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06/27/2010

Live Blog: Sunday June 27

4:22 a.m.

The pictures below are of work crews taking down fencing and removing concrete barriers in the G20 summit zone. All main roads were expected to be open for the morning traffic rush.

From Henry Stancu

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2:16 a.m.

At midnight, contracted work crews began removing the perimeter fence. The barriers on Front St. were brought down by workers around 2 a.m.

From Henry Stancu


1:50 a.m.

Only about 30 people remain outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre now. When the detainees are released out onto the street, the dwindling crowd still claps and cheers.

From Henry Stancu


12:38 a.m.  Police barriers come down, roads reopen

I see no police barriers now. All routes, including northbound from Lakeshore, are open. Fences still in place but gates open. There are NO police officers directing traffic.

From Steve Tustin


12:10 a.m. 
G20 closes up shop

Looks like they are closing up G20 shop and going home.  All gates are open. 

From Steve Tustin


12:04 a.m.  Porter flight rerouted

Porter flight from Newark tried to land twice at Island airport but too foggy. Captain had to turn back at last minute. Pearson not available due to G20 so plane sent to Ottawa.

From Jim Byers


11:58 p.m. Gates open

The police have now opened all the gates at Bremner and Lower Simcoe. I see no police officers at any checkpoint. All roads are open to cars and pedestrians.

But north from Lakeshore to Lower Simcoe. Still blocked.

From Steve Tustin

Gates
(STEVE TUSTIN/TORONTO STAR)



11:30 p.m.  Tales from the holding centre


Feeling humiliated, hungry and confused, Kiel Widmeyer was released today after spending more than 20 hours in what he called “a crowded cage” at the G20 holding centre.

“I called my dad as soon as I got out – it was the first thing I did,” he said, noting that his father had been worried sick. “The worst part of the whole experience was that they didn’t allow us to make any phone calls. Not one phone call.”

Widmeyer had arrived for a peaceful protest in front of the Novotel hotel on the esplanade Saturday evening with three friends – two of whom he’s been unable to locate since the arrest.

“Everything was going well. We were holding peace signs, we were singing. It was very peaceful,” he said.

As soon as it was made clear that police wanted them to leave, Widmeyer says that many of the demonstrators stood up, put their hands into the air and attempted to leave.

“But there was no way out. The police wouldn’t let us leave,” he said. “They let the media people go, but as far as us protesters, we were not let out. They started to charge at us, pushing us closer and closer together.”

One by one, hundreds of protesters were arrested. Widmeyer says he was bound by plastic handcuffs before having his picture taken and possessions confiscated.

He then waited in a paddy wagon for nearly two hours before being taken into the temporary detention centre at 628 Eastern Avenue.

“At first they put me in a cell all by myself, which was really terrifying,” he recalled, his voice shaking. “I was intimidated, being in there all alone.”

 A short time later, more people were brought into the cell. The group waited, uncertain as to what was going on, for four hours before police took them one at a time to speak with a Sergeant.

“That’s when they finally told us ‘this is why you were arrested, do you understand?’” He said. “Then they told us that the charges would be dropped, and we were happy, thinking we thought we could go home. But then they just changed us over to different, smaller cells.”

The smaller cells were approximately 6 by 9 feet large, Widmeyer estimates, with as many as six people being held in each.

“The floor was concrete, with no blankets or pillows. Some had Porta-Potties, but most didn’t.” he said. “It was very bright and noisy. There was no way to sleep at all.”

Prisoners struggled to get food, water and bathroom breaks, but the worst part of the ordeal, Widmeyer says, was the way they were treated by police.

Protesters were told that five lawyers were on site, but Widmeyer says that nobody was actually given a chance to speak with them.

 “Everyone was demanding to speak to lawyers, trying to enact their right to make a phone call, but the police would say it was too busy – that the phones were all in use,” he said. “Our cages were in a big open room, so we could call out to each other. Someone called out to see if anyone had been given a phone call and not one person had.”

The young man was also disgusted by how unprofessionally he was treated by guards at the detention centre.

