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06/26/2010

Live blog: Saturday, June 26

3:35 p.m. Bay and Richmond

A rallying cry: "TO THE FENCE!!!" Everyone cheered. A new chant: "To the fence, bring it down." They have passed Richmond.

3:34 p.m.:Bay and Queen

The violent protesters have turned onto Bay St. at Queen and are heading south to Richmond, getting closer to the fence; they smashed windows at a TD Bank.

3:31 p.m.Reflections from Sid Ryan

As black block protesters continue their violent protest, Sid Ryan's hails his group's Family Friendly protest:

"I thought it was fabulous--a family-friendly protest, just like we said it would go," Sid Ryan said.

"We talked about the issues we wanted to talk about: jobs, the environment, women's health."

"It wasn't marred by any violence, so our message wasn't taken off track."


"We've said from the beginning that this is a complete waste of taxpayers money, when we knew our protests would be peaceful--now Harper has to be held to account for spending $1.3 billion of taxpayers' money."

"It's sickening to see this kind of security."

"I think Harper will be held to account by the opposition to explain to us why he had to spend $1.3 billion."

"Why do we have this private club, the G20? It should be the G192--in other words, why aren't we having this debate at the United Nations?"

3:32 p.m. along Queen St.

The black-clad protesters have smashed the Starbucks, CIBC and Scotiabank along Queen St. W. When asked why, they say "corporations are evil."

3:27 p.m. along Queen St.

The people in black just attempted to destroy a cameraman's camera, but he managed to thwart them. Some just smashed glass at 180 Queen St. W.; the rest of the crowd cheered. They also smashed a CBC van parked at University and Queen with Matt Galloway’s photo on the side of it.

Officers have put on gas masks at Queen and Spadina.

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Chris Young/The Canadian Press

3:23 p.m. Queen and Spadina

Some protesters spotted atop CIBC building at Spadina and Queen. Two are shirtless.

Protesters being arrested near the Rivoli on Queen St.

The people in black are chanting "f—k s—t up." They hurled pieces of plywood at riot police, who responded passively and did not confront the offenders.

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Graffiti at Mac store on Queen St. Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

3:19 p.m. Simcoe and Queen

A Star reporter saw a protester pick up a big rock and hide it under his sweater. The people in black are undertaking random-seeming violence; one just threw a patio chair.

The group is moving south on Simcoe back to Queen.

3:18 p.m. Queen St.

Protesters have begun running east on Queen St. and stomping on and throwing items at police cars; windows of cars have been smashed. A female police officer fell to the ground.

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The anarchists charge east down Queen. They throw just threw bricks at CBC van on Queen and University. Wendy Gillis/Toronto Star

3:16 p.m. Queen and Spadina

At Queen and Spadina, the enthusiasm of the people in black appears to be waning. The protesters unsuccessfully attempted to start a "Whose streets? Our streets" chant. Said one disappointed female protester: "Aw, man!"

Police are putting on gas masks and full riot gear.

3:15 p.m Renaissance Hotel

In the Northern Lights ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel, officials with the Chinese delegation briefed reporters -- mostly from China -- on the country's goals for the G20 meeting. The formal, hour-long meeting (from 1pm to 2pm) focused on questions mostly around China's decision last week to let the yuan float -- a decision that was seen as a preemptive move ahead of the G20 summit.

Arriving at the hotel, several journalists from China and Japan commented on how friendly Canadian police officers are, compared to the American ones, as Toronto officers directed them to go around to security fence to the pedestrian gate.

And when one reporter wandered in the wrong direction, he suddenly saw the baseball diamon -- inside of Rogers Centre -- which is connected to the hotel, he said: "That's not what I was expecting to see."

Alas, the Jays weren't playing -- so back to reality.

3:15 p.m. Demonstrators stopped at Queen and John


3:07 p.m. Adelaide and Peter

 15 vans with police and ambulance moving west.

3:06 p.m. Spadina and Queen.

Smoke at Spadina and Queen. Fears of tear gas, but no one was running. Turns out to be a flare set off which is dissipating.

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Spadina and Queen. Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

2:58 p.m. Richmond and John Sts.

Groups of riot police leaving intersection, heading West on Richmond. Loud shouting at Queen St. But no physical fighting visible. Guy in crowd: "There is going to be breach somewhere."

2:56 p.m.: Spadina and Richmond

Some of the protesters in black became discouraged and tried turning back; a woman screamed, "Where are you going? We can't leave our comrades."

