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Police Visiting Toronto G20 Activists

‘Intimidation’ and ‘Harassment’ Claimed

by Geordie Gwalgen Dent

G20 Activists accuse police of harassment and intimidation.  Photo Enid Godtree
G20 Activists accuse police of harassment and intimidation. Photo Enid Godtree

Toronto- Activists protesting the G20 are claiming that numerous visits by police in recent weeks have involved intimidation and harassment.

According to multiple sources, in the last month police have visited university groups, political meetings, union offices and individuals involved in protesting the G20.

Police began visiting groups like the Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN) on February 21, 2010 when they held a meeting for 'G8/20 Resistance in Toronto'.

According to Terrance Luscombe, a member of the TCMN, plain clothes police showed up claiming they were trying to keep channels open around the G20 to ensure nothing bad happens. “We told them that this wasn't the space.  They left and they let us know that they were going to be waiting outside the meeting the entire time in an unmarked car,” he said.

Two weeks later, police showed up to a student group general meeting at York University. Tom Keefer, a student facilitating the meeting said that two young looking police officers came into the meeting and signed in. One was from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the other was from the Toronto Police Service (TPS). The officers were asked to leave. According to Keefer, “They went away and then when the meeting was breaking up they came back in. People said ‘This is not appropriate’ and that they should leave their info and someone would contact them.”

Elley Newman, a board member of the group does not believe that the police were trying to just keep channels open. “I think they're try to figure out what people are doing for protests so they can prepare for how to deal with it and so it's easier for them to try to shut protests down.  I think it is dishonest trying to go into a safe space where people are organizing as an infiltrator. They say ‘We want to work with you’, which I don't think is realistic or the case.” 

Others have shared similar distrust of police motives.

“They wanted to set up an informant situation,” says an activist who wished to remain anonymous. “Activists should be aware that [the police] are trying to co-op them.  They are setting themselves up as the arbiters of what's legitimate protest.” 

Multiple individuals have confirmed that police have visited Toronto-based Ontario Public Interest Research Groups (OPIRG), an anarchist assembly meeting, the United Steelworkers hall, a TCMN meeting, members of the G8/G20 people's summit, and a number of individual activists involved with both G20 protests and the G20 Media Center. Activists in Ottawa have also claimed to have been visited by police from out-of-town.

“I think the first round [of police visits] was certainly trying to get their finger on the pulse of the actions that will be happening,” says Luscombe.  “When they started they tried to be cheery, saying that they could us get permits.  As the cooperation has been rejected they have stopped this ‘we're trying to work together’ and they have instead turned to intimidation…pretty classic intimidation.” 

After they showed up at the first TCMN, police were given an e-mail that the group wouldn't be talking to them, but police continued to show up to events anyways.


At one meeting police refused to leave. “We asked them to leave, but this time they refused to,” says Luscombe, saying that police claimed that they didn’t have to leave because the meeting was not renting the whole hall. “They didn't leave for at least 20 minutes.” Luscombe says the police only left after a staff person at the hall explained the entire hall had been rented. He also said that police said they had contacted the hall to try to figure out a way around them being kicked out. 

Clare O’Conner, a staff member at one of the OPIRG’s, confirmed the group was visited by Wendy Lane, a RCMP Officer with the G8 Summit, Integrated Security Unit, and Raman Singh from the TPS.

A call to both Lane and Singh was returned by Meaghan Gray with the TPS G20 Planning Team, however Gray could not be reached for comment by deadline.

This is not the first time that activists have claimed harassment by members of the RCMP or the Integrated Security Unit.

Guillaume Beaulieu, a Vancouver-based political educator with Teaching 2010 Resistance, an "independent project to develop critically-minded Olympics workshops", claims that similar events unfolded with anti-Olympics activists before the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

“There were waves of visits to activists homes.  They visited 12 people in 24 hours,” says Beaulieu.

Beaulieu, who toured around Ontario and Quebec doing political education related to the Olympics, claims that he was singled out and severely harassed by police.

“The opening of the torch relay in Victoria they went to one of my friend’s mom and told her I was a cop-killer and that her son is hanging out with bad people,” he claims. 

“The police visited a lot of girlfriends, parents, employers. I toured in Ontario and Quebec around Christmas and I called a friend to book a date in Montreal. He was visited by the RCMP the day after.  I don't know how they managed to get the content of my phone conversation with that person in 24 hours and make a visit down there with two RCMP officers.

“I really think that the goal was intimidation and trying to prevent us from taking part in real social change and push us to do nothing," he said. 

Beaulieu claims that members of the Integrated Security Unit (ISU), the same unit visiting activists in Toronto, followed him on his tour.

“Lorrie McDougall, a high level member of the ISU, was following me around and laughing at me.  He talked to me in Hamilton and told me he was following me.  He told me while under interrogation that he would be one of the leaders in the ISU in Toronto,”  he said.

Beaulieu also had a warning for activists in Toronto. “The same people will be infiltrating you and coming to your meetings to target you and investigating you,” he said.


With files from linchpin.ca

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Gwalgen Dent (Gwalgen Geordie Dent)
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G20 fascism

The plain fact is these talks are unnecessary. If these financiers and their political toadies want security, then put the security jail AROUND THEM NOT THE PUBLIC. Place these G20 fascists in a secure room and if they want 'safety' then they don't leave until their business is done. Leave the public alone. These alleged world leaders who are attempting to jail their own people are the ones who should be jailed! The G20 is nothing more than a group of private bankster pirates and the political toadies/leaders that do their bidding. There is NOTHING LEGITIMATE ABOUT ANY OF THIS! Prosecute Harper for allowing this vile display of neo naziism on the part of the government and if necessary BOYCOTT TORONTO!

