Groups of undercover police were repeatedly identified by protesters at marches occurring between Monday and Wednesday. Some were reportedly wearing black baseball caps, bandanas with marijuana leaf-designs on them, and patches with Che Guevara on them. When asked by journalists if they were police, none denied it. Several arrests were made each day, habitually after the days' demonstrations had dispersed and people were leaving the scene.
On Thursday we all discovered that a regulation created by the authority of the Public Works Act had been passed in secret on June 2nd, which essentially allows for anyone within five metres of the G20 security fence (even if they happen to just be walking by), to be searched without reason, asked for their ID, detained, and even possibly arrested. Dave Vasey did not wish to show his ID without reason and consequently was the first person to be arrested under this new regulation. He is facing court on July 28. Many other similar searches, detainments, and arrests have been made since.
One woman accused by police of trying to break into a building. When she spoke to the press it was revealed that the building was her place of work and she had been using her keys to get inside.
On Friday morning at 4:45am Police pre-emptively raided 2 Toronto houses where activists were staying. No warrant for arrest was shown. Police kicked people from their beds and made arrests. A tenant residing upstairs in one of the houses awoke to a gun in his face, and was cuffed and arrested, before being released and told that that he had been mistakenly arrested. Later the same morning, police arrested 15-20 organizers from Montreal. A spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network was arrested on his way to a press conference to discuss the roundup of activists and organizers by police. Another organizer slated to be at the press conference was "snatched" and thrown into an unmarked van by police, driven around for an hour without being told where she was being taken, and eventually dropped off in Mississagua. What many find most significant here, is the pre-emptive nature of these raids (many arrested were the organizers of demonstrations and events yet to take place), and the appalling lack of due process in making the arrests. Bail is being set high for some: between $1000 and $5000. Some are being faced with charges more severe than others, “conspiracy to committ mischief” among them.
In the early morning, 80 workers from Hotel Novotel' s Unite Here! Local 75 went on strike. The strike was triggered after Accor, the French company that owns Novatel, walked away from negotiations without addressing an offer put on the table by the union, which included basic demands for a pension plan and guaranteeing workers enough hours to make a living.
Emomotimi Azorbo, a deaf man unrelated to G20 organizing, was beaten and arrested because he did not hear police commands to stay off the road. Azorbo was handcuffed, preventing him from communicating with officers, who also refused his friend's offer to interpret. Azorbo was refused an American Sign Language interpreter in the temporary jail where G20 arrestees are being held. He is charged with three counts of assaulting police plus resisting arrest.
While trying to film Azorbo's violent arrest, Jesse Freeston, of the Real News Network, was punched in the face twice by police, and had his microphone temporarily confiscated while other media crowded around and yelled for the police to return it.
On Saturday, there was no sign of protester violence, among the 25, 000 plus people who took to the streets, contrary to what many corporate media reports are conveying. A few banks, franchises and corporations had their windows smashed in symbolic shows of property damage. On the contrary, levels of police violence have been extreme and brutal. Police repeatedly attacked and arrested peaceful protesters and journalists.
A number of police cars were set on fire. They were abandoned in the middle of intersections beforehand, and stripped of all their equipment by police--the cars were discovered to have been damaged previously, which led to reports that the police had purposefully left the cars there as bait, hoping to tempt protesters to set the cars on fire, in order to justify their own violent acts. Later accounts led many to believe that the fires themselves were set by undercover police, or agents provocateurs.
One journalist was beaten by police.
Another community organizer was violently thrown around by police and later arrested, with several “severe” charges.
Jesse Rosenfeld, journalist with The Guardian, was punched in the eye, and violently arrested, being told he “talked too much.” At least four more Alternative Media journalists were arrested throughout the day.
A CTV producer and 2 National Post journalists were also arrested.
A family of non-protesters was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were pushed back with police bikes and pepper sprayed. Message recieved by a journalist: “They were pushing my mom and me and throwing punches at my brother and they just kept pushing forward and saying 'move move move' and not really caring who was there. I have cancer and I kept saying "I have cancer, I have cancer,' but they didn't care, they just kept pushing forward.”
