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Wave of Political Repression Sweeps Toronto in Wake of G20 Summit

by Justin Saunders


Jesse Rosenfeld: The Guardian, Independent Journalist
Amy Miller: Alternative Media Centre, Independent Journalist
Adam MacIsaac: Alternative Media Centre, Independent Journalist
Sharmeen Khan: Toronto Community Mobilization Network
Adonis el-Jamal: Toronto Community Mobilization Network

On two consecutive nights in and around downtown Toronto, thousands of riot police repeatedly assaulted demonstrators, journalists and Toronto residents in non-riot situations. In an attempt to suppress this fact, many journalists trying to document police actions were illegally arrested, assaulted, had their equipment confiscated.

Activists planning G20-related protest events were repeatedly harassed by police during the week preceding the Summit. In the last 48 hours, residents unconnected with any protest organizing experienced a police force acting as if it expected a foreign army to invade the city. Hundreds of people have been profiled on the basis of clothing type, for carrying phone numbers of the legal aid hotline or for other arbitrary criteria.

"Even though I complied with police officers to move back, I was aggressively assaulted by 4 officers and subjected to pain compliance techniques and a stun device even though I was complying with their demands and informing them that I had a pacemaker." Adam MacIsaac

"The attempt to silence the independent press is happening at the same time as riot cops have been used to forcefully silence on the streets what the government cannot push out of the critical debate." Jesse Rosenfeld

"We saw a massive roundup motivated by an attempt to profile young people who are assumed to be political. Any attempt to cover these detentions resulted in the press also being detained and often assaulted." Amy Miller

The normalization of state force and violence runs contrary to guaranteed rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assembly. Furthermore, when state violence focuses public discourse on a struggle for these basic rights, it detracts from civic discussion around the substantive issues raised by dissenters, undermining the intent of the basic rights to promote open discussion in society.

Contact: Justin Saunders, 647 235-2445

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