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06/27/2010

Live blog, Sunday, June 27

6:20 p.m. DeGrassi and Queen What police horses left behind

More than the presence of cops on quiet residential streets, it's horse poop that is annoying people.

At DeGrassi and Queen, where police made some arrests, cops on horseback were heckled for leaving without cleaning up the mess left behind.

“This is poop on sidewalk -- who is going to clean up?” said Nathan, who lives in the neighbourhood.

At least two horses pooped as protesters and cops held a brief standoff for about 20 minutes.

6:22 p.m. Queen St. W. at Spadina

CTV is reporting that police, wearing gas masks, are bringing out sound cannon.

6:16 p.m. Queen St. More TTC disruptions

The TTC has closed down Queen St. streetcar service between Church St. and Roncesvalles Ave. due to G20 police activity. Both the 504 King streetcar and the 510 Spadina streetcar are on detours. The Spadina service is turning around at Queen St. W.

6:01 pm Eastern Avenue Jail Conditions

A 22-year-old man who spent the night at the G20 jail on Eastern Ave. said those arrested are being denied access to legal aid and the conditions inside are "horrible." Alan Tang was released around 5:30 p.m. without charge after he said he was arrested by police at the Novotel rally on Saturday night.

Tang, who said he is a socialist and was at the Novotel rally to promote Fight Back!, a socialist newspaper, said he was giving a radio interview during the rally when a police officer roughly grabbed him and said he was breaching the peace.

"I demanded legal aid and I demanded access to a lawyer and they refused." Tang said 6 people were crammed into tiny cells "like a dog kennel" and there was not enough room to lie down. He also said the cells were littered with garbage and debris.

"They're not organized, they're not prepared." When asked about his right to a lawyer and to be informed of what he was being charged with, Tang said police officers told him,

"During the summit, those laws don't apply." Tang said the mood in the jail is overwhelmingly angry. "This type of program radicalizes people," he said. "It doesn't create order."

Tang
Photo of Allan Tang (BRENDAN KENNEDY/TORONTO STAR)

6:00 p.m.: Eastern Ave More prisoners released

Prisoners are starting to be released, one at a time, from the temporary G20 holding centre on Eastern Avenue.

Police have told crowds that if they remain on Pape Ave.,away from the front of the temporary detention centre, protesters will continue to be released.

Every minute or so, one person leaves the centre. Each release spurs a round of cheers from the crowd. The scene that was tense just ten minutes ago, but now the crowd is in high spirits.

G20 cases overwhelm court

The Star's Diana Zlomislic reports tensions are mounting at a special court G20 cases are being heard. Click here to read story.

5:59 pm.: Queen and Noble Tense Standoff

A tense standoff that began mid-afternoon in Parkdale is ongoing. The Parkdale tensions began when police detained a bus with Quebec license plates around 3:30 p.m. The bus is a few minutes’ walk from the Toronto Community Mobilization Network headquarters.

Activists who had been at a Mobilization Network press conference rushed to the area around 3:30. OPP bomb squad officers in heavily padded jumpsuits arrived around the same time and carefully searched the bus.

A police cordon was quickly erected around the bus with about 50 community members and activists trapped inside the cordon. The people were questioned one by one as they sat on the sidewalk. Some were taken into custody, including a female teenager who blew soap bubbles into a police officer’s face.

The police blocking Queen St. West weren’t wearing full riot gear but did have pepper spray canisters and guns for shooting tear gas. Some community members shouted “Get out of our neighbourhood” at police as they released some people who’d been detained and removed others in two court services. 

MAN SAYS PEOPLE SWEPT UP IN PARKDALE. CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO

5:45 p.m. Dundas and Wardell Sts. Anarchists a no-show? The anarchists are either a no-show or playing hide and seek with officers at Queen St. E. and Logan Ave. They were supposed to show up at Dundas and Wardell Sts. at 5 p.m., but instead there was just a small group of youngsters with some posters.

They soon dispersed, but police moved to the other side of the park, at Queen and Logan, and began searching people. At least a dozen people were searched, some were let go, others were detained, their hands tied at the back with plastic and their bags searched.

Cops on bikes, on foot and in two buses and a dozen cruisers are still at the park. Police have also arrested three at Logan Ave. and Busy St., as local residents cheered.

