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More Allegations Surface of G20 Police Harassment

Police Respond; Links to Vancouver Games Uncovered

by Geordie Gwalgen Dent

Toronto Police PHOTO Bitpicture
Toronto Police PHOTO Bitpicture

Toronto - More allegations of harassment and intimidation have emerged concerning Toronto Police Services and the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit after a Toronto Media Co-op report last month

After the Toronto Media Co-op (TMC) published a report about police refusing to leave meetings and activist complaints of systemic intimidation, the TMC received several e-mails alleging illegal searches by police, visits to people’s residences and links between the Vancouver Olympic Games Security Unit and the Security Unit for the G8 and G20.

While G20 activists have not released the exact number of visits by police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the Media Co-op has been able to confirm that dozens of activists have been visited.

Police Respond

Toronto Police Services were finally able to respond to repeated inquires from the TMC on May 12th via e-mail. 

When asked if police were trying to intimidate protesters, Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the G20 Planning Team responsible for Community Affairs insisted that police are only trying to assist in planning safe and secure demonstrations.

“Police are not trying to intimidate protestors.  The Community
 Relations Group has attended events, openly introduced themselves to
 organizers, provided their identification and have explained their purpose
for attending in addition to distributing information.  In some cases,
 organizers have asked them to leave and in other cases, event attendees 
have engaged the officers in discussion regarding the G20,” she said.

When asked to respond to numerous allegations that police have refused to leave private events after organizers had asked them to leave Gray stated, “I think the officers that have been asked to leave have left and waited outside.  I can’t speak to exact engagements. “

While behaviour of the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit (ISU) in Toronto has recently been criticized, a number of Vancouver activists also complained about ISU behaviour in Vancouver. 

Links to Vancouver

Guillaume Beaulieu, a Vancouver-based political educator, warned in last month’s TMC report of harassment by police in Vancouver.  Beaulieu, who claims he was followed by police around Canada and possibly had his phone tapped, spoke of links between the ISU's in Vancouver and Toronto.

“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 in April.

Gray says she would imagine there would be some crossover between ISU personnel in Vancouver and Toronto but she stressed that she was not certain of any specific links.

Amazingly, Beaulieu’s claims about police visits and Lorrie McDougall are turning out to be true.

When asked if he had ever heard of Lorrie McDougall, Terrance Luscombe, a member of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN), said, “Ya, he’s visited us…he was one of the first police officers to come to a TCMN meeting.”

In addition, McDougall may have visited activists in other parts of Ontario. 

Mandy Hiscocks of Guelph was not home when the ISU came to visit her at home.  So instead of leaving their contact information, the ISU knocked on her neighbours doors. 

One of them asked the police to leave and e-mailed the following recount to Hiscocks:

“Two cops came by looking for you, asking for Mandy.  Before I found out who they were I answered ‘Yes, you did live next door’. They were with the RCMP Integrated Security Unit for the 2010 G20 summit and Melanie Kiss [was] with the Toronto Police's G8/G20 Summit planning team.”

Hiscocks e-mailed the TMC further information related to Luscombe's claims: 

“I know that the same two guys who've been trying to get in to TCMN meetings [in Toronto] for a while went out to Kitchener to a direct action workshop being held there.”

Allegations Spreading

While concerns about police visits have been reported in Ottawa, London, Guelph, Toronto and Kitchener, complaints about police visits were also made by protesters in Halifax when G8 ministers met to discuss economic issues on April 26th.

Asif Rashid, Campaigns Co-ordinator at the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and a radio programmer at CKDU radio, was visited 6 weeks before a minor protest in Halifax.

According to Rashid, “Shaun Auld, a police officer or sergeant came in, unannounced.  He introduced himself and mentioned that he was here to find out about any activities with the G8 meeting.  He wanted to get info on protests and demos…he wanted to be up to speed.  We said we didn't know anything.  There wasn't anything organized yet.  He left his card.  I later learned that other labour groups were approached after.”

When asked why his workplace was targeted, Rashid said that his PIRG “has a history of being involved in levels of organizing.” 

“We have a reputation.  Also, I have a history. However, in actual fact, I had very little to do with the actions around the G8 meeting,” he said.

Like other activists in Toronto, Rashid thinks police intimidation was the main reason for the police visit.  “I think there are two reasons: intimidation and to try to gather some info ahead of time to make whatever actions that happened as ineffective as possible,” he said. 

Did it work?

“I think people did get affected by the intimidation and that played out in how events happened.  We didn't go down a historic major street (Spring Garden Road) and were put down a minor street [which was less visible]. Instructions were given that we would not be going down Spring Garden.  I think we could have ignored that, but organizers feared they could have been arrested if they didn't do what police wanted.”