“I’m only 5-foot-2; I’m not a big guy,” he said, explaining that on more than one occasion guards made jokes about his size among themselves.

“They would say ‘yeah, I’ve got a big one here’ sarcastically when they escorted me to the bathroom and laugh,” he said. “I just felt really disrespected. These are the guys who are supposed to protect our rights.”

From Lauren O’Neil


G20 wrapup video: A chaotic weekend



11:03 p.m.  First person arrested under G20 law jailed again

Dave Vasey, the environmental activist who was the first to be arrested under the Public Works Act,  was arrested again in the Novotel roundup Saturday night.  He says police took their shoes. They were very cold and had no blankets to people huddled together.

His cell, about 6 ft.by 8 ft, didn’t have a toilet. They had to “beg” police to go to the bathroom. It would take about an hour before they were allowed to go to the toilet. He said it was “ filthy” in the cell.
 
He said he will launch another lawsuit about his treatment over the last 30 hours.

From Jayme Poisson

11 p.m.  Life starting to return to normal

Bremner and Lower Simcoe

Four police officers are patrolling a perimeter where only hours earlier there were hundreds. Gates are still closed, but it looks like, for the first time in days, a non-accredited local was let through. Perhaps life will be returning to near normal tomorrow morning. 

From Steve Tustin

10:55 p.m.  University students get harsh lesson

Queen and Spadina

Two students from the University of Western Ontario political science and peace studies program say they got a harsh lesson in the real world, when they tried to cross the intersection at Queen St. W. and Spadina Sunday afternoon. They were meeting friends and spontaneously joined the march for a few blocks. They were curious.

Kelly Johnstone, 21, of Ajax, said she was shocked to be suddenly surrounded by police and then held in the middle of the street for four hours in the pouring rain.

Johnstone kept calling her parents to tell them she was being held by police. She felt cold and claustrophobic.

“We were waiting to be handcuffed,”  she said. “I can’t believe this happened.”

She said they were told they were breaching the peace.

 Her friend Alicia Kuin, 23, from London, Ont., who’s in the same program, said, “I’m frustrated, very frustrated. Very cold. Shivering and very upset at the government.”

From Peter Edwards



10:46 p.m. Police hold press conference

In a hastily called press conference at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Toronto police Staff Supt. Jeff McGuire said police had "significant evidence" that individuals planning to carry out acts of Black Bloc violence similar to Saturday's rampage along Yonge Street were "mixed in" with protesters on Queen St. today.

McGuire acknowledged that law-abiding citizens had been detained in the round-up at Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave., but insisted police executed a tactic they felt was necessary to prevent a repeat of Saturday.

"A net gets thrown and people get caught... This is on the heels of what we felt (Saturday) ... We're not suggesting that we're perfect," he said, "We're facing very trying circumstances (and we're) doing the best we can."

Most of the detained individuals were released unconditionally, McGuire said, but added several of those found with gas masks were detained and transported to the Eastern Ave. G20 summit detention centre.

10:45 pm    Prisoners tell their story

Queen W. and Spadina Ave.

Prisoners  - those who say they were boxed by police lines  and couldn’t get out -  and were held  in police vans were also suddenly set free around 9:30 p.m. Saying they still didn’t know why they were handcuffed for two hours and kept in police vans. They had been processed, then turned loose.

Clarence Boutilier, 41, an unemployed former restaurant worker, of Toronto, said he was taking pictures with his cell phone when he was suddenly arrested.

He was held in the middle of the street on suspicion of mischief charges.

“I wasn’t breaking the law, smashing things,” Boutilier said, “but I was treated like a criminal.”

Ten minutes after being set free, he shivered and asked for a match to light his cigarette.

He said while he was being held he was confused and cold. “the only way we could get out (of the intersection) was to be arrested,” Boutilier said. “We weren’t part of the protest.”

Katherine Budd, 24, a single mom, was chilled in the night air. Her T-shirt was drenched. She wore no jacket.

She said she was just walking across the intersection when the protest caught her eye.

