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Activists warned that speaking to media could lead to jail

G8/G20 Toronto Community Mobilization

by The Toronto Community Mobilization Network


OPP seeks to silence alleged G20 protest ringleaders

July 29, Toronto – The OPP have warned two alleged G20 protest ringleaders, Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert, that their recent media interviews are a violation of bail conditions not to organize, participate or advise protests. On the morning of July 28, OPP officers called their sureties and threatened to re-jail them if they persist in speaking to the media. Leah and Alex were released on bail on Monday July 19, three weeks after they were arrested at gunpoint in a pre-emptive nighttime raid on their Toronto home.

“There could hardly be a clearer indication that the police are trying to silence the voices of these organizers at all costs. Alex and Leah refuse to be intimidated from speaking out about their experiences and the daily injustices perpetrated against our society’s most marginalized communities,” says Faraz Shahidi, their supporter and member of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG – Toronto).
 
Leah and Alex recently appeared on CBC radio, Toronto Sun, Vancouver Media Co-op, and Rabble decrying the politically-motivated nature of the charges against them and calling on all people to support Indigenous communities, poor people, precarious migrants, and communities under occupation in the face of attacks by the leaders and policies of the G20 on their lands, livelihood, and health.
 
“Freely expressing opinions is not illegal. These violations of the right to free speech and the freedom of the press to speak to G20 defendants have a grave impact on all of us,” said Ryan White, a lawyer with the Movement Defence Committee.
 
According to well-known constitutional lawyer Clayton Ruby, “The targeting of activists should be of concern to all of us. The erosion of Charter rights, the trampling of civil liberties, and the
criminalization of dissent is an attempt to destroy the foundation of our society. Everyone has an equal stake in this.”
 
Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert will appear in court again on Friday to defend against a Crown appeal of their bail. Dave Vasey, an anti-G20 environmental justice organizer who was arrested for breaking the illusory 5-metre rule under the Public Works Act on June 24, 2010, appeared in court on Wednesday only to find that his charges had mysteriously disappeared from all court and police records, circumstances the presiding justice of the peace called “highly unusual.”
 
“The mass arrests and targeting of activists raises serious issues about the criminalization of dissent as we confront deepening austerity on a global basis. These instances make visible the power of the police and governments to continue acting with impunity,” says Cynthia Wright, a York University professor.
 
“Our movements will not be silenced. We dare to dream of a world with freedom, justice, and equality; without tanks and prisons and borders and other oppressive institutions that steal sustenance from the world's majority,” says Rachel Avery, member of AW@L and a music student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. “We will continue to organize against the G8 and G20 leaders and their corporate villains that pillage the earth with industrial projects and profit from war.”

- G8/G20 Toronto Community Mobilization

Original at: http://g20.torontomobilize.org/node/434

( nb: I simply posted this TCMC press release. I am not the author.)

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Michael Lessard (Michaël Lessard)
Québec
Member since May 2010

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Salutation / Greetings, Je gère un média communautaire régional, en ligne, où vous pouvez publier toute activité engagée ou progressiste: Le Média-calendrier de la démocratie en actions, Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches I manage a regional community online media : www.reseauforum.org

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Comments

I'm speechless

Really, I am baffled that the police could imagine that speaking to the media about your case is a violation of bail conditions. How dominant or power thirsty can you get.

I hope lawyers will put the police back in their place.

I am angry as hell

I am making sure that people in the USA who have said they want to move here know what Canada is really like.  I am furious.  The full police power of the state is being used to try and silence dissent.  The state will fail.  They will just radicalize more people.  Canada is a police state.

Eh, yes and no

Similar and worse cases have occurred in the USA, that is to say :

  • rather violent repression during G8/G20/WTO/"Free Trade" summits (see Miami Model)
  • repression, with a political bent, during the Bush II years
  • local police trying to silence music bands that sound subversive or rude (yes, it does still happen, though I presume it is very rare)
  • and, of course, cases of police abuses, racism, human rights violations and brutality.

It is pretty much the same causes and a very similar culture.

It's a gross exaggeration to say that all of Canada and Quebec are police states in general, and unfair to imply that the USA is not worse. Hundreds of Arab men were detained arbitrarily after 9/11; while about 10 similar cases occurred in Canada during that period. Current US politics still allows Guantanamo Bay to exist, a hell hole where hundreds were imprisoned and humiliated 1 to 9 years (!) without a fair trial; though Harper seems to like the spirit of it.

I'm not sure there's is much difference police-wise between the USA and Canada, but I do know I would rather face the law and a court in Canada :P.

The actions of the police, especially massively and against all woks of people, was a surprise to many, including seasoned activists; though Harper and friends gave us enough threats to be able to predict the repression. But what we do know as more common place, is that marginalized people everywhere (ex.: homeless people on the street, prostitutes, first nations, marginal-looking youth, etc), in various countries (including Canada), are sometimes submitted to actions similar to what people went through during the G20. In a sense, Harper and police chief Blair told agents that those coming to protest are delinquents and criminals and so the police (and even some judges) treated them as such; which gives us an idea how the police treats marginalized members of our society.

What is troubling, in my view, is how polls seem to indicate that a majority of non-activist people in Canada don't seem to care about their democracy and civil rights, as if it's OK to "forget" the law and the Constitution if it is to repress what seems to be a minority (activists of all sorts).  If that is the case, I guess our modern way of life can kill the soul or the mind. But, realistically, selfishness is not uncommon throughout humankind, but I think people do come around (read: that a desire for justice does, in the end, surmount individualism). We will prevail, simply because the current attitude and actions of the police cannot pass (not for long anyhow).

freedom of association was

freedom of association was also prohibited, including to No One is Illegal. The Canadian state, with a full nod from the Prime Ministers' office, is well into declaring civil organizing groups illegal.

Conservative Ministers make legislation announcements without any debate had in parliament. Harper uses the G20 as an excuse to tuck $500 Million under the RCMP' mattress. It goes on and on.... Welcome to a fascistic state Canada.

Police intimidation or Terrorism

Although Bill Blair's lies from his position of power may  be accurately described as 'police intimidation' and fraud and prosecuted as such,  in my mind, the more I look into the actions of the whole police force I see no other description but terrorism for what the police did. Appropriate charges MUST be laid a decided by a JURY.

 

What is  astounding is that with all the eye-witness accounts as well as videos. there have been no charges filed yet from any Crown Attorney against the police. I see this as a clear indication of a 'conflict of interest' on the part of the Crown Attorneys. There seems to be no other solution to such a conflicted group as them at this point  to assemble a GRAND JURY and have a citizen validated as the Attorneys General so our  'so called ' authorities can be properly dealt with under LAW, just as has been done many times in here in the past under COMMON LAW. 

GRAND JURY

We don't have Grand Juries here in Canada. The closest we have are judicial inquiries and Coroner's inquests.

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