Rashid also pointed out that just one week later on May Day, protesters went down Spring Garden Road without being stopped by police.

While G20 Planning Team Spokesperson, Meghan Gray could not comment on actions in Vancouver or Halifax, she did pass on a message which she asked the TMC to post:

"The Integrated Security Unit will work to ensure the Summit is safe and
secure for everyone, including those who live and work in Toronto,
protestors and police officers.  We value the rights guaranteed to every
Canadian in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and we will work to up hold
 them while ensuring public safety, peace and good order are maintained in
Toronto.  We believe most groups will want to express themselves in a
peaceful and responsible manner.  However, specific charges will be
applicable to anyone breaching a security perimeter or committing criminal
 offences."

Meanwhile, today police confirmed that they have purchased four sonic cannons for crowd 'communication'.  The same cannons were used at the last G8 Summit in Pittsburg to disperse protesters.

Recently released government documents show $1.1 Billion has been set side for security costs for the G8 & G20 meetings.

This is the second of a three-part series on police infiltration, harassment and abuse of power during the G8 & G20.  This first part can be found here

Gwalgen Geordie Dent is a sustaining and contributing member of the Toronto Media Co-op.


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1183 words

Comments

G20

I am very proud that Vancouver and Canadians can participate in the media co-op. The G20 is something that is in clear contradiction to a democracy , which Canada still is not one. However, I think it would be nice to see more coverage of the BANK OF CANADA. Most people read the banks homepage where and believe whatever is written. We in Canada have a Central Banking system just like America and run and owned by the same people who own the majority of Anglo-American-European central banks.
This system of banking, fiat currency, fractional reserve banking is the key behind all of this. Protesting is necessary but educating people on the roots of the problems is essential. If Canadians knew about central banking then maybe your front page would read something like : Canadians flood the streets and demand freedom from economic slavery!

This G20 , the cap and trade, war and taxes all come from one base, and that is the slavery of Central Banking and taxes imposed us citizens to pay the interest on the money borrowed from these corrupt banks.

Good work, but lets get some history going along with it!

I am an American who moved

I am an American who moved there and soon left. I have begun a blog on this type of police harassment there. Until you all have some rederal civil rights laws on the books this will continue to happen. I sure the US does covert spying if needs be but they are not this assinine. I am in a divorce with an Ontarti native. single mom and have a clean record and have to have one for my job, but your cops went to far and violated US Canadian treaty. They are so full of themselve. They reoprt to no mayor not one but an solictor general for a rpovince in Ont. SO over paid and so out of control. THey act like cops did pre US civil rights laws in the US.
Even your Suprme Court offers not protection. Freedom of protest and speech are just a myth in Canada.
www.justice.gov/crt The is the US civil rights home page. These laws were mainly passed to protect citizens from police harassment and brutality.
Time to anty up Canada. Otherwise the g20 g8 summits will finally show what many others have long known. Canada only appears to be a modern open soceity but those of who have dealt with bad cops know the truth. IF the govt of Canada only passes laws based on reports and not the will of the people. tnen it is not a democracy but a cloaked dictatorship.

banks

hy anonamous from vancouver, write some stuff up on the banks in canada and post it.  thats the best part of the media coop, it is open for all to write up what they want.  the only good stuff i have really watched on canaqdian economic buklshit was "our bought and sold out land" and after you get over the nationalism, its pretty good...

We want pics of Laurie McDougall

 LIsten, if members of the ISU are harrassing you, it is simple.

 

TAKE THEIR PICTURE AND POST IT!!!

Let these security goons have a taste of their own medicine.

I unfortunately won't get a visit ... they'd know better.

Hopefully those of you who are visited, do the right thing, post their pictures and what was said and lets build a little library.  

wikileaks.org

Another Complaint

My older sister, mother and I were watching as the "Free Speech" zone at Queen's Park was raided by riot police. We were across the street. At the same time, the riot police that were closing off the park started to rush us. I was punched, then pepper sprayed three times before hitting the ground. My sister and mother were also pepper sprayed. We were doing nothing but watching and I was video taping using my cell phone. My cell phone went missing as I fell to the ground screaming in pain. If it weren't for the kindness of strangers behind us, I fear I would have been beaten with battons and arrested for simply standing and watching. They pulled me away from the forward moving riot police who were already beginning to step on my legs and carried me away to safety. To them I am incredibly thankful. I do not recall how my sister or mother got out as I was blinded for about half an hour. Thank you to whomever ordered the riot police to move against a non-violent crowd, you have broken my faith in my country and democracy. Welcome to the Police State.

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