Marissa
Arrests at busy Queen and Logan (JAYME POISSON/TORONTO STAR)

5:54 p.m. At the Security Perimeter  Police relax

Things are really winding down inside and outside the notorious fence. Police are relaxing on fold out chairs. Buses and moving vans are on the move. A helicopter landed a while ago and whisked away the last remaining visible Armed Forces members.

Scores of blue bag toting Mounties are now appearing from the direction of Rogers Centre and strolling north to Front. Some police officers are blowing what appear to be G20 Summit vuvuzelas.

5:45 p.m. Queen St. and Peter St.Cyclists and marchers on move

Hundreds of cyclists and marchers have started walking west along Queen Street, now at Peter Street. Crowd appears to be a mix of different protesting groups.

5:39 pm. Queen St. and Noble 

The Star's Peter Edwards reports a few dozen Parkdale residents clapped their hands and chanted “Solidarity” briefly as two court services vans pulled away from the corner of Queen Street West and Noble Street, a block west of Parkdale.

About 50 OPP officers stood in the street with their arms crossed as the vans pulled away. Most of the crowd facing the officers were gawkers, curious about why the normally busy Queen Street was blockaded.

Nearby on Dufferin Street, the noise of the crowd was temporarily drowned out by horn honkers in cars who were waving the Argentinian flags to celebrate that country’s World Cup soccer victory over Mexico.

5:31 p.m. More TTC disruptions

The King St. streetcar is being detoured because of a stand-off between police and protesters near King and Bay Sts. Streetcars are now turning north on Church St. to Queen St. and continuing west all the way to Spadina, where they are reconnecting with the King St. line. There is no word on how long the detour will last.

5:27 p.m. King St. and Bay St. Riot police depart

Police officers clad in riot gear have departed from the low-intensity prayer vigil, where more than 15 people are now sitting down.

They have been replaced by other officers.

5:25 p.m. Queen St. East and Booth At the anarchists’ protest

Three busloads of riot police have just arrived at Queen St. E. and Booth Ave. as other officer search backpacks.

Officers on bicycles have now cordoned off Bruce Ave. and Queen St. E., near the planned anarchists’ protest.

A small group of people on bikes were headed west on Queen when they were stopped. They say they’re not protesters and are just trying to get home.

Cody Greenhorne was walking just east of Joy Bistro on Queen St. when police officers threw him into the ground and began to search him. He was subsequently let go.“I think it was because I was wearing black pants and a black backpack,” he said.

5:22 p.m. More protesters released

CP24 is reporting that police at Eastern Avenue have told protesters through a loudspeaker that if they move back along Pape and keep Eastern Ave. clear, police will continue to release people who’d been arrested. Cheers as more protesters leave Eastern Ave. temporary holding centre.

5:19 p.m. Final Warning

CP24 reports police have given protesters at the Eastern Avenue detention centre a final warning to move; those who don’t leave risk being arrested.

5:11 p.m.: Convergence of protests

The scene at the peace vigil briefly became more chaotic when the bike protest arrived on the scene from the east. But police blocked King St. just west of Bay, preventing the bike people from proceeding, and they have now headed north.

POLICE SEARCHES AT JIMMIE SIMPSON PARK

Park
Photo by Jayme Poisson/Toronto Star

5:09 p.m. Queen St. streetcar 

Streetcar service along Queen St. W. is slower than normal this afternoon. TTC officials have confirmed that police activity near Dufferin St. and Dovercourt Rd. is causing streetcars along Queen to stop and wait until the roadway is clear. There is no word on how long the disruptions will continue.

5:06 p.m. G20 Summit closes

Unofficially, the G20 summit meeting has ended and the leaders have begun to leave Toronto with the Brazilian President's motorcade whizzing by Lakeshore and Bathurst.

4:50 p.m. Heating up on King St. West

Officers in riot gear have taken over the front line metres from the peace vigil demonstrators, who continue to sit on the ground. Police on horseback are now behind the riot officers. But the star of the spectacle is Charlie Veitch, who is drawing people wast on King St. with shouts into his megaphone that are drawing cheers. 

4:50 p.m. Eastern Avenue Five minute warning

Police have given a five minute warning if people don’t disperse they will start arresting. People are chanting ” peaceful protest”. There’s some disagreement because there’s no leader among the protesters. 

PROTESTER LEAVES EAST-END JAIL. CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO


4:49 p.m. No police at protest site – yet

A small crowd has gathered at Dundas E. and Wardell, where a 5 p.m. protest is planned by anarchists. No police – not yet, reports the Star’s Raveena Aulakh.