But now everyone is heading backwards, moving north on Spadina away from police line. Seems to be some indecision among the group in black, some of whom are waving red flags reading “mo one is illegal.” No One Is Illegal is an activist group that wants full legal status to be granted to everyone in Canada, including refugee claimants and undocumented immigrants; it is not clear if the black-clad protesters are affiliated with the organization.

Officers originally deployed to Queen and University are being redirected west. A third mounted unit just joined the other two to back-up riot police across Spadina Ave. "Protesters have a good groove going, some kind of drum beat," she says.

2:53 p.m. John and Queen

At the back of the march, it's almost like a carnival. Colourful vuvuzelas, pans and loud music.

 Somewhere, there are slogans being chanted. At the MuchMusic studio on John and Queen, cops in riot gear are a great photo opportunity to young protesters. They are getting their photos taken with cops. "Smile, baby," says a young man to a woman, who stands next to cops in riot gear. A Canadian Labour marshal tells them to "grow up" and keep it moving. But a bearded man is screaming at cops, has stalled everyone.

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Queen and John. Roger Gillespie/Toronto Star

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Queen and John. Steve Rusell/Toronto Star

2:52 p.m Spadina blocked off

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Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

2:50 p.m. Simcoe St.

A Pizza Pizza delivery man is denied entry to 140 Simcoe.

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2:44 p.m. No GO
GO Transit has announced that all Lakeshore Line trains will not go into the downtown core and will now stop at the Danforth GO station on the Lakeshore East line and and Exhibition GO station on the Lakeshore West Line at the request of police.

GO says this is a temporary measure and will notify riders of any changes.

2:41 p.m. Richmond and John.

 Riot police have moved up to Queen St. Pushing back crowd.

 Sounds of broken glass, bottles flying. Police pulling banners out of crowd. About 60 people standing and watching at Richmond and John. Almost everyone has some kind of camera. Police moving vans into position to block off parts of intersection.

 "What to see if something is happening further West," says woman to friend. "That is where I think the cops are going."

A tight line of Metro police in riot gear have pushed a breakaway group of marchers, back onto Queen Street when the Black Block Protesters tried to move down John Street. Marchers were throwing debris at police.

 Police are armed with tear gas as they block Richmond St. on the west side near Spadina Ave., just south of the protest.

2:40 p.m. Black bloc

A group of about 20 protesters clad in black clothing and balaclavas and sharing a single black flag between them is walking east on Queen near Spadina. They are urging other protesters to join them, but they are refusing to talk to media.

Now they're trying to smash photographers' cameras.

2:38 p.m. Stay out of the way of this thing

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A heavy-duty police vehicle is parked in fron to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Steve Tustin/Toronto Star

2:35 p.m Precarious perch

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A protester perches on a statue outside the Canada Life building on University Ave. David Rider/Toronto Star

2:33 p.m. 'Women must control their fate'

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Protesters are chanting "not the church, not the state, women must control their fate, " as they make their way along University Ave. near Queen St. Patty Winsa/Toronto Star

2:31 p.m. In the key of G20

Singing three songs from their debut platinum album, The Canadian Tenors will perform for world leaders in Toronto this evening.

 The Tenors will perform three Canadian classics: David Foster's Because We Believe, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Stephan Moccio, Mark Jordan & Amy Sky's Instrument Of Peace.

The tenors head to London, England, tomorrow for a week to launch in the U.K. They return home July 4 to perform for Queen Elizabeth in Toronto.

2:24 p.m. TTC

TTC chair Adam Giambroni confirms  that Yonge and University subway lines are shut down south of Bloor. No buses running while protesters on their march. Shutdowns expected, part of security planning Giambroni said.

 The TTC says it has cancelled  subway service on the Yonge-University-Spadina line from Bloor to St. George stations. And streecars will not enter the downtown core.

2:20 p.m. Arrests from protest march

 Wendy Drummond of the Integrated Security Force says that “a couple of arrests” were made early in the protest march. They involved people with incendiary devices that might have been used as weapons, Drummond said.

2:16 p.m. University and Armory

A Star reporter is walking with the breakaway protest group, whose members – 50 or so - are telling everyone to turn their cameras off. They are chanting "f-f-f-c, firebomb an RBC” and have cordoned themselves off with banners, one of which reads "tar sands, destroying the planet one barrel at a time."

There's a lineup at the hot dog stand at Gerrard and University Ave. Protesters are hungry!

2:15 p.m. Toronto: U.S. Marine Corps chopper swoops in

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A United States Marine Corps helicopter arrives in Toronto from the East flying low and between condo towers over the Gardiner Expressway. Spencer Wynn/Toronto Star

2:07 p.m. Simcoe and Richmond

"You cross the street again, you go to jail!" a police commander just told Mike Billyack, a local resident who came outside his condo to take a photo at Simcoe and Richmond.

