G20 Live: Monday, June 28
5:44p.m. Police Headquarters, Rally underway
Hundreds of people, possibly 500, have taken over the eastbound lanes of College St., between Bay St. and Yonge St, in front of police headquarters. Chanting "Shame!" and "2-4-6-8- We don't want a police state."
4:30 p.m. Toronto Police Headquarters, Police get ready for rally
About 40 police officers, mostly on bicycles, are stationed outside of police headquarters at 40 College St., in anticipation of a protest on Monday, June 28, 2010. (Photo Brendan Kennedy/Toronto Star)
About 40 police officers are stationed in front of 40 College St in anticipation of a rally being held by the Toronto Community Mobilization Network. The network is critical of the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators made by police over the G20 weekend, saying their rights have been violated. The group wants all those arrested to be released.Scheduled to speak are author Naomi Klein and activist Judy Rebick.
As the officers stood waiting, one of them questioned Star reporter Brendan Kennedy. "You're counting officers, I have ever reason to stop you and ask who you're talking to on your cellphone," said Officer J. Phelps who refused to provide his first name before stepping back into an unmarked maroon van with other officers.
4:30 p.m Police Headquarters, Police asking for ID
Police are asking some people for identification and searching bags. Cars and taxi cabs are not being allowed to park or stand on the street. Police officers stop a young man on his bike wearing a backpack around the corner from police headquarters. He was stopped and asked to show ID as police searched his bags.
Unmarked vans full of police officers are regularly passing in front of police headquarters, seemingly doing repeated loops around the block.
4:30 p.m. College Park, Employees asked to leave work
A woman in long orange skirt walks by line of police and calls out" "Restraint - word of the day guys, restraint!"
Some provincial employees working at College Park across from police headquarters have been advised to leave work early because of the planned demonstration.
2:46 p.m.: Downtown eats discounted
Church St. Wine Bar owners Ted and Mary Koutsogiannopoulos are starting a campaign, called G-ATE, to encourage customers to eat downtown again after the G8/G20 summit.
The restaurant owners are encouraging other restaurateurs to join through Twitter and Facebook. The Wine Bar will serve three courses from its regular menu for $25, a savings of $12 to $18.
The Wine Bar lost more than half of its revenue during the weekend summit. The promotion runs to July 15.
Amy Pataki, Restaurant Critic
12:38 p.m. Steve's Music cleans up
The manager of Steve's Music on Queen West says he "absolutely" will apply for compensation from the federal government for damage to the store on Saturday.
Four big plate glass windows cracked and smashed from the heat of a police car set on fire right outside of the store just east of Spadina. The sign on the 33-year-old Queen West landmark is charred and some of the plastic letters are melted.
Gerry Markman says it'll cost $2,577 to replace the shattered glass.
"At the begining, it was all peaceful stuff," says sales floor manager Nigel Roopnarine, who was in the store with customers. Around 4 p.m. Saturday, a group showed up carrying a black flag with red lettering and the mood changed, he recalls. Saturday manager Kevin Parker bolted the door, even though people from the street were trying to get in.
A shirtless man in dreadlocks tried to climb the Steve's sign and nearly fell. Inside, they watched people in black throw "mini bowling balls" at police, then the car was set on fire. "It was very scary," says Roopnarine.
Steve's staff snuck the customers out to the back alley. Employees eventually got out when they managed to get to their cars in the back and drive down Peter St.
Ninety per cent of the protesters were peaceful, Roopnarine said. About Sunday night's four-hour standoff between police and people in the intersection of Queen and Spadina, he says, "It's upsetting what happened on Saturday, but I can see police wouldn't know who's who."
12:07 p.m. Two held with pocket knives
Joshua Enns says he was at a prayer vigil and David Breed says he was out for a walk when both were arrested yesterday and found themselves at the Eastern Ave. detention centre.
Both had pocket knives on them and face concealed weapons charges. Enns, who is studying to be a math student, says he was strip searched and moved from cell to cell, unable to talk to a lawyer.
He was "passing peace" to officers on the front lines when four officers took him into custody. He was wearing a black T-shirt that reads, "Peace."