“I figured it was just a bunch of hippies. They weren’t doing anything violent.”


10:17 p.m. Eastern Ave.

They are letting out groups of five or six demonstrators out of the detention centre every 15 minutes. A group is standing on the corner of Eastern Ave. and Pape Ave. Some are crying. Others embracing.

Ryan McLoughlin, 25, was detained Saturday night at the Novotel. He says he was brought to the detention centre in a black van which had partitions. He was left in the van for three hours. It was hot inside the van and some complained it was difficult to breathe.

Once in the centre, they were in a “wire cage” about 14 ft X 10 ft. covered with sheet metal. His compartment held about 40 people – it was extremely crowded. He compared it to a storage locker in an apartment.

“The whole thing was pretty makeshift.”

It was dirty – people didn’t want to lie down on the floor. They were handcuffed.

“It was extremely, extremely uncomfortable.”

He described an open toilet in the cage in which he was kept, where there no privacy as well as no toilet paper.

McLoughlin said they were fed “stale buns”, processed cheese slices, and three small glasses of water, three time over the 30 hours he was held.

He said his group tried to stay very quiet though other groups were rowdily banging on the walls of their compartments.

When he was released, he said he had glimpse of the scope of the entire centre. He was surprised at how large it was.

“It’s a prison camp in there.”

10:05 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

People released from police custody say they were given no explanation why they were suddenly freed. They’d been told they had been disturbing the peace.

They said there were about 600 people originally detained at the intersection. The ones set free were in the final group waiting to be processed. They said it was just luck that they were allowed to go. They were stunned to be arrested.

They say there was no violence at Queen and Spadina. They say they were walking through the intersection and the majority of people detained were not part of the demonstration.

“We were just walking around with friends,” said Sam Wisnicki, 22, of Toronto, who just graduated from the University of Western Ontario where she was studying political science and peace studies.

“Nothing was really happening,” Wisnicki said. “Everything was peaceful.”

The detainees say they were confused and frightened. They were also very cold – they shivered in their soaking wet T-shirts for four hours.

“We were surrounded,” Wisnicki said. “We were told to get down and were rounded up like cattle.”

She said she, along with two friends from Western, was meeting friends for dinner and stumbled on the protest and decided to walk with it for a couple of blocks.

“I can’t believe I’m in Canada. My charter rights have been trampled. My human rights have been trampled. It’s shameful.”

Some of the people shivering in the rain with her were tourists.

10:00 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

Spadina and Queen are clear of protesters but some who were not arrested say they are going to the Eastern Ave. and Pape St. detention centre to "show solidarity with crowds."

Alicia Papell, 24, spent five hours in a stand off with police but was let go about 10 minutes ago.

"I was arrested yesterday ... I know what that detention centre is like. My friends and I are going there now."

She said the group was protesting peacefully when cops got aggressive and started pushing them around. One of her heads was punched in the face, she said.

She and her friend Tyler were among the very few not arrested by the police.

As Queen and Spadina cleared out, a voice from a parked court services van rang out: "I want to pee...let me pee," said a girl, who had been arrested about two hours ago.

A few dozen police officers are still at Queen and Spadina but the majority have left or are leaving.

9:45 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. 

All of the crowds at Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. were released around 9:40 p.m., but not before dozens of protesters were arrested and carted off in police court service wagons.

For the past two hours or so, young protesters and passers-by have been lined up, processed and detained.

A line of 25 people was still being processed moments before the crowd was let loose and headed north on Spadina Ave.

A girl, who is in a court van, complained that officers had not let her go to the bathroom in over two hours.

Meanwhile, two men in socks were forced to stand in pouring rain as police squared off with protesters and slowly pulled people out one by one.

Following the release of the final remaining people, at least 300 officers marched out of the intersection.

Street cars were stalled for 3 hours.

9:40 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

At Queen and Spadina there was a loud cheer from the shivering detainees who stood in the middle of the street waiting for their arrest to be processed. They were suddenly released from custody. They quickly walked east on Queen St. away from the intersection.

