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Bedlam Continues to Reign in Toronto

Protester Convergence Space Locked Down, Vigil 'Kettled' and Arrested by Police

by Gwalgen Geordie Dent

Convergence Clowns PHOTO Sean Decory
Convergence Clowns PHOTO Sean Decory
TCMN press conference PHOTO Sean Decory
TCMN press conference PHOTO Sean Decory
TCMN member, later arrested PHOTO Sean Decory
TCMN member, later arrested PHOTO Sean Decory

Toronto - Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN) headquarters was locked down by police today at 4:30pm when over 50 police officers and 6 police vans blocked all building and street access and arrested several members for "breach of the peace". 

According to a TCMN member who was called during the lockdown, police had rounded up a number of people congregating outside of the space and detained them for three hours, threatening them repeatedly with extreme violence and arrest.  The protesters were shuttled to the sidewalk and then asked for their ID and questioned.  A number of the protesters were let go while a number were arrested and removed.

Earlier on in the day, 4 police managed to enter the TCMN headquarters asking for information on their lease.  The Alternative Media Centre was also approached by police today and asked for their lease information.

During the police lockdown, a large crowd formed on Queen St. near the police line.  The crowd, made up mostly of residents from Parkdale, a strong-knit community in Toronto, demanded the police stop the lockdown.

Tim, a Parkdale resident, said that police had lowered his feeling of security.  "I feel a lot less safe.  I live in this neigbourhood.  I live down the street and I feel safe walkign these streets everyday, but I do not feel safe walking these streets right now.  Because [the police] don't care whether I've done anything wrong or not.  All they care about is whether I say something they disagree with and if so, they will haul my ass in jail."

Various other accusations were made including: "where’s your name tag? put your name tags back on", “Get out of our neighborhood!  Get outta Parkdale!” and “We feel real safe with your guns pointed at us!”

Earlier at 4pm, a mass of protesters, estimated at between 200-1000 people, had converged and began marching towards the TCMN headquarters to show support for the Network.  The march, which began as a vigil and was joined by a bike protest, became boxed in at Queen St. and Spadina Av. 

According to an observer who e-mailed the Altenative Media Centre, "The group was completely surrounded and were slowly arrested.  It started raining at 7:00pm.  At this point people inside the intersection appeared to be arrested and held within the intersection. The arresties were not removed from the rain and loaded into vans until 8:00pm."

According to a AMC journalist embedded in the protest, several bystanders who had accientally got caught up in the march had medical issues but were only released after 1-3 hours then being left to fend for themselves.    One man had kidney issues and was hypothermic while another had type II diabetes. At the same time, police sat in transit buses that were hurridly brought in to keep them dry.

Meanwhile back at the TCMN headquarters, a police officer was overhead saying Cheri Di Novo, MPP for the area stated, “This is outrageous. I would like to know what provoked a raid on such a place, when its supposed to be a safe place for out of town, or even in town demonstrators. The police are not given this job to do out of their own consciousness.  They are given orders, they are acting under orders.  To me it’s the people who give the orders, and it’s the political leadership that needs to be held accountable."

“Part of the problem is getting the message out through the media,” she said.

 With files from Brett Story, Garson Hunter, Pete Aleksa


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584 words

Comments

Capitalism is Best

Capitalism combined with representative democracy is an imperfect system that is less imperfect than any other system ever deployed in the history of mankind as determined by status mobility, quality of life, income re-distribution, income rates, choice of lifestyle, access to emergency services, access to information, life-expectency and social welfare programs. Anarchy produces absolutely none of these things. I'm all for economic incentives to de-centralize corporate power back to small businesses, cottage industries and more localized control of commerce, but Anarchy is a disaster. Personal responsibility is key. Capitalism constrained by representative democracy Rocks! If you don't like it, vote. If not enough of you vote to destroy capitalism, then guess what: you're in the minority. Respect your minority status and respect the wishes of the majority of your fellow citizens. They are FAR more content with the current system and happy to keep it than you are.

what, really?

Really, vote out capitalism? Are you joking? Capitalism is not an electoral party, its a complex system of social relationships, between owners and investers, bosses and workers, human cultures and the land. You can't "vote it out," it has to be overthrown, in an also complex process of uprisings, strikes, rebellions, occupations, the subtle building of cultures of resistance around the globe, the seizing of terroritory, and the changing of ideas about authority, ownership, etc. There is no ballot box for this.

And personal responsibilty? Really? What about it raining oil in the Gulf, or the housing crisis and sibprime disaster in the west, or just general income ineuality and the rampant, unprecedented destruction of the earth, connotes personal responsibility to you? If anything represents or reuires personal responsibility, its the communities held together by mutual aid, shared cultural values, and cooperation desired by anarchists; not the world of short term gain and mindless self indulgence we see in late consumer capitalism.

And PS...the other commenter is right, just cus a business is local or small, doesnt make it "innocent." The worst wages, bosses, and working conditions ive ever had were at "small" businesses. The world is a complicated place; media stories like this that juxtapose good small businesses with bad multinationals arent helping. We need a TOTAL transformation; im into occupying and taking over small businesses just as much as the big ones.

I saw Sharmeen Khan of the

I saw Sharmeen Khan of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network on tv a few times outlining how females arrested were strip searched by male police and threatened with rape.

Are these cops being criminally charged and fired?

Um

I didn't post the above comment.  

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