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06/27/2010

Live blog, Sunday, June 27

KING AND BAY THIS AFTERNOON

Peace
A peaceful protest at King and Bay (LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR)

3:26 p.m. Toronto jail conditions "Deplorable"
Legal observer from Toronto Mobilization Network is calling conditions in at the Eastern Ave. detention centre "deplorable." He says arrested protesters "often not being given timely access to counsel."

At a news conference in Parkdale, he says protesters being denied water to drink for up to eight hours and are being crammed into small cells.

Bike
Hundreds in a bike rally near Queen's Park today (STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR)

3:25 p.m. "Confrontation is Welcome "

The web page for the group  Fire Works for Prisons organizing the 5 p.m. demonstration at the Bruce Mackey Park, also called the Jimmie Simpson Park, on Dundast Street E.,

offers their strategy for the event.

 "Representatives of media are not" welcome and anyone who films somone "without their consent will be confronted."

They say: "We are encouraging people to come organized with intention, to make this project their own," said the organizers on their web page. "Bring what you want to the demo: plans, noisemakers, banners, chants, and above all your passion for freedom. Confrontation is welcome."

The organizers  say: "Prison is everywhere; it is nothing more than a reflection of the society in which we live. It is a daily threat and reality that has permeated every facet of society. With the deepening of surveillance, the integration of police forces, the increased use of private security, the existence of courts, repression and isolation, the walls of prison are already built around us.


"We’ll see you in the streets!" 

3:04 p.m. Arrest total reaches 550

 Police now confirm a total of 550 G20-related arrests this weekend – and more are expected, officials say.

 At 9 a.m. today, the official count was 480.

 3:01 p.m. Christian march sit-in

A line of police has stopped the Christian marchers at Bay and King Sts. where they have sat on the road singing. So far no one has tried to cross the line.

2:58 p.m. This is what it's all been about

Here is a link for the draft communique for the G20 Summit.

 A final version will be ready at 5 p.m. But for a sneak peak, click here. 

2:37 p.m. Getting used to police searches

About 15 police officers stationed at the southwest corner of Queen and Bay Sts. are stopping and searching males with backpacks.

Bayst
Police at King and Bay. PHOTO BY JENNIFER YANG

For Caleb Eisen of Welland, who is here visiting a friend, this afternoon's search was his third this weekend.

The 16-year-old says he was nervous the first time but is now used to it, and even laughed and joked with police as they went through his belongings.

 He's visiting friend Samuel Ng, 19, of Toronto. Another friend, 18-year-old Marshall Biller of Fort Erie, has also been searched three times this weekend.

 The trio say they haven't been involved in any protests.

2:37 p.m. On the move

The Christian peace march is moving west on King St.

 About 10 police officers are escorting it. Some marchers are clutching yellow flowers; the group includes a few children.

The bike rally, meanwhile, has turned east on College. and now north on University. Some of the riders have brought their kids in bike trailers

2:20 p.m. Massive bike rally winds through downtown

Hundreds of people on bicycles rode  east along Bloor, then headed down Bay St. to Wellesley, south on Yonge St. and through the Yonge-Dundas intersection, where they were met by police.

 Officers steered the cyclists straight down Yonge St. Cyclists then headed west on Queen St. to Spadina, where they've turned north.

Meanwhile, two men dressed in black T-shirts and travelling on foot along Queen St. near Bay were surrounded, searched and arrested by police

2:28 p.m. Christian protest march

At the St James Cathedral march, protesters are young and old, maybe about 100 people.

 One woman is dressed in a pink and green polka dot bunny outfit and holding a sign that says: "Don't fence me out."

 They plan on praying and holding a vigil at the security fence.

A few police are here, including some who are clearly undercover.

 Rosemary Williamson, 68, is a sister with Our Ladies Missionaries and says she doesn't expect to get to the fence. "It's not my intention to do anything that would lead to arrest."

But others are ready. Organizer Maggie Helwig just introduced everyone to their legal representative Genevieve Gallant.

Portrait
Leaders of the G20 group of nations pose with other international leaders. (JIM YOUNG/REUTERS)

 2: 21 p.m. Another arrest downtown

 A man has been detained by police at Queen and University. Police say they confiscated a gas mask, wooden pole and a beer bottle.

