My neighbours and I disagree about the means used by Toronto Police in order to maintain order in Toronto during the recent G20 Summit. We all agree that 1) those that damaged property should be charged and punished, 2) police had a difficult task, 3) peaceful protesters in the crowd should have done more to prevent the Black Bloc from doing damage, 4) Toronto Police broke the laws of Canada in illegally searching and arresting bystanders, 5) The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was infringed upon for those that were arrested. What we do not agree on is if the actions of police were correct, given difficult conditions.
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Was Toronto Police Action Against G20 Protesters Justified?
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Toronto Riot Police and protester: Everything is not Ok
It aches me to read these stories, but I knew from video coverage and from photos of Toronto Riot Police intimidation that many innocent people that live in Toronto would get beaten up and arrested by police. Unfortunately surprising but not unexpected. The stories come from all ages, male and female, and varied professions. It seems that there were no filtering of good or bad, that all at the scene were bullied, beat up and arrested. It is upsetting that such treatment by police can happen in my home town of Toronto. Maybe I am too naive. Those who endured the brutality will never forget. The issue of police brutality, overzealous police behavior and the G20 overall will become a significant provincial and federal issue.
I used to joke that after living in China and Japan for a couple of years, returning to my home city of Toronto was a non event. It was literally a non event because nothing really changes in Toronto. Sleepy and a tad boring, Toronto seemed to always be the same stable environment. I have come to change my viewpoint now because of the startling and sudden infringement of human rights and the rule of law that has occurred due to the G20 summits that are now being held in Toronto. With law enforcement ballooning to 14,000, imported from all police departments throughout Canada, police decked out in full riot gear, secretly enacted laws of search and arrest (Ontario’s Public Works Protection Act, specifics for the G20), without public debate nor following the proper procedures of the courts, Toronto has degraded from a sleepy democracy to a communist country or a police state. Startling is how fast my city degraded to a police state, catching all of us by surprise. I expect this while living in China but I did not realize that democracy can be so easily overturned by so few.