the streets leading in to the Summit with people in the neighborhood experiencing a drastic increase in police presence and harassment.  Police have removed benches and garbage cans from parks, people are reporting that they have even been arbitrarily denied access to Allan Gardens (a public park), asked for I.D, or told to clear out of the area. Organizers see this as a precedent of intimidation that is being set for Friday’s demonstration.

On June 26th, the G20 meetings will bring together the leaders of the world’s richest twenty states to discuss the stabilization of the global economy. Stephen Harper is using the G20 to promote Canada as an economic success story. But while Canadian banks and corporations may have come out on top in the midst of global economic turmoil, ‘success’ has not been the experience of many poor people in Canada.  Increasing numbers of people have been evicted, made homeless, pressured into more precarious working conditions, laid off, terminated, and forced to turn to food banks.  We can be sure that telling this side of the story will not be a part of Harper’s song and dance on the global stage.

In order to promote the lie of Canada's economic success, visible signs of poverty such as  panhandlers, and homeless people will be displaced. The $900 million security budget is set to insure that G20 delegates will not have to face poor people on the streets or the examples of poverty inherent in the brand of global economics that they are here to promote.

To socially cleanse neighborhoods and police protesters, the Canadian government is spending an exorbitant amount; the full price tag of the Summit will be over $1.2 billion.

“At the same time that they are cutting the Special Diet Allowance, a food benefit for people on Welfare and Disability, massive amounts of public dollars are being spent on a series of meetings,” says OCAP Organizer, John Clarke.  “The money spent on this Summit could house everyone who is currently homeless in Toronto plus everyone on the waiting list for community housing—a total of 80,000 people—for over a year in 1 bedroom apartments at the average rent. The G20 priorities are plain as day: wealth and power that to us represents poverty and misery. We won’t be intimidated and we will confront these policies on June 25th.”

Contact: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty Office Phone: 416-925-6939 Media Cell: 416-826-4796

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Writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

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