2:16 p.m. Amnesty International wants independent inquiry

 Amnesty International is asking the Canadian and Ontario governments to launch an independent review of the security measures for the G8 and G20 summits.

 The international human rights groups iwants the review to look at the impact of security measures, including decisions about the locations for the summits and the protection of human rights, including  freedom of expression and assembly.

They also want a review of how police operations and the use of legal provisions under the Public Works Protection Act have affected the rights of thousands of people living, working and operating businesses within and near the G20 security zone.

1:58 p.m. Arrest at bike rally

The Bike Block rally has wheeled through the University of Toronto Campus, up to Queen's Park and now over to Yorkville.

Police arrested one of the protesters on Cumberland Ave., with officers on bikes forming a chain around him. As the man was handcuffed, cyclists yelled "shame!"

 Cumberland is now blocked. Cyclists have just ducked into an alley at Pottery Barn and are now making their way east on Bloor St.

Bikearrest
Arrest at bike rally. Photo by Patty Winsa/Toronto Star

 1:53 p.m Civil Liberties group says rights violated

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it is concerned about the conditions of detention of those arrested in this weekend's G20 demonstrations.

  Many people are being denied access to lawyers, they are unable to contact their families and the organization has heard that there are no plans for prompt release, the CCLA says.

 Toronto police do not appear to be making serious attempts to provide access to lawyers or information, the group says, branding this as a  serious violation of basic rights of hundreds of people.

 The CCLA also questions whether the policing is proportionate to the threat.

1:52 p.m. Female protesters surprise Mammoliti

 Mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti has sent out a statement condemning the violence yesterday as “disgusting, vial (sic) and embarrassing.”

He also made an unusual comment about the gender composition of the violent demonstrators:

 “I applaud Police Chief Bill Blair and his entire staff for their tireless efforts to restore order to a city that has been cast under a dark cloud because of a small group of thugs that feel they can impose their will on us with destruction and chaos, and I am especially surprised to see the number of women involved in these demonstrations.”

IMAGES FROM EARLIER TODAY AT QUEEN AND LOGAN JAIL RALLY (PHOTOS BY BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR)

Smoke
Boot

1:40 p.m. Police ramp up presence at bike rally

Police arm themselves with gloves and  batons across Spadina at Glen Morris St. a few blocks south of Bloor St.

 Riders at the "Bike Block" rally are now heading through the University of Toronto campus.

1:25 p.m. Starbucks closed, four stores damaged

 All 59 Starbucks stores south of Bloor St. are closed today. Four were damaged in yesterday's  violent G20 protest.

 “The safety of our customers and Starbucks partners is our top priority and we are relieved that nobody has been hurt. We are assessing the extent of the damage to stores and will work towards resuming services to our customers as soon as possible,” a statement released by Starbucks Canada said.

 “We are not currently in a position to put a cost on the damage sustained."

1:20 p.m. At the bike rally

 A speaker at the “Bike Block” rally at Bloor and Spadina has told the crowd that if anyone wants to get violent,  they should form their own group.

 Police from Saskatoon are on duty, as are officers from Toronto police’s bike squad. Just minutes ago, officers were not allowing bikers out of the Matt Cohen park, although a few managed to break through their blockade.

 Riders are ringing their bells and chanting.

 About 400 have turned out for the rally that has blocked Spadina south of Bloor St. and bikers are moving south. Police, armed with tear gas and pointing their guns, are now on Spadina.

1:26 p.m. New plans for protest today near the fence

With Yonge St. storefronts still scarred from yesterday's violence, another protest march to the fence is planned for today -- but this one is determined to stay peaceful.

The Student Christian Movement is planning a march that will start from St. James Cathedral at Church and King Sts. From there, it's onward to the fence.

"We're trying to approach this in the spirit of hope and respect," said organizer Maggie Helwig. "The reason we are going towards the summit to pray for G20 leaders is because we believe people can always choose to do the right thing."

 Helwig said the group is protesting the  the way G20 countries' policies hurt the poor. The march's intent is to get as close to the fence as possible.  When the group is stopped by police, they will simply sit down and begin praying, she says.

"I was up past the night writing up prayers for all the G20 countries."

Helwig said the group will be a mixed bunch, composed of young and old. She  says anyone covering their face with a bandana or balaclava will be asked to leave.