9:40 p.m. Queen St.

At 9:40 p.m. a loud cheer arose from the crowd as police freed about 50 of the detainees, who then walked briskly east on Queen St.

"We did it," one shouted, waving his fist in the air. Others pulled out their cellphones as they called friends and relatives to say they were freed.

9:40 p.m. Crowds released

Television footage shows crowds from Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. being released.

9:27 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

Police are loading detained alleged protesters into chartered TTC buses.

9:14 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

A young man in his early 20s said he was merely crossing the intersection and watching the commotion, when he was scooped up by riot police.

The man, who wore only a T-shirt, jogging shorts and runners, said he’s on vacation in Canada from Ireland. He shivered in the rain, with his hands handcuffed behind him as an officer told him he had a right to call a lawyer. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled faintly. “Some vacation,” he said in a broad Irish accent.

Police are doing their paperwork in the shelter of store doorways. They ask the detainees if they have any medical conditions they should know about. One young woman shivering was wrapped in a silver Mylar blanket.

9:10 p.m. East side of Queen and Spadina Ave.

At least 50 people stood in the rain with their hands cuffed behind them at Queen St. W and Spadina.

About 100 police officers, some in riot gear, stood in the intersection while other officers stood beside detainees, waiting to process their personal information and put their belongings into clear plastic bags.

The mood was surprisingly congenial. One female detainee in her early 20s volunteered to let a police officer use her pen to fill out a form when the officer’s pen didn’t work. The police officer smiled at her, shrugged her shoulders and said, “You get to have your picture taken.” “Awesome,” the detainee replied sarcastically.

9 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

A detainee in his early 20s said he was simply crossing the intersection of Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. to see some friends when he was detained by riot police. The young man, who said he's on a month-long vacation in Canada from Ireland, said he wasn't protesting or demonstrating.

"Wrong place, wrong time," he said with a thick Irish accent as he stood handcuffed and shivering in the pouring rain, waiting to be processed by police. "Great vacation."

8:45 p.m. Five observers from Canadian Civil Liberties Association arrested

Five observers from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have been arrested this weekend.

The four men and one woman are volunteers, trained to take notes to document both police and protesters’ behaviours at the demonstrations during the G20 Summit, said Nathalie Des Rosiers, the general counsel for the Association.

Des Rosiers said that the first two observers were arrested on Saturday night in front of the Novotel hotel on the Esplanade when a peaceful protest turned into a mass arrest. The other three were arrested late Sunday afternoon at the Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. standoff.

“We are quite distressed by these arrests,” said Des Rosiers.

All were wearing their white uniform, including a white hat with CCLA on it. They also have cards identifying them as impartial onlookers, said Des Rosiers, who confirmed that the Integrated Security Unit is aware of the observers’ presence at the protests.

“We have no idea what they have been charged with,” said Des Rosiers. “And that’s the concern.”

One of the observers was released after being detained for 16 hours. “He is still in shock,” said Des Rosiers, who added that he described his experience as chaotic. He also told her that the cages at the detention centre were full of garbage.

Similar monitors were dispatched at the Vancouver Olympics to watch over the protests there – none of those observers were arrested, said Des Rosiers

8:50 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

More than 100 police officers detained at least 50 demonstrators in the pouring rain in the middle of the intersection of Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave.

Demonstrators and passers-by, with their hands cuffed behind them, stood in the pouring rain waiting to be processed by officers and carted away in court services vans.

Officers took down the personal information of detainees, emptied their pockets into plastic evidence bags, and loaded them into waiting court services vans and a bus.

Those detained didn't fit into any neat category -- men, women, mostly in their 20s, most of them resigned to going through the arrest process without argument.

Several hundred paces away in the background, hundreds of riot police waited in case they were needed.

"You guys are saying 'Wrong place, wrong time'," a police officer said to two detainees who argued they were just passing by. "Yup," replied a young man in his early 20s. But that didn't make any difference -- the handcuffs stayed on and the two continued to be processed by officers who read them their rights and told they they had the right to call a lawyer. Whether or not they had the opportunity to call a lawyer is a different question.