Riot police have blocked all streets south of Queen.

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Simcoe and Queen Sts. Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star

2:05 p.m. University and Dundas

U.S. Embassy barricades are up. Police are lined up in front of the embassy. All along Queen Street, police begin to line the streets as well. Another group of protesters begins to congregate there.

 Main group is chanting: "Women lead the march!"

 As the march approaches Queen, marshals are attempting to funnel protesters west on Queen as per the parade plan. Officers have removed media from the median and pedestrians are being kicked off the sidewalk.

Hundreds of officers in black riot gear have marched in to serve as a reinforcement line on Richmond St.


2:02 p.m. Toronto: Everyone's in black

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Masked protesters leave from Queen's Park. Jayme Poisson/Toronto Star

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Police block of University Ave. at Richmond St. Robyn Doolittle/Toronto Star


1:56 pm. University Ave. Who's streets? Our Streets

March is estimated to have several thousand protesters. It has now split on to both sides of university. The main group on east side, independent marchers seem to be going on west side. They're chanting: "Who's streets? Our streets!" The demonstrators are moving a lot faster than the main march. Cops are rushing to stay ahead.

One guy is angry that the cops are the front edge of the protest. "It's the cops going first!" He screams at the protest marshals. "This is a f---king joke."

1:53 p.m. University and Elm

 Cops are barricading the west side of University at Elm street. Police just want protestors on the east side of the street.
"Can you let us through please? We're having a march." One man shouts.

1:50 pm. University Ave.

 Another march from the south just joined the group on University Ave. They say they started at Old City Hall and came up University. Thousands are marching.

 1:49 p.m. Queen's Park

A lone war resister , Michelle Robidoux with the War Resisters group when and asked if any American war resisters were here today. She said she knew of one. "Most of them are staying away because of their status," she said, gesturing towards the rapidly increasing police presence.

 

1:45 p.m. Queen's Park March begins
This march is getting off to a bumpy start. One group started marching forward as the speeches were still ongoing and now one of the marshals say they are actually the front of the march. A giant coat hanger artwork has been rushed to the front, along with the other women's coalition that brought it. Seeing this group move forward, the Ethiopian march also started going.
Eddie Ste Marie and Sandi Ellis, Canadian Labour Congress staff, are head marshals for the march. It just started moving.

Things are stalled now, just north of University Ave. People are waiting for the others to catch up.
"Hey hey, ho ho, the G20 has got to go," they are chanting now.

1:44 p.m. Toronto: Demonstrations at Queen's Park

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Free Tibet demontrators at Queen's Park in Toronto. TORONTO STAR/STEVE RUSSELL

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1:37p.m. West-end Toronto

A spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, Maryam Adrangi, who was riding in her bike to the Queen's Park protest and march, told the Star in a telephone interview that she feels the police have been harassing protesters all week. She alleges that the police are coming up with bogus charges.

"People are protesting homelessness and poverty. These are legitimate reasons to be protesting and organizing."

1:33 pm. Metro Toronto Convention Centre Obama lands

Sniffer dogs, human vacuums and bolt-cutting cops cleared the Metro Convention Centre grounds before U.S. President Barack Obama landed in Marine One.

Three lead military helicopters landed before Obama touched down in the presidential whirlybird  on the lawn outside the southern entrance to the MTCC. A marine in full dress uniform opened the door for the president, who was handed an umbrella and escorted by waiting U.S. Secret Service agents down a small set of red-carpeted stairs to a waiting limousine.

 With two agents on each side of the limo Obama was whisked along Bremner, north on Lower Simcoe and into the underground garage of the InterContinental Hotel.

The landing, walk to the limo and drive to the hotel took less than three minutes.

An hour before Obama touched down, two chocolate brown dogs snuffled along the gardens, grass and bicycle stands – where three bikes were cut from their moorings, inexplicably locked along Bremner Blvd. which was supposed to be clear of all clutter.

A phalanx of uniformed Metro police officers and five Canadian solidiers combed the grassy areas outside outside the southern entrance to the MTCC, often bending down to pick up some debris. They covered the area and the Steam Whistle lawns several times, soaked in the pouring noon hour rains, making sure the space was pristine.

The southern convention centre entrance was jammed with security, at least eight police cars and a pair of limousines flying U.S. and presidential flags crowded into the semicircular driveway

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U.S. President Barack Obama emerges from his limo at Harbourfront. Matthew Hoy Photos

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1:31 p.m.Toronto

About 50 riot-gear clad police on foot and on bikes have moved into formation at Queen and University.