Erin Boynton, 24 of London, Ont. was at the protest site and said people at the detention centre are being shabbily treated. "They gave us water after five hours," says Boynton, who spent the night in detention and was just released without being charged.

Christopher Lake was released about an hour ago from the temporary detention facility on Eastern Ave. He says the energy inside the detention centre is intense.

"Hundreds of people are banging on the walls and yelling and the police don't care" he said, adding that he was given a small cup of water every six hours and fed white bread with processed cheese.  

"If you want to go to the bathroom you have to go in an open port-a-potty,” he says.

 

 4:51 p.m. Two monitors for CCLA arrested

Two monitors for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association -- law student Mark Donald and university-age Jon Pipitone -- were arrested at about midnight Saturday on The Esplanade near the Novotel hotel, and so far, no one has been able to contact them, including a criminal lawyer, who is calling regularly.

Donald's father has been to the detention centre on Eastern Ave. on Sunday, frantically trying to get information. "They were simply watching a peaceful protest," said Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. "We have unable to contact them. They have not been allowed to speak to a lawyer since."

The group had about 60 volunteers -- independent, neutral monitors -- who were out on the streets of Toronto this weekend to monitor and ensure the police were not violating people's civil rights.

4:51 p.m. Costly repairs

I am going to guess we used more than a thousand sheets of plywood,” says Tim Byrne, head of Stadia Industries Ltd., a window and door installation and repair business. His crew of 48 has been working around the clock since Friday at noon.

Byrne, still tallying up the damages, estimates that as of 4 p.m. Sunday his company dealt with broken glass that could cost up to $750,000 to replace. That total will be significantly higher as Stadia was only one of many companies on the move during the protests, said Byrne.

On Saturday, in addition to boarding up windows broken by protesters, the company received several calls between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. by companies seeking protection against potential damage.

“Not all were used for smashed-out glass, they were used as preemptive strike against protesters.”

4:39 p.m. G20 Motorcade spotted at Bathurst and Lakeshore

Japanese Prime Minister's Motorcade just zipped through Bathurst and Lakeshore

4:35 p.m. Queen and Noble Site of Police Activity

The Star's Steve Russell is reporting that about 60 police detained a charter bus, which has Quebec plates, at Queen and Noble near the headquarters of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network. Police began questioning passengers on bus, then appear to have detained everyone in the neighborhood, including he says some elderly Chinese women. He also reports there appears members of the bomb squad are also on scene. He can't tell what they're doing.

Bus
Bus stopped near Queen and Noble. (STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR)

4:08 pm Eastern Ave. Crowd leaves

About 300 protesters, all on bikes, staged a sit-in outside the detention centre on Eastern Ave. When a line of police in riot gear stood at the gate, the crowd began to disperse. They seem to have had enough for the weekend.

Earlier, organizers said any of the protesters who wanted leave the demonstration should. People started getting up and wheeling their bikes away.

Before that, an older woman wearing a blue T-shirt said police would release the detainees if the demonstrators left the area. But it seems the crowd didn’t trust her. They responded in a chant: “We will go if they come with us.” Demonstrators headed north on Pape Ave.

4:31 p.m. New chant

Steve Paikin, host of TVO’s The Agenda, tweets protesters’ new chant to police: "You're sexy, you're cute. Take off your riot suit."

4:05 p.m.: The Love Police: an actual group

The man with the megaphone who earlier pronounced a heated debate over on the order of the “Love Police” is named Charlie Veitch, a rabble-rouser with his own website and something of a reputation (video interview with him here).

He has begun using his megaphone to express messages opposing organized religion, such as “please release your brains from this brainwashing control mechanism” and “you can contact God directly, you do not need the church to do so.” The vigil attendees have responded in peaceful song, singing “take your fight elsewhere.” Veitch says the Love Police is an actual group. Information on what it is to come.

4 p.m. Riot police arrive at bail court

Two large white buses carrying riot police have arrived at the 2201 Finch Ave W. bail courts, where more than 150 G20 protesters are expected to be processed.

Toronto Police Sgt. Peter Stenhouwer wouldn't confirm if police had received a threat or warning that protesters were headed north to the site with plans to wreak havoc. Staff inside the courthouse were recommending people remove their cars from the parking lot.

