Anyone who comes with in five meters of the G20 security perimeter will lose their normal rights because the area has been declared a “public work” under the Public Works Protection Act. According to the Act, police have the power to force people to identify themselves and be searched. The Act says Police can arrest, without a warrant, “any person who neglects or refuses to comply with a request or direction of a guard or peace officer, or who is found upon or attempting to enter a public work without lawful authority.”
Police used this power on Thursday, June 24th when they arrested activist Dave Vasey. Police Surrounded Vasey and Cam Fenton when they came close to the fence.
“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,” said Fenton.
Vasey was arrested immediately. Fenton was eventually allowed to leave the area after giving the police his ID.
Police say that under laws like the Public Works Protections Act, they are mandated to balance the “constitutional rights of every citizen” with “the need to protect life and property,” according to a media relations officer.
“We're concerned that police are using this regulation, especially with the lack of notice,” said the Movement Defence Committee, a group that is providing legal support to people during the G20 summit.
“What we are seeing in practice is heavy-handed detentions and suspensions of freedoms. It creates a chill effect on free speech.”
If you are arrested or witness an arrest you can contact the Movement Defense Committee at 416 273 6761. Friends and family of those arrested can call 416 273 6781 To read about the new regulation visit: http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/3765 To read about the arrest visit: http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/node/3767