Later on in the day, there is footage of police charging out of their lines, about five at a time, and violently arresting peaceful protesters, one by one, dragging them back behind police lines, pushing them to the ground and handcuffed.
Mass arrests were conducted, and large numbers of people were arrested who happened to be in the area at the time.
After the violent arrests described above, a university woman was trampled by a cops on horses in Queen's Park, a so-called “Free Speech Zone.” She was among other peaceful protestors in the park at the time, but did not manage to get out of the way fast enough. She was reportedly badly injured. The police arrested her.
The Queen's Park Area saw about 20,000 police from all over the country, whether on horse, in cars, in vans, in riot gear, undercover, or in the choppers above. The area was described by many as a military camp, or a war zone.
There have been multiple reports of police following people in the streets and harassment and intimidation. Some people have been detained and harassed for the T-shirts they have chosen to wear, most notably, a shirt that is currently selling 'like hotcakes,' which says "Fuck the G20."
There have been photos taken of individuals being "disappeared" into unmarked, presumably police vans.
A peaceful sit-in staged at Novotel Hotel in support of striking workers was stopped by police and more than 100 arrests were made. People were not given an option to leave first.
A party of about 130 people who went to the detention centre last night to do jail solidarity work for hundreds of friends and fellow activists still being held there was broken up by riot police, and told that if they left right away they would not be arrested. About 100 left right away, and 30 stuck around to discuss for about 2 minutes. They decided to leave, but were no longer left with a choice, as police surrounded and arrested them. Among those arrested were 2 or 3 legal observers.
On Sunday, at 10am, another group of people went to the detention centre to do jail solidarity. They were reportedly eventually dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets, and many were beat with batons, as the police charged on a peaceful crowd of over 100, some playing music. At least 20 more arrests were made. A stand-off between police and protesters continues right now, outside of the detention centre.
Many protesters are also currently being hospitalized for injuries from being beaten by police.
After driving by the Alternative Media Centre (AMC) several times the previous night, police showed up at the doors of the AMC claiming that neigbours had issued complaints about people milling around outside. (Many in the neighbourhood have come by the media centre, but only to offer words of support, and to get the news). Police said they could not be sure whether or not those inside the space had broken in or were squatting. Luckily, the landlord vouched for the AMC folks and the police eventually left.
70 people were targeted and arrested at the University of Toronto.
An alternative journalist was arrested for filming police doing searches of everybody at an activists convergence space where many were preparing to return to their home cities. The convergence space is currently being raided by more than 200 police and more than 30 activists have been arrested. The rest of the people there are “still surrounded.” The journalist was ultimately released. There is currently a demonstartion happening outside of the convergence centre.
The majority of arrests made so far have involved giant "sweeps" of peaceful protesters, and have not been made for any identifiably justifiable/ legal reasons, or with due process, such as reading people their rights, allowing them access to a lawyer, or informing them of the charges against them.
The corporate media continue, for the most part, to focus on “protester violence,” while neglecting to report on rampant police violence or on the issues that the protesters themselves have raised at demonstrations.
The number of arrests since the G20 protests began is now 520+.
Personally, I have never seen anything like this and am appalled at the terrifying political and rhetorical shift that has occurred in Canada's treatment of its community organizers in the last few days. It seems to me that activists are being treated as terrorists of some sort. I cannot imagine any other reason for targeting everybody involved in the organization of events and demonstrations, for targeting journalists and communications people, for rounding people up and locking them away, for raiding their homes, simply for protesting the G20 summit in some form or another.
UPDATE: 600 ARRESTED, Sunday early evening.
UPDATE 2: "A few hundred" protesters arrested at Queen and Spadina, at approximately 9:30pm, Sunday.
UPDATE 3: Terrible prison conditions being reported by some of those being released: cold and overcrowded "cages," lack of food and water, hands being left tied, strip searches, sexual assault.
UPDATE: 900 arrests and counting. Largest number of arrests in Canadian history
UPDATE: The regulation created by the authority of the Public Works Act was fabricated by police and in complicity with politicians. Nobody bothered to mention it had all been a lie until after the summit was over.