Officers also asked detainees if they had any medical conditions that required special treatment. "Asthma," a young woman replied.

The atmosphere was surprisingly civil, with those detained volunteering their personal identification and readily answering police questions.

8:30 p.m., Queen St. W. at Spadina

Police begin detaining protesters at at Queen St. W. and Richmond.

Protests

8:15 p.m., Queen St. W. at Spadina

The angry crowd of hundreds huddled in the rain at Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. was reduced to a small group standing face-to-face with police. While some of the protesters posed for photos in front of the police line, others were picked out of the crowd, one by one, as officers waded in to make individual arrests.

Police were screening the prisoners and detaining some while allowing others to leave the area.

8:15 p.m. YouTube footage of Queen and Spadina protests


8:15 p.m. Police may stay in Toronto after Sunday

Police imported into the city for the G20 have been put on stand-by and warned that they may have to stay in the city after Sunday.

“My understanding is that people are here until everything is under control,” said Sgt. Nathalie Deschenes, a spokesperson for the Integrated Security Unit. “There is no specific date set. People will stay as long as necessary.”

A total of 253 people have been arrested between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. today, which brings the total of G20 arrests to 604.

8:00 p.m. Power outage in Leslieville

There is a power outage in the city’s east end as the rain drums down in Toronto. The blackout is along Dundas St. E. between Coxwell Ave. and Leslie St., said Toronto Hydro spokesperson Tanya Bruckmueller.

The Eastern Ave. detention centre is not affected by the power outage.

7:51 pm Queen St. W. at Spadina. Standoff almost over

A few dozen die-hards are hanging on, still facing police at Queen St. W. and Spadina. A few of those danced on roller blades, wearing skimpy women’s lingerie. They are performing in front of police, as the crowd cheers them on. Traffic is starting to move north on Spadina Ave.

It looks like the standoff has come to a soggy end.

7:41 p.m. Toronto G20 Summit Accomplishments

The world’s leaders emerged from the G20 Summit with an agreement for advanced economies to cut their deficits in half by 2013 and stabilize their debt loads by 2016, according to Canadian Press.

Other key measures agreed to include:

— Setting up a working group on international development issues, the first time the G20 has given itself a formalized a role in helping poor countries.

— Reaffirming some of the countries’ support for the Copenhagen Accord to control greenhouse gas emissions.

— Continue developing strategies to cut fossil fuel subsidies.

— Speeding up reform of the IMF so that emerging markets have more say.

— Launching a food security program.

— Reiterating support for the Doha round of global free trade talks.

7:32 p.m. Soho and Queen. Protesters Detained

Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk reports that Toronto police swooped in and detained everyone in front of the Black Bull.

7:24 pm Queen St. W. at Spadina Crowd Thins

A prolonged deluge has cut the size of the crowd by at least half. A couple of women in their early 20s danced in the rain in the middle of Queen St. W.

Several dozen people on bicycles pedaled away. Others took refuge from the downpour in storefronts.

“A perfect end to a perfect evening,” one onlooker said, sarcastically. He added: “There’s no point in setting any fires now.”

7:07 p.m. Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. Tightly penned in

Joe Howell told The Star that, one by one, members of the crowd are being picked out of the crowd and taken through the police line that has formed near the northeast corner of the intersection. 

It’s not clear whether these are demonstrators or bystanders.

They are going quietly, without resistance. Some wave as they are taken in hand. Meanwhile, it's pelting rain.

“We’re pretty tightly penned in,” he said. “The cops look pretty serious. They keep slamming their batons against their shields and pushing us closer together.”

Denise
(JOHN MACKENZIE PHOTO)

6:55 p.m. Queen St. W. at Spadina Music and Sound of Helicopter

Chuck Berry hits such as Nadine competed with the whirring sound of a helicopter during the standoff. Both can clearly be heard, even by reporters wearing ear plugs to protect from the possible use of police sound cannon.