 "If we're arrested for sitting and praying in front of the police, we are prepared to take that risk," she said. "I have no problem accepting that risk in order to non-violently express my opinion."

1:22 p.m. Gardiner closed

 The westbound Gardiner is closed from the Don Valley Parkway to Highway 427. G20 leaders' motorcades will be using the highway to get to the airport.

1:17 p.m. Watching the Bus Depot

Toronto Police are paying extra attention to travellers leaving town via the Toronto bus terminal. Sixteen officers are standing outside and asking some young travellers for identification.

1:16 p.m. Ride against the G20

 About 100 cyclists congregate at the southeast corner of Spadina and Bloor for the "Bike Block" in protest of the G20.

 "When we ride together, we are strong - on June 27th, hordes of cyclists will storm the streets of Toronto in a festive parade," says the protesters' website.

Some of the police officers on duty  are from Saskatoon.

Alex Snider, 26, said she and friends are there "because we don't agree with G20 or police presence" and "it was scary when we heard that hundreds were arrested last night when there were no demos."

Protesters say they don't know which route they'll be taking.

 Emergency Task Force police have arrived and now bikers number about 200, they are ringing their bike bells.

Bike

1.07 p.m. Spadina and Bloor Bike Block Begins

Maybe 100 bikes gathered at corner of Bloor and Spadina for Bike Block rally. So far low police presence. Everyone just standing around, occasionally ringing bike bells.

1:04 p.m. What they were firing

About three or four “muzzle blasts” were shot at protesters during the jail solidarity rally at the detention centre on Eastern Ave., police say. 

The Integrated Security Unit confirmed that the muzzle blasts contain individual applications of tear gas, with enough to affect one person.

Arrests continue, although ISU could not confirm the number of people who have been taken into custody.

12:59 a.m. The final G20 communique: a compromise

 G20 leaders will compromise on their plans for a post-recession economic policy.

 The policy they plan to adopt will include aggressive deficit-cutting targets but will also allow individual contries to devise their own strategies to approach how they get there.

The compromise is one between U.S. President Barack Obama, who favours continued economic stimulus spending to head off a double-dip recession, and European leaders who want G20 countries to move swiftly to reduce debts run up during the 2008-09 economic slowdown.

 "Advanced economies have committed to fiscal plans that will at least halve deficits by 2013 and stabilize or reduce government debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016,” reads a leaked draft communique.

But the leaders also agree to support economic growth policies and recognize that some countries will start cutting their budget deficits later than others.

 "We are committed to taking concerted actions to sustain the recovery, create jobs and to achieve stronger, more sustainable and more balanced growth," the communique says.

"These (actions) will be differentiated and tailored to national circumstances.”

12:57 p.m. Union Station

Normally the transportation hub of the city, Union Station is a ghost town.

Officers at Lakeshore and Bay said it was closing in minutes, but officers inside the station said it would close "depending how the day goes."

12:52 p.m. Lunch, chitchat atop the CN Tower

A Canadian Press pool report says that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife Laureen lunched with the spouses of the G20 leaders and other prominent Canadian women, including Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Joannie Rochette.

The women sat at three rectangular tables at the CN Tower's 360 Restaurant, overlooking a hazy view of Toronto's harbour and Lake Ontario.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama sat beside Harper on the right and Rochette sat to Obama's right.   Some of the women wore traditional gowns from their countries, others were decked out in colourful outfits with few traces of black.

 The women were animated, chatting easily and laughing.

Rochetts
PHOTO BY MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS

12:24 p.m. Mending fences

 After Saturday’s violence in the downtown core, police officers seem determined on being nice and chatty with young people on the streets.

 A young woman wearing a white T-shirt with “I love momos” walked by two officers on King and Wellington Sts. One of them stopped her to ask what momos are. “Tibetan dumplings,” she replied, smiled and walked away.

 Meanwhile, most big stores and all banks on Queen St. W., starting at Niagara St. and extending all the way to Yonge St., are now either boarded up or being boarded up — the ones smashed yesterday and ones that escaped.

 “I got a call at 4 a.m.,” said a man who was drilling plywood over windows at the CIBC at Spadina and Queen.

 He refused to give his name but said “people seemed hysterical and wanted every window boarded up.”