Meanwhile a dozen protest "marshalls" from the Canadian Labour Congress, each wearing orange reflective gear and plastic ponchos, are huddling to talk strategy.

East and westbound traffic is still being allowed to move along Queen and Dundas Sts.

People in downtown condos are out in the rain watching a small fleet of helicopters carrying the U.S. President and his entourage into downtown Toronto.

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The scene at Queen St. and University Ave. Robyn Doolittle/Toronto Star

1:28 p.m. Toronto

Reporter Patty Winsa, who is posted at the west end of the security zone perimeter, reports mounted units getting ready to mobilize at Wellington and John Sts.

1:15 p.m. Toronto: Serenity in the rain

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Practitioners of Falun Gong protest at Queen's Park. Richard Lautens/Toronto Star

1:13 p.m. Pearson airport: Indian PM lands in Toronto

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The Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh looks out before going into his limousine as he arrives for the G20 summit Saturday, June 26, 2010 in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS

1:12 p.m. Toronto Fair Trade, not Free Trade

 Despite the downpour, Sid Ryan is ready for Saturday's march.

The president of the Ontario Federation of Labour wants to bring attention to the funneling of funds into the private sector to solve crises like the economic collapse in Greece.

 "These problems weren't created by workers, but they're the ones paying for it," Ryan said.

Ryan, along with a few others, will give short speeches before the group heads south on University Ave.  Women will line the front of the rally to promote maternal health, according to Ryan.

 "We want fair trade, not free trade," said Ryan.

 He also wants to bring attention to the Vale Inco strike in Sudbury. "This is what happens when international corporations take over," said Ryan, "They don't care about the local communities."

1:09 p.m. Toronto

G20 protesters who camped overnight in Allan Gardens are gone but the park's usual denizens -- homeless men -- are staying to enjoy the spoils.

 Two rejoiced in found beer as they watched the rain from under a tarp lean-to left by protesters, who have moved to Queen's Park for a march. 

 A third man  was soon inside a remaining pup tent, pulling out blankets and a knapsack with a bike pump sticking out the top.

 "If they come back maybe they'll give me something; otherwise it's mine," said the man, who identified himself as Art.

His two buddies drinking under the tarp spotted a few soggy protesters who seemed confused, wondering where eveybody had gone.  "Come on under here - 40 bucks!" one of the drinkers yelled at them. "Eighty!," yelled the other!

As the protesters gave them uncomfortable smiles and started to walk away, the first man yelled, "Hey, come back, we're just messin' with ya."

1:03 p.m. Toronto

At the north side of the fence at University and Wellington, cops in about 15 unmarked vans are crowding the northbound University Ave. lanes, just north of Wellington.

Some are getting out and suiting up in full riot gear.

12:53 p.m. Huntsville

Friday night in downtown Huntsville was "packed as if it was the Santa Claus parade," says local Steve MacAllister.

He and girlfriend Candie Walker spotted White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel walking into a chocolate shop along the main street. Candie.rahm

They ducked in and chatted with the U.S. powerhouses, who posed for pictures. (Candie is flanked by Gibbs, left, and Emanuel, right; in the second photo, Emanuel is on the left, MacAllister the right.)

Walker, who is American, talked about being from Indiana and the pair said they were enjoying Deerhurst Resort, the G8 venue. "They were more than happy to talk," says MacAllister. "They were very friendly and nice -- I'm sure in the U.S. they couldn't do what they did, just walking around." Several Secret Service officers were keeping a careful watch over the duo, who MacAllister Steve.rahm  described as "pretty much the next two biggest guys other than world leaders."  

Michaelle Jean, Canada's Governor General, also drove down Huntsville's main street; her car slowed down and she waved to the crowds. "It's really been an awesome few days and no problems at all to speak of," says MacAllister, who co-owns Langford Canoe in nearby Dwight. "It's all gone very smoothly other than the rain!"

12:49 p.m. Huntsville

 The bad weather forced a change of plans in shuttling leaders from the Deerhurst Resort to Toronto.

The fleet of U.S. helicopters to move U.S. President Barack Obama and his contingent had to operate from Muskoka airport, instead of landing directly at the resort -- as they had when they dropped off the President on Friday.

Obama travelled by motorcade to the airport. A few friendly onlookers were standing in the light rain and waved during the convoy's 40-minute drive. The President was joined by British Prime Minister David Cameron onboard Marine 1 for the flight to Toronto, which departed at 12:35 p.m.