Two additional courts were opened at the last minute Sunday morning; a total of five are in session to 9 p.m. tonight. One has been set aside to process French-speaking protesters and youth.

4:19 p.m. More media impressions on Toronto, the summit, the violence: 

ALJAZEERA.NET: G20 leaders have moved closer to hammering out a deal to slash spiraling national deficits within three years without jeopardizing the fragile global economic recovery. The leaders of the world's major industrialised powers agreed on Sunday to the principles of what they termed "growth-friendly deficit reduction" proposals, to be applied on an individual basis to countries seeking to avoid debt crises. The agreement follows deep divisions within the group over whether to spend or cut their way to economic recovery, a point acknowledged by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who told his counterparts there is a "tightrope that we must walk to sustain recovery".

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - It is no small irony that Canada has focused on G8 accountability as a priority in this past weekend’s summit. Nor that it was a Canadian, the iconic internationalist Lester B. Pearson, who came up with the 0.7 percent pledge – later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly – that rich countries would give 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product in development aid to the world’s poorest.

Today, Canada’s percentage of GNP going to aid is less than half the standard set by Mr. Pearson, and as the Group of Eight nations wrapped up their meeting in Huntsville, Ontario yesterday, many aid advocates questioned not only the Canadian hosts’ commitment to development, but the entire group’s very credibility.

4:10 p.m. Views of the G20 Summit from around the world

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Expectations of tensions between nations implementing austerity programs and the US President, Barack Obama, who had expressed concerns that the withdrawal of stimulus money could jeopardise the recovery, were headed off by an acknowledgment that ''one size does not fit all''. While countries agreed to work towards sustainable and balanced growth, each would be allowed to make a contribution according to its national circumstances.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The streets of Toronto remained in turmoil for a second day, as the number of G20 Protesters arrested climbed over 500.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Canada's largest city was on tenterhooks Sunday after violent weekend protests against a G20 summit left a trail of smashed bank windows and storefronts, and burnt out police cars. Police in riot gear kept vigil at downtown Toronto intersections, while city crews swept up broken glass and wiped graffiti off buildings and streetcars. Residents were back walking their dogs, joggers trotted through parks, but most downtown shops and restaurants remained closed.

4:05 p.m. Bay and King, 80 riot police

Despite the peacefulness of the vigil, at which demonstrators are currently sitting on the ground, and despite Sgt. Graham Queen’s tranquil demeanor minutes ago, about 80 officers clad in riot gear have arrived on the scene and formed a line south of the existing line of officers. Demonstrators are singing: “Take your weapons elsewhere" and "there is strength in our peacefulness.”

Copsbay
Police at King and Bay (JENNIFER YANG/TORONTO STAR)

4:02 p.m. Bus Diversions

The 6 Bay and 94 Wellesley routes are being diverted because of police activity.

3:56 p.m. Eastern Avenue Sit-In

Bicyclists arrive  en masse at Eastern Avenue Detention Centre. Begin staging a sit-in.

Bikers
Bikers at Eastern Ave. jail (DENISE BALKISOON/TORONTO STAR)

3:50 p.m. Protest preparations

Dozens of officers are on their bikes heading eastbound on Queen St. on way to Degrassi St. for anarchist protest at 5 p.m., reports Raveena Aulakh.

3:53 p.m. Update: 562 arrests this weekend

From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, 224 people were arrested in G20-related incidents and processed at the Eastern Ave. centre. That brings the total to 562 for the weekend.

The ISU (Integrated Security Unit), in charge of security during the summit, could not provide any details on charges.

3:44 p.m.: The Love Police arrive on the scene

A 19-year-old named Samantha, who was dressed in black , was pulled out of the crowd at the Christian peace and prayer vigil and questioned by police.

 She said it was indeed her clothes that got her questioned, but she said “It’s kind of understandable that this is happening, and I don’t take offence.”

 A little later, at the corner of King and Bay Sts., a man riding by on a bicycle called one of the attendees a “loser." That set off a heated and wide-ranging debate, covering topics from the slave trade to G20 security, that distracted dozens of people from the vigil – until a man with a megaphone said: “By order of the Love Police, this argument has been shut down for being too boring.”

 The crowd cheered.