6:50 p.m.Queen St.West and Spadina Ave Protesters marched to waiting vehicles

Officers have detained several protesters north of Queen on Spadina and have marched them south on Spadina to waiting vehicles.

People blocked off at Queen and Cameron, west of Spadina, said the group was attempting to march to the Parkdale office of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network.

Police vans arrived at Queen and Cameron; some of the people assembled shouted “shame, shame.”

6:50 pm Riot police at Spadina Ave. and Queen St.W.

Hundreds of Toronto police officers in full riot gear occupy all four sides of the intersection of Spadina and Queen St. W., the site of often violent confrontation Saturday night.

Dozens of other police in riot gear block nearby streets including Cameron St. and Augusta Ave. Hundreds are boxed in – some are protesters, some gawkers. Dozens more police, also in full riot gear, are coming.

Six SUVs and vans with OPP officers have come from the west. The crowd is taunting them, shouting “stop antagonizing everybody.

” A line up of street cars – about four blocks long – extends eastward. All side streets within a six block radius have been blocked off. They have created a narrow funnel for protesters, gawkers and journalists, to pass through.

Yang
Riot police arrive at Queen and Spadina. (JENNIFER YANG/TORONTO STAR)

6:37 p.m. Queen St. and Spadina Ave. Police warn tear gas, rubber bullets at ready at tense G20 protest

 Police are warning journalists that they're getting ready to use tear gas and rubber bullets on a group of protesters in downtown Toronto, Canadian Press reports.

Riot police have a group of people hemmed in at the intersection of Queen Street and Spadina Avenue.

A large number of arrests are being made at the scene.

Police have taken no chances today after roving bands of militant protesters burned police cars and vandalized banks.

GLAD TO BE FREE

Power
A protester is released from the Eastern Ave. jail earlier Sunday afternoon. (BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR)

Comments

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That was the most disgraceful waste of $1 billion that I have ever seen!!

Where is the Toronto mayor, David Millar or the Police Chief ?
According to the Police Services website, Community communication critical to G20:

http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=4821&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

The communication has been deplorable. They were arresting media people with visible badges with no explanation.

AllAboutTO.com

Complete violation of rights. They didn't even try to discern between protestors and civilians.

1 billion dollars on security.....protesters either creating dangerous situations or putting themselves in harms way... I really don't understand it. It seems to me that no one is really reaching their goals. I have yet to hear any news coverage about any of the issues that protesters are fighting for which just goes to show how ineffective the approach is. I imagine that the majority of protesters have good intentions. Why don't these well intentioned protesters get a bit more organized and become proactive. Take a look at the real difference being made by youth around the world that are involved with the organization Free The Children... As for the goverment and their so called security measures....it's so stupid!!! If the primary goal is to have a safe meeting... don't advertise where and when the G20 is going to be held!!!!!!!! Both sides need to start thinking and acting in a goal oriented way... that's all I'm saying. What a waste of time, energy, and money!!!

So the police took more than ten minutes to respond to rioters smashing windows on Yonge, when hundreds of them were staged not too far south at the fence - and let police cars burn and left them unattended. Then today, they arrest hundreds of people who weren't even protesting or provoking anything in any way? Yeah, good job guys.

The unfortunate aspect of the entire summit was the lack of police muscle on Saturday. All this complaining about violation of rights, etc. is ridiculous. You know there's been violence, damage to property, and the police are arresting individuals; why subject yourself to this by being even remotely close to the action? As far as I'm concerned, these people got what was coming to them. The only issue is that it was weak armed and too little, too late.

You're all adults, start acting like one!

The capitalism is no longer suitable for our country! As you can see, the reactionaries take charge of the society all the time: it is they who secretly gave police more power to attacked the protesters regardless they were illegal or not.
Look into the mirror of history: Each time when an election is held, one of the politicians who speaks only for the rich and represents only for the bourgeoisie will become the top-leader. There's no positive changes among us. Let's be aware of the reality! The fashion of our democracy need to evolve, that is to say, forming a communist social structure immediately!

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