12:45 p.m. Toronto

Greenpeace has just arrived at Queen's Park.Some protesters are on Wellesley at Queen's Park North; most are on Queen's Park South where music is playing over a loudspeaker. A group of Ethiopians is marching together on east side of Queen's Park building; a small group has reportedly also broken off and proceeded on without the group.

A women's coalition planned to lead the march, holding a yellow banner in support of maternal health. They planned on carrying a large ten-foot coathanger (in underserved areas, many desperate women resort to attempting abortions with coat hangers, they say) but police wouldn't allow them to bring it because it could serve as a weapon.

That being said, a lot less police presence here so far -- and no one appears to be searched prior to entering the area.

12:47 pm. Toronto

A musical group called "Samba Squad" - who was asked to perform by Oxfam- is rocking out on percussion, entertaining the demonstrators before the 1:30 march begins. People are dancing on the lawn. Nothing extreme about this protest yet.

12:44 p.m. Huntsville

Highway 11 was closed southbound as motorcades left Deerhurst bound for Toronto. The first one with U.S. President Barack Obama was followed by a military helicopter overhead. It marked the end of the G8 in cottages country and the beginning of the G20 in Toronto three hours away.

12:41 p.m. Toronto, GO Station

Star multimedia videographer Bernie Weil reports that five teenagers have been handcuffed by police at the entrance of the GO Station at 140 Bay Street. They are being questioned by people. No indication why they have been stopped or cuffed. But Weil reports the arrest appears peaceful and in the open with people coming and going.

12:28 p.m. Toronto

Can one protest in three-quarter time?

 Tonight’s classical music concert at the Air Canada Centre with violinist André Rieu, who encourages his fans to waltz in the aisles, will go ahead.

 Gates open at 6:30, the 55-piece orchestra and Rieu begin at 8 p.m. The ACC hugs the most secure part of the summit perimeter. The Metro Convention Centre is within an easy stroll from Maple Leaf Square at Lower Simcoe Street and Bremner Boulevard.

One Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment official said the concert would attract “mature fans” – meaning they’d be unlikely to cause trouble.

12:23 p.m. Toronto

As protest organizers were moving to catch a cab from Allan Gardens west to Queen's Park, a group of undercover cops jumped out, grabbed two organizers, including spokesperson Syed Hussan, and arrested them, Adonis El-Jamal said.

When they demanded reasons, the police allegedly said that the pair were being arrested for conspiracy to commit mischief.

 “They’re just rounding up the people they think are leaders,” El-Jamal contended. Hussan’s a spokesperson with the Toronto Community Mobilization Network.

It's unclear whether the organizers have been charged or have since been released. Protestors are planning to hold a press conference once more information is gathered.

12:18 p.m. Toronto

 Can umbrellas be potential weapons? Yes, believe a bunch of protesters travelling east on a Queen St. streetcar.

 "I'm sure my umbrella will be confiscated by police," said a short woman with a gigantic umbrella. Her blue polka-dot umbrella almost came up to her chest.

 Her friend, tall and thin and with a baseball hat, carried a similar umbrella. Their friends had smaller umbrellas but everyone had one.

"Let's not worry about it right now," said a middle-aged man in a black leather jacket. "We'll see what happens."

Umbrellas, rain and turnout -- these were the three "issues" protesters, on their way to Queen's Park, were debating. Some wondered whether as many people would come out because of the pouring rain. Others were certain "a wee bit of rain ain't keeping anyone away."

12:14 p.m. Toronto

 PETA spokeswoman Emily Lavender was keeping dry at Bay and Front Sts. in her furry seal suit.

"We're here because all eyes are on Canada right now and it's time to end the internationally condemned (commercial) seal hunt once and for all."

Lavender said Canada's commercial hunt of "defenceless seal pups" is a "stain on Canada's reputation."

PETA is not opposed to traditional subsistence hunting of seals by Inuit people.

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Brendan Kennedy/Toronto Star

11:51 a.m. Toronto

A man tested G20 security this morning when he calmly climbed a 30 meter oak tree in the south lawn of Queen’s Park. The blond man, who wasn’t wearing shoes, stayed nestled between branches for about 15 minutes while three officers shouted at him to come down.

He started climbing, then jumped to the ground and sat at the feet of the officers. To prove he was sober, he performed a short, one-legged yoga routine.

 The officers’ response? Don’t do it again."

11:38 a.m. Toronto

A TTC bus full of police officers pulls out of the holding pen for G20 suspects on Eastern Ave., heading downtown. Twenty minutes earlier, two TTC buses marked "special," one filled with police officers, left the dention centre headed in the same direction.