3:32 p.m. The view from abroad

This is from John Hilary of The Guardian under the headline: May Toronto’s G20 be the last. It's not just the $1 billion policing; the failure to tackle the financial crisis or climate change exposes a forum without credibility

 "The security operation on the streets of Toronto has provided Canadians with the greatest single talking point of the G20 gathering this weekend. Many locals are furious at the $1 billion price tag for policing a summit which they never wanted to host in the first place.

 "As John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty pointed out, that same money could have paid for five years of the provincial food supplement programme that has just been scrapped in the latest round of austerity cuts.

"The high level of militarization that has been witnessed over the past couple of days has also been a major talking point, as Canadians are not accustomed to seeing such weaponry being so openly paraded at civil demonstrations.

"One small protest against poverty and homelessness in Toronto itself was quickly surrounded by vast numbers of police in full riot gear, including mounted police. More chilling still was the visible presence of heavily armed officers touting tear gas rifles and other firearms; police have also confirmed firing plastic bullets and pepper spray capsules at demonstrators on Saturday night."

3:27 p.m. U of T response

The Graduate Student Union at the University of Toronto says it doesn't know why people were sleeping in their building.

Seventy people were arrested this morning on the  campus, many or all of them at the Graduate Student Union building at 16 Bancroft Ave. near Spadina.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO OF ARRESTS

 While the university campus officially shut down last Thursday and Friday, leading up to summit weekend, the GSU offices were still open.

Students were removed from their residences for the summit, so the union stayed open to help people find alternative housing.

  “I’m not sure what happened overnight,” said Nikita Reznik, the finance and services coordinator. “At this point, we’re still trying to gather information.”

 University officials said they are “awaiting information from police as to the circumstances” and have no further comment on it.

 3:24 p.m. The purpose behind the mayhem

 A day after the mayhem, a walk on Queen St. W reveals the purpose behind yesterday's Black Bloc destruction– they targeted what they consider the icons of consumerism and financing, reports the Star's Sandro Contenta.

 The list of attacked stores on the strip between University and Spadina includes Starbucks, Footlocker, Nike, and Gap. Window were also smashed at bank branches, including Scotiabank and CIBC.

Independent shop owners were spared damage, but they complained of a sharp drop in business because of the G20 security lockdown.

 “It’s already slow because of the recession, and now this,” says Mina Yoon, owner of the Eko jewelry story on Queen St. W. “It’s pretty bad; no one is coming downtown.”

 On Yonge St., destruction here was more random. The independently owned First Choice Giftshad its front window smashed. A sign over the souvenir shop’s broken glass reads, “Be careful!!!”

4:05 p.m.: The Love Police: an actual group The man with the megaphone who earlier pronounced a heated debate over on the order of the “Love Police” is named Charlie Veitch, a rabble-rouser with his own website and something of a reputation (video interview with him here). He has begun using his megaphone to express messages opposing organized religion, such as “please release your brains from this brainwashing control mechanism” and “you can contact God directly, you do not need the church to do so.” The vigil attendees have responded in peaceful song, singing “take your fight elsewhere.” Veitch says the Love Police is an actual group. Information on what it is to come.

5:09 p.m. Queen St. streetcar Streetcar service along Queen St. W. is slower than normal this afternoon. TTC officials have confirmed that police activity near Dufferin St. and Dovercourt Rd. is causing streetcars along Queen to stop and wait until the roadway is clear. There is no word on how long the disruptions will continue.

Comments

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Lawless actions by militants, malcontents, anarchists and civic terrorists have no place in our Toronto.

Masked foreign or home grown terrorists guised as protesters and urged on by some Toronto union leaders must be held accountable, responsible and liable to all Torontonians for their lawlessness and destruction.

Those arrested should have their photos and address posted on the Internet and throughout the media to ensure that such malcontents are known to the public and Torontonians. without cowardly hiding behind their masked faces.

All must be publicly unmasked and individually required to pay for damages caused by their lawlessness.

Their rights as citizens must be withheld until reviewed and black listed for travel to any countries or cities around the world.

It is time for all law abiding citizens of Toronto and around the globe to take back our cities from these anarchists who have shown no respect for mankind.

Horse poop is the least of Toronto's worries. if residents don't like it, they should clean it. :/ Businesses that had their windows smashed in, should be reimbursed.

The G20 has sickened me. From the secretive special powers given to police by our provincial government to the acts of a few cowardly vandals it's all very sickening. The police have used their power against bystanders and onlookers while standing idly by vandalism occurred. I truly hope the senior police command need to be replaced for allowing this to happen in Canada.

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