He says he was driven around for hours and spent five hours in pain because he had to pee. "I hope this is cleared up so I'll be able to teach," he says. He says he uses is dollar-store knife to cut fruit.
Breed, a security guard at Molson Amphitheatre, says he and his girlfriend were watching the bike rally and thinking about brunch when he was taken into custody. His girlfriend, waiting outside the detention centre for him, had lawyers numbers scrawled in her arm.
11:41 a.m. We didn't want summit, Miller says
Toronto never asked for the G20 summit, Toronto Mayor David Miller says.
The mayor repeated during his morning news conference that holding the summit wasn't Toronto's idea, it was the federal government's based on the very wrong theory that downtown Toronto would be empty on a summer weekend.
Miller also says he wants Ottawa to compensate businesses that lost income and people who lost wages because they closed during the summit. Ottawa has already said it doesn't have to compensate anyone.
"I would be surprised if seeing the news of the weekend if the federal government didn't change their position. This is a federal responsibility. This is their conference."
Asked about the front-page editorial in the Star that the summit failed the city and its people, Miller says it was "vastly overstated," although he allows that "hosting a summit like this is not the wisest" thing to do in the middle of a metropolis.
Miller also says he doesn't have a subscription to the Star, although he does have one to the Globe.
He defended police, saying they had "very little lead time" to prepare. Miller referred to complaints about police brutality has "isolated incidents or problems. We have a process to deal with that.
"Police acted with professionalism. In the very big picture, our police did a very commendable job. I regret the fact that because of the violence actions of people who chose to hide in the crowd with completely innocent people" that some people got caught in the police net.
Was it worth it? "A lot of Torontonians would say no. This was never an event that was designed to bring a positive economic impact on Toronto" even with 10,000 international delegates packing hotels.
Huntsville had two years to prepare for the G8 summit, he said. Toronto had six months. He thinks it should have been held at Exhibition Place.
11:20 a.m. Restoration begins
After a messy weekend around the city, clean-up crews and workers were out attempting to bring the city back to normal.
Kevin Sack, a spokesman with the city of Toronto said staff had been out since Sunday evening to put back street furniture, and clean-up the remnants from the protests.
“Some of those repairs will start immediately,” he said. “You can bet everyone has an interest in getting the city back to its former pre-G20 condition as soon as possible.”
Bike racks were among the first to be put back into place this morning. Crews would also be putting garbage cans and benches back over the course of the week, he said. “We’re eager to get the bins back into place as quickly as we can,” he said.
The furniture was removed weeks before the G20 protest amid concerns that the furniture could be used as potential weapons.
The security fence was also slowly coming down in the city’s core Monday morning.
The Integrated Security Unit said workers taking the fence down would be in the best position to know how long it will take. A spokeswoman with the city said they had until July 10 to get the fence cleared away.
11:11 a.m. Accusations of strip-search on women by male police officers
Three people in their 20s have just held a news conference to talk about police treatment during the summit.
Amy Miller, Jesse Rosenfeld and Adam MacIsaac describe themselves as independent media and allege police refused to accept their ID. They didn't have G20 media accreditation, but say they did have ID.
Miller, who lives in Montreal, charges male police officers gave women a full strip search and many returned to their cells at the Eastern Ave. detention centre traumatized and crying.
MacIsaac says he was repeatedly kicked in the ribs and stunned with a stun gun. He showed the marks on his body. He says police ignored him when he told them that he has a pacemaker. The incident happpened at Bloor and St. Thomas, he says.
MacIsaac is from Prince Edward Island.
Rosenfeld, who lives in the Middle East, says he was reporting for the British newspaper The Guardian, which has described him as a contributor to their open Comment is free website. MacIsaac says he had $6,000 in camera equipment stolen and was told to "file a complaint" to get it back.
All three, who were held for many hours in the detention centre before being released today, say they haven't filed complaints yet, but are considering it.
10:51 a.m. Trinty-Bellwoods resident disputes police version
A man who lives in the Trinty-Bellwoods neighbourhood says he was just on his way home last night when he was corralled in the intersection of Queen and Spadina and forced to spent nearly four hours there in the pouring rain.