11:35 a.m. Toronto

Reporter Patty Winsa found Reverend Seikiguchi Toyoshige resting outside the SkyDome, near Lower Simcoe St. and Grand Trunk Cres. Patty.munk

The 45-year-old Japanese Buddhist monk is known as the "walking man," who has been peacefully protesting since 1982 to promote nuclear disarmament and world peace, as well as harmony among people of different religions.

He arrived in Toronto on Tuesday by car after having trekked from the aiport to Huntsville on foot. He said he's spent two days walking around the city.

Toyoshige also walked before G8 summits in 2008 and 2009.

He told CottageCountryNow.ca that he enjoyed the Muskoka scenery, and said residents along the route invited him to stay.

“I am very lucky,” he said. “Canadians are very hospitable, helping in peace walk.”

His rest this morning, however, wasn't all that peaceful, as a stream of helicopters landed nearby at the SkyDome dropping off visiting dignitaries.


11:28 a.m. Toronto

 Nadia, Anais and Mihami, all orange-clad employees of Wind Mobile, were stopped by police as they walked north on Bay S.t, towards Lake Shore Blvd.

"They said our socks made us look like protestors," Mihami said. The women were allowed to go ahead once police inspected their bags.

11:19 a.m. Toronto: Arrest on Sherbourne St.

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Police confiscated items from a man named Evan this morning on Sherbourne St., just south of Gerrard St. Bernard Wei/Toronto Star

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Confiscated items. Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

11:07 a.m. Toronto

 Four people have been arrested and taken to the Eastern Ave. detention centre after raids on their homes in the middle of the night, protest organizers and a legal aid helpline say.

 Niki Thorne says police raided her home in Roncesvalles at 4:45 a.m. and arrested one person. She also says police raided the apartment of a family with one child who live upstairs.  Thorne described 20 police officers coming into her house.

 Another house in the west end was also raided. Friends report they drove by the house on their bicycles at 6 a.m. and noticed the door was kicked in.

"We feel that police are intimidating and silencing dissent, said Thorne.

 The people detained have been identified as Alex Hundert, Leah Henderson, Mandy Hisocke and a fourth whose name has not been disclosed. All are said to be involved in logistics for the Toronto Community Mobilization group.

Hundert, a member of the community-based activist group AW@L, said CSIS officers visited his Bloor West home a few weeks ago to talk about his intentions during the summit. After he declined to speak and shut the door, the officers lingered on his front step, he said.

Kevin Tilley of the Movement Defence Committee said there have been 28 incidents where activists have been contacted by police since Feb. 21, ranging from benign phone calls to supposed interrogations.

Among those activists were three AW@L members who are visible minorities -- something police leaned on in their intimidation, Hundert alleged.

"One (member) had his family's immigration status threatened by Toronto police, "

Hundert alleged to the Star in early June. "I think they're trying to scare people. They're trying to make people think it's not safe to protest and that it's better to keep quiet."

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 Niki Thorne. Jayme Poisson/Toronto Star

10:50 a.m. Toronto

Police say a man pulled over in a car near Allan Gardens has not been arrested and he's been sent on his way. They stopped the car this morning and confiscated a nail gun, body armour and nails. The driver of the car is reported to be a young man from Saskatoon who said he was in Toronto to protest. Police say he was not charged because technically he had done nothing to break the law.

10:35 a.m. Toronto

CP24 reports car near Sherbourne and Gerrard pulled over, police find weapons cache: Nail gun, shovels, axe, bullet proof vest, gas mask. Driver of car is young man from Saskatoon who said he was in Toronto to do his job, which is to protest the new world order.

10:25 a.m. Toronto

At the west-end courthouse where all G20 bail hearings are supposed to take place, friends and family of Emomotimi Azorbo, the deaf protestor who was arrested Friday evening , are waiting in the rain outside of the court's locked doors.

Everybody here thought Azorbo's bail hearing would begin at 9 or 9:30 a.m., including two police officers who arrived on scene and also couldn't open the door.

 Azorbo was arrested Friday afternoon at the College and Yonge Sts. intersection after his friends say he did not heed police commands to stay off the road.

"I was asking them (police officers) to talk to me so I could talk to him," said Azorbo's friend, Saron Gebresellasi, who was with Azorbo when he was arrested. "They were all yelling at him and he didn't understand."

 Gebresellasi said police refused her request that she sign for Azorbo. Azorbo was handcuffed by police and shuttled into the Winners store area, Gebresellasi said.

