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Jail solidarity action attacked by Toronto police

Members of prisoner support rally outside G20 prison beaten, arrested by police

by Stefan Christoff

Jail solidarity action attacked by Toronto police

A prisoner solidarity protest in downtown Toronto today faced an unprompted attack by police forces.

Over 100 people gathered at Jimmie Simpson Park in east Toronto at 10am this morning, quickly moving onto the streets, for a high energy protest to support over 500 social justice activists arrested in the past 24 hours during protests against the Toronto G20 summit.

As people approached the G20 protest jail, a film studio warehouse building converted into a prison, people began clapping in unison, chanting "Free our Prisoners!" outside the jail gate flaked by armed police.

As hundreds gathered at the intersection facing the prison doors, the protest mood was spirited; one person played rhythms on a guitar while people chanted along to the music.

Organizers from Toronto G20 Community Mobilization Network appealed to people gathered at the intersection to stay calm, leading solidarity chants for the hundreds of jailed activists on the street.

Quickly without warning police lines moved in on the protest. Both heavily armed riot police and undercover agents charged at the people gathered, trampling over some protest participants who sat on the road chanting in unison. Quickly police swung baton blows randomly into the crowd and pushed the solidarity gathering away from the warehouse jail.

Police also carried out snatch squad arrests, rushing into the crowd and violently tackling people to the ground, including an accredited member of the G20 Alternative Media Centre. Faces hit the hard pavement as police in full riot gear randomly arrested participants in the jail solidarity rally.

After numerous arrests the police fully charged the protest pushing it to the north. Demonstrators moved away from the police line, some running. As people ran north gun shot sounds rang out in the air, white smoke filled the air as riot police ran towards the protest swinging batons.

As G20 leaders meet behind the multi layered security perimeter that has turned downtown Toronto into a fortress, the shocking security budget, now totalling well over $1 billion, illustrates the chilling face of a systematic affront on public dissent in Toronto as world leaders speak rhetorically about global cooperation.

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Topics: Solidarity

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Stefan Christoff (Stefan Christoff)
Montreal, Quebec
Member since April 2010


Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based journalist, community organizer and musician.

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