"We were just trying to go home," Richard Beer told CP24 this morning. "We were boxed in with nowhere to go."
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says people inside the human wall of police in the intersection were given three chances to leave. Beer says they weren't. And Star reporter Raveena Aulakh, who also spent hours in the intersection, says there was nothing said by police that people could leave.
Before police boxed people in, she had heard they shouted a warning. But not afterwards.
Most of the people standing around him in the downpour were just bystanders, Beer says.
A friend who volunteered to go was sent single file through a police line but then was put into a Court Services van and taken to Scarborough. Hours later, she was dropped off at Kennedy subway station, where Beer and friends collected her.
Blair insisted earlier this morning that people were asked to leave three times. The ones who stayed, in his opinion, were "facilitating" the others in the group intent on violence.
9:59 a.m. 15-year-old released after 33 hours
15-year-old Liam has just walked free of the Eastern Ave. detention centre, where he has been held since very early Sunday morning.
Liam, who goes to Central Tech, says he was down on the Esplanade just before midnight on Saturday night when he was arrested.
"If you're a citizen of Toronto watching the protest, you've got to expect to be detained," he says.
A sergeant called his parents after 24 hours but he was not able to speak with them.
"I'm pretty sure my parents are going to be upset."
The police surrounded a large group of people and "once they surrounded us, they said we should have just left because we were all being arrested."
Wearing an orange T-shirt and jeans, the babyfaced Liam has short, almost shaved dark blond hair and stands about 5-foot-5. He says he was held with three others in the young offenders' cell and they've all been released without charges.
The small crowd outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre is making posters now, including one that says "Amnesty for the Toronto 900."
There are granola bars, apples, bananas, strawberries, pakoras and a big bag of popcorn for them to eat.
9:32 a.m. 15-year-old held in detention centre
Keith MacDonald has just been released from the Eastern Ave. detention centre to cheers and clapping from the crowd.
He contends police inside the detention centre are just telling people what they think they want to hear. A 15-year-old boy has been in there for 33 hours, he says, and they told him 10 hours ago they called his dad.
MacDonald, who is in his late teens or early 20s, says he was arrested at Queen and Noble in Parkdale yesterday at 3 p.m. when police were arresting anyone who wasn't part of the media.
He says he was wearing a black T-shirt and black pants, with a shaved head and a bandanna. He says he was charged with a raft of things, including obstruction of police, but all charges were dropped.
9:26 a.m. On Eastern Ave.
The Eastern Avenue detention centre still looks like an armed camp. Two entrances on the south side of Eastern are heavily guarded by police, some of whom are shaded from the hot morning sun under large white tents.
A golf cart with three police holding armfuls of water bottles drove leisurely between the entrances.
Empty TTC buses with "Chartered" on the digital sign above the windshield are entering the facility, several at a time, from downtown.
The Modu-loc fences remain, anchored in the steel reinforced concrete jersey barriers. A small group of media are on the north side of Eastern, no crowds any more.
9:14 a.m. Travel advisory
Union Station exits that were closed early this morning have now been opened. TTC is reporting traffic delays and heavy traffic on Bay St. near Wellington St. W. because of the G20 security fences. Crews started taking security fences apart overnight.
8:36 a.m. Arrest numbers keep climbing
The Integrated Security Unit is confirming that police have made more than 900 G20-related arrests since June 18.
8:29 a.m. Outside the detention centre
There are about 10 people waiting outside the holding centre at Eastern Ave. About half of them were inside overnight and have been let out. Others are waiting for family and friends still inside.
Those who spent the night inside the makeshift jail say conditions were terrible, lights were never turned off and they were kept in holding pens with only a bench for 10 people. They were fed cheese sandwiches every four hours and given a small glass of water every two hours.
Each time someone walks free, a cheer goes up from the crowd.
A group of Montreal students just released say they were walking to the Greyhound bus station to leave at 10 a.m. yesterday when they were surrounded by dozens of police officers. They say they were charged with wearing a disguise and possessing weapons, although they say they were just wearing black clothes and carrying water and lemons.
All the charges have been dropped, they say. Everyone was strip searched when they were taken in.