 "He couldn't sign to me, because his hands were cuffed behind his back. I could see the anxiety it was causing him. Gebresellasi said she asked police to let her stay with Azorbo until another interpreter arrived, but they refused.

 They believe he spent the night in the Eastern Ave. detention centre set up for G20 arrests. "I know it would have been a traumatizing experience for him, because he wouldn't be able to communicate or understand anything," said Azorbo's mother, Sophie.

 Jeff Pansuik, a deaf advocate , said  police need to develop better protocols when arresting deaf people. "It's not new, deaf people are denied interpreters all the time." Pansuik said deaf people should be handcuffed in the front, which would allow them to sign better.

 "Handcuffing a deaf person is like putting duct tape over a hearing person's mouth," he said. "It's a violation of their human rights."

10:15 a.m. Toronto

Snippets of what international media report this morning:

THE TIMES OF LONDON: David Cameron held out the prospect of warmer relations with Russia last night but cautioned that the two countries still had difficulties to work through. The Prime Minister raised the murder of (former KGB officer living in England) Alexander Litvinenko at the start of his first face-to-face meeting with President Medvedev and said it was important that the pair were candid with each other.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized countries pledged $5 billion  to help fight child and maternal illness Friday. But the proposals faced an immediate barrage of criticism from development groups, who accused leaders of trying to mask previous unfulfilled promises to help millions out of poverty.

 MIAMI HERALD: In Toronto, hundreds of protesters moved through city streets Friday, but police in riot gear blocked them from getting near the summit security zone. Some 19,000 law enforcement officers, from all over Canada, were providing security at a cost of more than $900 million.

CHINA DAILY: China, the world's largest exporting country, will work with Canada to double their trade to $60 billion by 2015, visiting President Hu Jintao said in the Canadian capital on Thursday.

9:40 a.m. Toronto: Summit circus

Oil

To each his own.

Among the crowd of protesters at Allan Gardens is Kirk Warrington, who bills himself as a professional "baby oil wrestler" and who is here to "protest the protesters protesting."

This morning, he is getting himself oiled up in an inflatable children's pool. Last night he reportedly challenged a nearby police officer to a match. The officer declined.

Here is Warrington playing his version of reveille.

9:35 a.m. Toronto

 Homeless activists who spent the night in an impromptu "tent city" at Allan Gardens are sheltering in red tents courtesy of Pivot Legal Society of Vancouver.

The tents carry quotations from various groups and people, including one from India's Mohandas Gandhi that says, "To deprive a man of his natural liberties and to deny him the ordinary amenities of life is worse than starving the body. It is starvation of the soul, the dweller in the body."

Pivot donated the tents, used most recently during a protest against homelessness in Vancouver.

9:25 a.m. Huntsville: Hot buttered summit

Tweet this morning from Tory cabinet minister Tony Clement who has had $50 million  spent in his riding to spruce it up for the Huntsville summit TonyClement_MP #G8: at buffet breakfast, Chancellor Merkel was relieved that she hadn't mistakenly appropriated my toast!

9:18 a.m. Toronto: Closed corners in the city

Eastern Avenue is open for now but may have rolling road closures later in the day, if and when needed, says police officer at Tim Horton’s.

 Eastern is the north side of the detention centre, the Lakeshore is the southern flank – also heavily fortified by police.

Queen’s Quay is blocked off at Freeland St. Reporter Mary Ormsby had to show uniformed police officer identification (a G20 media pass with mugshot) to drive past one block to hit 1 Yonge St. entrance to the newspaper. Waved through politely.

9:10 a.m. Toronto

The safest Tim Horton's in the world sits at Leslie and Lakeshore.

Four uniformed police, two firefighters ordering breakfast and coffees inside. Two cruisers in the parking lot (no idling in the drive-thru). Two short blocks away is the Eastern Avenue detention centre – more cops, some visible, some tucked behind walls and fences.

9:00 a.m. Toronto: Protests great and small

Weary protesters are waking up at Allan Gardens where they spent the night camped out in tents "to sleep in solidarity with the homeless."

Organizer Cliff Cawthorn, from Buffalo, said some stayed up all night. Others bedded down under the watchful eye of police.

They sang the Internationale, the anthem of international socialism, Cawthorn said. Others took turns on a security watch to make sure people were, he said, "safe from disturbances on the inside and harassment on the outside."

They are planning today to join thousands of people for a high-profile protest starting at Queen's Park and marching down University Ave.

Tibetan protesters are planning a peaceful demonstration this morning at Queen's Park North, at the designated protest area. "At the moment the plan is to stay there," said Passang Lhamo, vice-president of the regional Tibetan Youth Committee in Toronto. "Our approach is peaceful. We don't want to get entwined in any violent demonstration."

