G 20 and Police Brutality!

Posted: April 6, 2013 by aks2403 in Cases - Public Order, Toronto G20 2010

On June 26th, 2010, Toronto held an event in which leaders from all over the world settled for two days to discuss important financial information. This event created several protests before the G20 Summit even started. The day prior to the event, metal fences were posted around the area where the meetings were taking place, with posters and banners so that officials could not see what was happening on the other side of the fence. Security started off with Toronto Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Forces and within twenty four hours, there were over 20,000 police officers that came to the aid in hopes to control the riots and protests. To the political leader’s knowledge, the G20 went smoothly. They believed that the city was quiet, and it seemed that way because officers had placed borders blocks away from the G20 so no one could get near the location where the G20 was taking place. After watching the video “You Should Have Stayed Home” on CBC, viewers got a sense of what happened from the standpoint of people who either participated in the protest or were curious and attended to see what it was all about. Through the footage, viewers could see that there was already heavy police presence which gave an aggressive vibe to the situation. Officers were dressed in riot gear walking the streets, making it look as if they were expecting a situation to occur. There were several groups that came to protest at the G20, some came to protest against the G20, and some came to make awareness to other issues. Whatever their reasons were, they were peacefully protesting. Later during the afternoon, some protesters broke off from the group and started to vandalize property. This is when the commotion truly began. Officers stood by and watched windows and cars get vandalized, since they were ordered to stand back. This set the mood for other individuals who saw the police take no action. Quickly, a riot broke out, and since officers were told to stand down from getting involved, officers began to harass people peacefully protesting blocks away. People were brutally assaulted by police officers with rubber bullets and tear gas for not moving from the designated protesting area! The officers violated the rights of citizens to protest, meanwhile, people were committing actual crimes and no one bothered to intervene for a long period of time. Once there were enough officers to create a strong force, officers began trying to control the situation using unnecessary physical force. Several clips in the CBC documentary exploited the officers; yet, the Police Chief did not seem too bothered about the footage. People were dragged by the arms and neck behind a lineup of police officers, and it is unknown what abuse took place there. One man ended up with a broken arm and the police did not obtain medical attention, until the day after, another physically challenged older man was dragged to the side of the street because he could not get up quick enough. People where unlawfully detained in holding centers, made of metal cages bounded up, and a porta- potty with no doors. The cells were overcrowded and freezing cold, there were no blankets or pillows and some people hand no choice but to stand. Officers had broken a law because they had a mix of adults and underage children placed in the same cells. The basic necessity’s such as food, water and medical attention were ignored for hours, up to the next day. People were strip searched for no reason, they were not criminals, they were just peacefully protesting. More than 1,000 people were charged with ridiculous accusations, most of them dropped. This event took a huge toll on the people of Toronto, especially the ones who were brutally attacked, hungry and thirsty or the ones forced to use a washroom in front of strangers. The footage is truly disturbing to view. The title “You Should Have Stayed at Home” is unfair but true depending on your point of view. I think it is unfair because people came from far and wide to see what the G20 was about, and to give awareness to the issues in the city. The protest was going great until a few people decided to protest in their own way. I don’t believe people came with the intent to create a riot, people watching probably got involved because of the atmosphere. If the police were letting vandalism go on, why not join the group and have a little fun?

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Comments
  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Note that the G20 fences were put in place well before the events of the G20 weekend.

    You note that “the commotion truly began” in the wake of the incidents of property destruction. It is true that the direct police reprisals and mass-arrests took place in response to this, but it is important to note that illegal stops, unlawful arrests, and provocations took place beforehand as well.

    You state that “Several clips in the CBC documentary exploited the officers”.

    What do you mean by this? How were they exploited?

    You conclude by noting that:

    “I don’t believe people came with the intent to create a riot, people watching probably got involved because of the atmosphere. If the police were letting vandalism go on, why not join the group and have a little fun?”

    It is important to keep a sense of perspective regarding the ‘riots’ of the G20. We are not talking about a widespread mass event like the Vancouver 2011 Stanley Cup riot. The G20 protest did not, as a whole, turn into a riot. It would be more accurate to say that pockets of property destruction took place within the broader context of the G20 events.

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