"You're young, you're anarchists, you're violent. That's what the police think," says Charles from Montreal.
"They were telling us we smell bad," says Roxanne Anouk. "We've been sleeping on the floor all night."
They had come to Toronto, they say, to protest brutality, the environment, war and the need for free education. Charles declined a TV interview, saying, "I don't want my parents to see me like this."
8:16 a.m. Police chief speaks
"Dozens and dozens" of people were arrested on their way to the Queen and Spadina demonstration last night carrying weapons, including wet Molotov cocktails, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says.
He defends the hours people spent in the pouring rain hemmed in at the intersection, saying they had three chances to leave. Told people were confused about how to get out, he repeated that they had a chance to leave and the media had a chance to move back when told.
What he called planned criminal activity was "made a lot easier by the complicity of the crowd," Blair tells CP24 in a morning interview.
"It's unfortunate some innocent people had to stand in the rain," says Blair. "We had to stand in the rain with them." The deluge, he says, was the "good part" because the rain "cooled their ardour. That's what we wanted it to do."
Blair describes demonstrators roaming through the city to confound police and attack vulnerable spots in the city.
7:38 a.m. While you were sleeping...
More people were taken into police custody last night, bringing the total number of G20-related arrests to at least 700, the Integrated Security Unit says.
Jenn Gearey, an ISU representative, said Monday morning that number is "still not firm," because it doesn't include any individuals who were processed by police overnight. Police expect to have a higher, more accurate estimate later today.
As the number of people detained rises, the fences are coming down.
By midnight Monday, the gates at the security perimeter had opened and work crews were seen removing fencing and concrete barriers. The fence remains around the Westin on Queen's Quay and police sit in the tents away from the morning sun.
The ISU is also expected to make a decision later today on whether the police presence brought in for the summit from neighbouring regions such as Peel and York is still needed, Gearey said.
7:32 a.m. Questions from Queen and Spadina
"We're not suggesting we're perfect," Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire said late last night by way of explanation for the hours hundreds of people spent in the drenching rain boxed in by police.
"That was the decision we made at that time. Sometimes, it doesn't work out perfectly."
McGuire went on to explain that police had been working a "16 to 18-hour day in the rain, fighting."
Police, said McGuire, decided to box in people at Queen and Spadina last night after they saw people they believed were in the anarchist Black Bloc who "actually donned masks" and were carrying weapons en route to the protest site. Everybody else, he said, were "people who chose not to disassociate themselves" with the Bloc.
"The inclement weather came upon us quickly," he said.
Everyone at Queen and Spadina was arrested, and the processing took hours, but then they were released "unconditionally" without charges by 9:40 p.m.. He didn't say what happened to the people alleged to be Black Bloc.
Star reporters described people swept up in the arrests who had only been trying to cross the street. Others stood for hours shivering in the deluge.
7:26 a.m.: Trouble at the shelter
There was word yesterday that the men who bunk at the Hope Mission, a Sally Ann hostel at the corner of College and McCaul, were being braced by the cops.
That’s trouble. The men who use the Hope are often fresh from jail, and many of them have issues: mental health, minor warrants, or addictions.
You can’t help a man if he’s afraid to go where he can get a little help. The Army wouldn’t let me talk to anyone inside. I talked to Tony on the street.
As we talked, I could see the cops in cars, and cops on foot, and cops on bikes; on average, groups of seven.
Tony, in fact, didn’t sleep at the Hope on Saturday night. “I was sleeping on a bench at city hall. Around 5:30 this morning, the cops, they surrounded me, about 12 of them, which is overkill.
“One was asking for my ID, and another one was asking what was in my bag; everybody talking all at once, it was confusing. And then they went for my bag. I wasn’t hiding anything. They asked if I had charges.”
He has had charges in the past, and he may have charges in the future, but he has no charges now, and he’s doing his best, and it bothers him when he’s pushed around. “They can get away with anything they want.”
That’s pretty much right. And I can tell you that I passed hundreds of cops yesterday, and no one bothered to search me.
And then George said, “They got me twice yesterday, once with eight cops, once with five. It’s scary.”
Nerves on edge all over.
-- Joe Fiorito