G20

 Totally agree.  A full boycott- do not watch TV,don't buy a newspaper- turn off the radio (except music)- get out of town and enjoy the provincial parks and spend time with people that matter- friends and family. 

 

 

????????

If it is change you protester's are looking for, why would you not try and do it democratically? Through voting, the thing that so many Canadians have died for. If you really believe there are enough of you out there to protest and make a difference, why not put those numbers towards a vote and change the government from the inside? If you lose (which obviously you have since you are resorting to guerrilla tactic protesting), that would mean the majority of Canadians dont want what YOU want and are happy, or at least partial happy, with the way things have turned out. What this sounds like is a 5 year old not getting what they want and throwing a tantrum.

Please grow up and try to make changes the right way, that is what makes us Canadian!

Guerilla Tactics??

How about the Agent Provocateurs used by the ISU? Would that be considered a guerilla tactic?

How about our chartered right to assemble in peaceful groups?

The whole point of this security overload is to shift the focus of the G8/20 meetings from the content of the meetings to the "violent" protests.

Are you ok with the heads of Gov't meeting to discuss secret matters under the protection of our national police at the cost of the taxpayers?

Who's the intellectual 5 year old?

  Voting in a democracy does not actually amount to freedom, input, or representation.  It is foolish and naive to think so.

Our fore-fathers did not FIGHT and DIE for "the vote."  That is an idiotic statement that people use to shame dissenters of the elected bureaucracy.   They FOUGHT and DIED for our rights.  Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, etc.  Remember, the VOTE was used to democratically elect Hitler.  I guess the solution to that would have been for the Jewish community to band together and try to vote that regime out democratically?  By your statement, the result is OK because "the majority" were content.

The fact that these 'world leaders' are carving up the planet, making rules and regulations to support their personal world view agendas, and the fact that they have to erect the largest security apparatus in Canadian history to protect it, should be enough evidence that there is something seriously wrong with the whole situation.  

Vote them out?   As Canadians, we can vote on a Canadian leader, and this is an international summit.  Our electorate system is based on a 'first past the post' basis with parties.  That means what...   Everything is based on party recognition...  It boils down to this however.  The only groups that remain now a-days are the ruling class and the citizenry.   Think about the GM and bank bailouts.  Did they put those issues to vote?  Who do we 'vote out' if we didn't want the bailouts?   What would the next elected group do about the massive debt crushing the working class taxpayers?   How can the Government be allowed to have the kind of power to erect shields against failure around private businesses, by continually paying them with loans from the future?  

Have you ever even thought of these questions?  Does your vote make my voice irrelevant?

Our Fore Fathers did NOT fight and die so that one day the Ministers and their lackeys could hand out billions of dollars to perceived "important" corporations, or so they could create fancy behaviour controlling laws so that 20 year olds in jackboots could come into our houses upon "suspicion" of some illegal activity (an ever growing category).

And here's another point...  Private citizens planning to protest have GOVERNMENT PAID officials coming to their meetings to distrupt them.  On the other side, GOVERNMENT PAID officials are being used to prevent the private citizens from distrupting the meetings at the G8/G20.   The private citizens therefore, are forced to pay the GOVERNMENT to oppress their rights to assembly in private, and suppress their right to speech in public.   Are you really surprised that a minority of malcontents might take an affront to this?

The only person being childish here is the person who believe that a minority of people do not deserve the right to public dissent.   It is YOU who needs to grow up Mr. Toronto Anonymous.

Someone is Delusional

 Voting in a democracy does not actually amount to freedom, input, or representation.  It is foolish and naive to think so.

Our fore-fathers did not FIGHT and DIE for "the vote."  That is an idiotic statement that people use to shame dissenters of the elected bureaucracy.   They FOUGHT and DIED for our rights.  Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, etc.  Remember, the VOTE was used to democratically elect Hitler.  I guess the solution to that would have been for the Jewish community to band together and try to vote that regime out democratically?  By your statement, the result is OK because "the majority" were content.

The fact that these 'world leaders' are carving up the planet, making rules and regulations to support their personal world view agendas, and the fact that they have to erect the largest security apparatus in Canadian history to protect it, should be enough evidence that there is something seriously wrong with the whole situation.  

Vote them out?   As Canadians, we can vote on a Canadian leader, and this is an international summit.  Our electorate system is based on a 'first past the post' basis with parties.  That means what...   Everything is based on party recognition...  It boils down to this however.  The only groups that remain now a-days are the ruling class and the citizenry.   Think about the GM and bank bailouts.  Did they put those issues to vote?  Who do we 'vote out' if we didn't want the bailouts?   What would the next elected group do about the massive debt crushing the working class taxpayers?   How can the Government be allowed to have the kind of power to erect shields against failure around private businesses, by continually paying them with loans from the future?  

Have you ever even thought of these questions?  Does your vote make my voice irrelevant?

Our Fore Fathers did NOT fight and die so that one day the Ministers and their lackeys could hand out billions of dollars to perceived "important" corporations, or so they could create fancy behaviour controlling laws so that 20 year olds in jackboots could come into our houses upon "suspicion" of some illegal activity (an ever growing category).

And here's another point...  Private citizens planning to protest have GOVERNMENT PAID officials coming to their meetings to distrupt them.  On the other side, GOVERNMENT PAID officials are being used to prevent the private citizens from distrupting the meetings at the G8/G20.   The private citizens therefore, are forced to pay the GOVERNMENT to oppress their rights to assembly in private, and suppress their right to speech in public.   Are you really surprised that a minority of malcontents might take an affront to this?

The only person being childish here is the person who believe that a minority of people do not deserve the right to public dissent.   It is YOU who needs to grow up Mr. Toronto Anonymous.

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