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Protesters Resist Illegal Searches

by Megan Cotton-Kinch

Protesters Resist Illegal Searches

What does it mean to have a legal right to protest when police conduct illegal searches attempt to seize everything needed for that protest, including banners, water, medicine and sun protection and then attempt to prevent protesters from leaving the march? Demonstrators entering Allan Gardens were being illegally searched without their consent, but enough people resisted bypassed the cordons, and eventually police abandoned the systematic illegal searches. Eli Horwatt asked an officer what bylaw gave him the authority to search and seize and he replied “it’s not a bylaw”.   Sarah Shoshana, interviewed in the burning sunlight of the march, said: "They took my earplugs and my bandana. And they took Xavier's water.”  Lisa Walter witnessed a man having arm twisted and his backpack violently ripped from him.   Protesters dealt with this sharing what they had, even critical medical equipment: "The [street] medics got their epipen confiscated. So I gave the medics mine" said Barbara Legault from Montreal.  When asked what she would do if she needed it herself she said "If I need it I'll find a medic. They have it, it's collective, for everyone".   In yet another example of police targeting people of colour, demonstrators from No One Is Illegal were targeted.  Police insisting that they could not take their banners inside the park because of the weak bamboo sticks holding it up. Meanwhile, the park was full of the banners of other groups, some on large wooden stakes.  In solidarity with those targeted, people surrounded the police who eventually returned to police lines, without the NOII banners.   Mikey Muscat said that when other people resisted search “everyone started chanting “Whose park! Our park!” and the cops let them go.” Other people simply ran passed the cordon en masse. In the face of this civil disobedience the police basically abandoned their policy of searching everyone entering the park.  


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Megan Kinch (Megan Kinch)
Toronto Ontario
Member since December 2009

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is a writer and editor with the Toronto Media Co-op.

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