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Cops arrest comrade for standing beside G20 Fence

An eyewitness account of the first arrest under the Public Works Act

by Vancouver Media Co-op

The G20 Fence is now a "Public Work" and you can be forced to produce ID for standing within 5 meters // Flux Photo
The G20 Fence is now a "Public Work" and you can be forced to produce ID for standing within 5 meters // Flux Photo

From June 21-28, anyone who goes within five meters of the G20 fence in downtown Toronto can be arrested if they refuse to produce identification. Click here for more details on the Public Works Act. Jail solidarity starts tonight at 8:30pm at 629 Eastern (UPDATE, he was released.)

The Vancouver Media Co-op caught up with Cam Fenton, an eyewitness to the first known arrest under this act as it applies to the G20 fence. The arrest took place this afternoon. Here's his description of the events that led to the arrest of his friend:

We went down to go check out the security zone, just in the last day before it all gets shot down just to sorta get a feel of what's going on down there. We were walking a path that I've walked before, earlier this week, without any trouble.

One female officer noticed my water bottle and stopped us to ensure that it was in fact a water bottle, and in doing so other cops who were along the streets surrounded us. After that they decided they needed to search us, know our names, and write up reports on both of us.

We both refused to give our names, we said we do not consent to a search. They said that under the Public Works Act they had the right to arrest us, search us and learn our names even without due cause, without charges.

In my mind I just considered it complete bullshit and acted accordingly. The person who was arrested was put in handcuffs almost immediately. That whole process took about 10 minutes from the point we were first talked to.

After that the four officers surrounded me and demanded that I also give them my identification and I asked them before doing so if I could phone a lawyer to clarify if this public works actually existed or if it had been passed because to my knowledge, it didn't exist and it was an infringement on my rights.

They said no, so I handed over my ID and they promptly wrote down all my information and a detailed profile of all my visible tattoos...

Then, I was taken, I first stood at the end of the street and they repeatedly positioned themselves in vehicles to try and block my view of the arrest, eventually moving me to the other side of the street, where he was held probably for another 20 minutes from this point and time, there were various searches, they ran both of our names.

He was then taken in a Barrie police paddywagon to the prisoner processing center, the jail at the film studios. 


Curious as to why tens of thousands are protesting the G8/G20 summits?  Go to for up to the minute G20 and G8 Summit Protest Reporting, straight 'outta Toronto's Alternative Media Centre!

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dawn (dawn paley)
Member since August 2008


Journalist, co-founder VMC, ex-editor & board member with Media Co-op. Author, Drug War Capitalism.

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So if we're beyond 5 meters of the fence we're ok?  Or will they still arrest you? I've read you can refuse to show I.D. or answer questions without a warrant, or without having broken any traffic laws on foot or on bike, but will this really work or will they get all totalitarian on your ass?

seems like the only way to

seems like the only way to break these silly laws will have to be "en masse"!!!

Solidarity from australia.  good luck!

New Regulation


The CBC reported the arrest on Metro Morning and interviewed the man's lawyer. The issue was the legality of the new regulation that permits the police to demand that anyone within 5 m of the fence produce ID and submit to a public search. Matt Galloway interviewed a police spokesman who downplayed the questionable new regulation as just a little common-sense measure to protect the Leaders and the public. The spokesman claimed that the police have been telling everybody about this for some time. Galloway, who, unlike his predecessor,  Andy Barrie, seems out of his weight class in most of his interviews, then interviewed the arrestee's lawyer, who pointed out that the temporary regulation was passed without parliamentary debate and has been kept very quiet until yesterday, when it came into effect. Later in the discussion, Galloway asked (I paraphrase from here on...) what is wrong with the regulation, since those with nothing to hide would not be harmed? The lawyer's response was to liken this regulation to an undebated law that would permit indiscriminate police wiretapping since those who have nothing to hide would not be harmed.. "That's ridiculous," the lawyer said, of Matt's analogy, at which point Galloway ended the interview rather abruptly, it seemed.


Bull With Horns

What a bunch of bull*hit! The people have a right to speak to a lawyer and this case, if true as told in the above article, should be thrown out of court! Often police think they can go demanding ID, searches and making arrests without stating the person in question's rights and without warrants.

they don't "think they can"

they want to violate our rights.  They are trained to attempt to force us to give this information.  It is not required (in most situations) but they make it sound obligatory. Then when you allow them, that's consent.

Important point : they are trained to violate our rights.

this law gives the police

this law gives the police officer absolute power. a police officer is a citizen just like you or I, the country is heading in the wrong direction, just wait and see this is the beginning of being watched by big brother and the 2 minutes hate.... welcome to 1984 folks....

police illegal searches and harassment not confined to fence

people are being harassed, searched, photographed, their IDs taken, and being threatened with arrest if not compliant, as far north as Bloor St., many km from the fence.

I hope that these violations of basic rights serve to awaken people from a pacifist and reformist slumber.

The site for the Toronto local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.