12:35 p.m. Panic, arrests at jail rally, riot police arrive

 Hundreds of riot police have shown up in two buses and at least 10 vans on Logan Ave. south of Queen. It seems they're all heading to outside of detention centre.

 At least two people have arrested as a rally at the Eastern Ave. jail turned violent after police snatched people out of the crowd, causing panic.

 Police later forced the crowd north to Queen with batons and fired at least three shots from concussion guns.

Just after noon, unmarked vans showed up at the protest; police with batons and shields started to storm the group, hitting and pushing people, apparently trying to grab people.

“The protesters dispersed on Pape and agreed to meet at Queen and Pape to regroup,” reports the Star’s Brendan Kennedy. “People are taking stock of what just happened.”

 The protesters have just moved to Queen, but they are scattered as they walk away. Emergency Task Force officers, with gas masks and stun guns, are along Eastern and Queen telling people to move onto the sidewalk.

 Curious onlookers watch as traffic moves freely as protesters started to walk away east on Queen.

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Comments

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clearly the police are the violent ones here. as was the case 90% of the time yesterday.


Violent Police Arrests Queens Park Toronto G20 June 26

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVDY8pE_twY&feature=player_embedded

You think the police are the violet ones are you out of your mind these police acting like wild animals I think the police handled themselves very well. Guess what?? No one cares what the protesters have to say now because of these animals so now any good points are gone because of this, how dare you blame the police for this if it wasn't for them things would have been a lot worst.

Donna

A big thank you to all the police officers who put themselves in harms way to keep the peace and protect our city from these over zealous rioters, looking for an excuse to engage in criminal activities. I have no support for protestors who find it neccesary to taunt police, burn police cars, smash store windows and try to project negative images of our law enforcement officers. I have nothing against peaceful demonstrations, but the yelling, screaming and acts of vilence displayed in downtown Toronto this weekend are shameful.

Police are showing amazing restraint, I have a ton of respect for how they're handling this. These are real men and women out there standing in front of a mob of violent thugs yelling threats. If anything they're being too lenient - bring out the sound cannon!

The police have done an excellent job. These thugs are criminals and are not making any kind of protest. They're just looking for an excuse to engage in criminal activity. Shame on anyone who sides with these hoodlums and defames the police. Give these thugs a year or two at hard labor as a sentence and we'll see how much they want to 'protest' in the future.

Deplorable prison conditions? WHO THE HELL CARES!!!! After what these terrorists did to our city? They abused their right to protest by endangering innocent people and damaging the entire downtown core! As far as I'm concerned, if they aren't getting water for eight hours at a time, and they're being crowded into small cell, as well as being denied legal counsel for a period of time - they're getting off lucky.

Legal observer from Toronto Mobilization Network is calling conditions in at the Eastern Ave. detention centre "deplorable."


What did they expect, the spa treatment?

Hands down. The police won the day. Toronto should be so proud of their police service. The support from across Ontario and Canada in the integrated security force was amazing. No one will remember the causes of legitimate protest. Only black bloc criminals. Sad.

I love how the violent protesters say they are fighting for the liberties of everyone, then turn away, hide and request the media not to be present. Better yet throw things at camera men. Toronto police are doing an A+ job! Keep up the good work.

It happened in Montebello Quebec and it happened here in Toronto. The 'Black Bloc' are undercover police operatives engaged in purposeful provocations to eclipse and invalidate legitimate G20 citizen protest by starting a riot. The Quebec Police have already openly admitted that these provocateurs were Provincial Police Officers. The 'Black Bloc' are wearing the same boots as the riot Police. Want Proof? Just Google: The Toronto G20 Riot Fraud.

To Toronto Police, excellent, no lives lost, done in a well organized fasion in potentialy dangerpous sitation to any officer who put their lives on the line. I lived in Toronto all my life, also my parents and grandparents in 69 years have never seen anything like this in my city though I no longer live there but wish I did. Those young people should not be running to a sitation. A sensible person would avoid a violent place. The Toronto Police department are the best. They gave them penty of warning yet they still stand and taunt police. This is disrespectful. My cousin in a retired Officer. We say GOOD ON YOU BOYS IN BLUE.

The people commending the police...... who do you think you are fooling... officers.

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