The group is still assessing whether to join the big march toward the downtown core. Lhamo added she expects about 250 protesters who want to raise awareness about Tibet to world leaders, especially since Chinese President Hu Jintao, who crushed an uprising in Tibet in 1989, is attending the G20 summit.

 A coalition of Ethiopian and Somali organizations intend to hold a two-day rally starting this morning at Queen's Park to protest the inclusion of Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi in the G20 summit. They regard him as a war criminal whose government has sponsored what they call the "systematic slaughter" of people in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and the "illegal proxy invasion of Somalia."

 Meanwhile, the Ethiopian prime minister is scheduled to make an appearance at Nathan Phillips Square to be welcomed by his supporters this morning.

Ethiopia

8:30 a.m. Toronto: Police round up

 Five more people have been arrested since last night, bringing the total to about 20. Those 20 people collectively face about 36 charges.

A lone man arrested at the corner of Yonge and Front Sts. yesterday afternoon was, according to police, mentally unstable. He was, they say, handcuffed and taken into custody for his own protection.

8:25 a.m. Toronto: It was only a Hollywood celebrity, not Carla or Michelle

 Restaurant patrons on Baldwin St. were craning for a look at which world leader was dining at Bodega on Friday night.

 The bodyguards and black SUVs with tinted windows were a dead giveaway. Alas, it was only actress Katie Holmes -- better known as Tom Cruise's better half -- and their creepily famous bambino, Suri Cruise, and her nanny enjoying a quiet dinner in the G20 ghost town.

 At least the paparazzi had something to do while awaiting a sighting of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. If she comes. The former supermodel wife of the French president has said she only goes to state occasions in foreign countries.

American First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to arrive in Toronto today for the G20, having skipped the wives' lunch and canoe-signing session hosted by Laureen Harper yesterday.


 


8:20 a.m. Toronto: Too late to stock up

 Even the 24-hour Sobey’s grocery store as far away as Sherbourne St. was shut down by 10 p.m. Friday with a lone security guard stationed inside.

 A constant stream of people arrived throughout the evening and into the wee hours of the morning to shop at the always busy 24-hour Metro grocery store on Front and Church Sts. A note on the door said it would be closed at 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We had no idea it would be closed on Front St. so far away from it all,” said Christine Keetch. She and Eric Reid walked from their home in the Church and Shuter area to buy groceries at about 1.30 a.m.

“This is definitely overkill. I’m surprised they haven’t imposed martial law,” Reid said.

 Much further away, in the heart of Ryerson University’s campus, the 24-hour Gould St. Metro store was also closed with a note saying it was because of the G20 summit.

 8 a.m. Toronto: While you were sleeping...

 The entertainment district was anything but, cabbies clustered like pigeons with nowhere to go and if you could find a downtown cash machine there wasn’t much open to spend it on.

“It was horrible tonight and I think it will be just as horrible tomorrow (Saturday night),” said Anthoney Melato, manager of Pop, formerly Fluid, on Richmond St. Usually packed with noisy club crawlers and bumper to bumper traffic on a weekend night, this was now a disco dead zone.

Bouncers had no one to bounce.

 “Normally there would be tons of traffic and line ups everywhere along here,” Melato said, as his security staff aimlessly paced the club’s empty sidewalk entrance.

 Police, with riot helmets clipped to their waist, were everywhere strolling in packs of six to eight near the G20 perimeter. “This weekend is very, very slow,” said Mohammed Asraf, as he in his tidy Royal cab sat fourth in line at a Duncan St. club.

 “I’ve made only $300 all week when normally I’d make $800 or $900. Usually a taxi will wait a couple of minutes to move up the line, but I’ve been here 20 minutes and none of the cars have moved."

Comments

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These people are allowed to engage in peaceful protest...because we are proud of our tolerance,
When these people start to use violence and vandalise property, they are abusing our tolerance and breaking our laws.
We, the people, and our representatives, the police, should treat the violent people and those deliberately inciting violence (sedition) as criminals. For starters incarcerate them for a day or two to let them calm down.
Why not put them in cells in the Don Jail?

and the Tamil Genocide protests were not peaceful????

Goes to show just how naive Sid Ryan is. The security was needed after all. I'm disgusted the violent rioters were permitted to continue. Those that call themselves peaceful protesters should've left when the idiots started. Your messages, if u had them, are now lost because of the anarchists. The thugs are an insane danger to any free society. They hate cops, yet them and their Ilk are exactly why we need cops.

light, love, and peace.

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