Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ombudsman to release report on G20 secret law

The Ontario Ombudsman (Andre Marin) started a review in early July of the "origin and subsequent communication" of changes to the law known as the Public Works Protection Act used during the G8/G20 Summits. The Ombudsman has twittered that he has finished his report and will present it to the Ontario Government and that it will be made public before the end of this year.

"@Ont_Ombudsman: Our #G20 investigation: evidence gathering complete, draft report to b finalized within next 10 days and provided to Ont gov't for comment."

The photo above shows two lone riot police officers at the north west side of Queen's Park just minutes before long lines of riot police drive people from the south yard of the legislature property while at the same time another large contingent of riot police are sweeping in from the north east.
As many of us know the police explained to the public that within 5 metres of the fence they could stop and arrest people that did not provide identification. This soon extended to unreasonable searches and demands for identification in areas that were outside that 5m distance and in fact were far away from the secure, fenced area down by the Metro Convention Centre. When I saw the police searching backpacks along Yonge Street I asked them why they were searching bags, it didn't take them long to intimidate me and ask for my identification, which they wrote down.
The Toronto Police website states that "Officers may stop pedestrians on the street if they observe an offence, if they are investigating a complaint, or if they believe the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. These interactions usually involve the officer asking for your name, address and identification, and other questions that are appropriate to their investigation." The large amount of police cameras installed through out the downtown core didn't seem to help the police control the black bloc.
It has subsequently been widely reported that the police did not actually have the power they claimed or used so widely. They could only require identification of people trying to enter the secure, fenced area. And if you didn't want to show identification you could leave the area. Here is a picture of Global news reporter Alex Pierson covering the summit.
I feel the Black Bloc was wrong, that this country is peaceful and democratic and that violent protests were not warranted by anyone. I also feel that the many thousands of police could and should have stopped the Black Bloc when they were committing the vandalism, without searching everyone's belongings and asking for identification and even arresting so many peaceful protesters and innocent spectators of the weekend's events.

Interestingly enough a National Post article has a quote from a G20 security spokesman saying "Although Constable Wendy Drummond, a spokeswoman for the G20 Integrated Security Unit, would not address the Black Bloc movement specifically, she said the unit is “prepared for any eventuality.”
Read more:"

See more pictures after the jump.

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1 comment:

Jalex said...

If you are as frustrated as I am about the abuse of powers of police during the G20 (especially the fact that Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair is still in power after admittedly lying to citizens about their civil rights resulting in individuals being unlawfully searched and detained), then follow this link for contact information for the City of Toronto (mayor and council) and a sample letter asking for the dismissal of Police Chief Blair:


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