Saturday 26th Protests

Well, well, fellow, Toronto Residents. This is going to be a weekend to remember. Today’s (Friday’s) march was a taste of what was to come. Although mostly peaceful, there were a few moments where tempers rose. The Police’s tactic seems to be to corral protesters along a route that they deem appropriate. perhaps if protesters have already set a route, the police might be more lenient– Friday’s protest didn’t seem to have much direction.

Inevitably, protesters and police will have a difference of opinion (so to speak). Hopefully, things stay as calm as they have so far (UPDATE: Hahahaaha…). However, If you do go down to protest or to observe, I would advise keeping a close eye on the level of anger among the crowd and the police, and keeping a safe distance from those individuals if tempers do start to flare.

UPDATE Saturday morning: some reports coming in of searches of tents at Allan Gardens, and warrants issued for protester’s actions at the Friday Allan Garden’s March, so things are going to start early over there.

If you’re in a building next to the protests, you may find yourself hemmed in by police while protests pass. If you need to leave your building, take a different (but appropriate) door or keep track of where the protest is and leave before it arrives. You will not be able to push your way past riot police and they will likely not be polite if you attempt to.

As always, you can also see the full Protest List here. See the G20 Mobilize’s own site here.

ALLAN GARDENS

Allan Gardens (Carlton + Gerrard/Sherbourne) is presently where man protesters from Friday’s protests have decided to pitch their tents. This will be a hub of activity all weekend unless the police decide to move them on– in which case it will be full of angry protesters.

SATURDAY’S LIST

Protest in bold lettering is the protest which, judging from use of language and stated intent, as well as giving itself a 3-star rating (of 3) on the G20 Mobilization site for level of “police interference”, is unfortunately most likely to turn violent.

This is everything publicly scheduled. On other days, there have been a few small surprise events throughout the day– such a press conferences following marches, but usually days have been fairly consistent with their announced events.

There is one major march made up of several groups scheduled to amass in Queen’s Park at 1pm. The Toronto Star has a good article on this protest.

  • June 26 – G20 Mobilize – Allan Gardens (Carlton/Gerrard @ Sherbourne) 10:30am – Press conference.

http://g20.torontomobilize.org/node/339

  • June 26 – G20 Mobilize – Film Studios Detention Studio 629 Eastern Ave. (Eastern/Pape) 12pm – Jail solidarity for those protesters arrested on Friday night.
  • June 26 – G-420 (Toronto Cannibis Community) – Yonge-Dundas Square (Yonge/Dundas) 12pm – Legalize Marijuana. Intends to march from Yonge-Dundas square north on Yonge and then across to Queen’s Park by 2pm.

http://whyprohibition.ca/blogs/jacob-hunter/g-420-protest-parade-saturday-june-26-starting-dundas-square

  • June 26 – Canadian Peace Alliance – US Consulate 360 University (University/Queen University/Armory) 12:30pm – Rally against anything militaristic, but focusing on Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. NOTE: On Friday, police seemed unhappy to let protesters pass the US Consulate. This may impact the gathering point of this protest.

http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/

  • June 26 – “People First Demonstration” – Queen’s Park John A. Macdonald Statue (South end) 1:00pm – Women’s Rights – Intends to march south on University, west along Queens St. W, north on Spadina and then back along College to Queen’s Park. Again, police may interfere with this planned route.

http://ofl.ca/uploads/misc/CLC_OFL-G20_Protest_Route-2010.06_.16_.pdf

  • June 26 – “Get Off The Fence” – Queen’s Park 1:00pm – Intends to march south with the People First Demonstration, but then continue towards the security fence. Intends to be militant, so expect battles. From the description of the protest:

“When the People First march turns back, we invite you all to continue on with us to confront the self-proclaimed G20 leaders and the security apparatus that will have occupied our city. We will take back our city from these exploitative profiteers, and in the streets we will be uncontrollable! This is a militant march where many forms of resistance and tactics are welcomed and respected.”

http://www.g20.torontomobilize.org/getoffthefence

  • June 26 – Labour Unions/NGOs – No place for rally start announced, but times say 1pm-5pm. Expect this will be connected with the above two marches (also starting at 1).

http://www.g20.torontomobilize.org/node/25

  • June 26 – Saturday Night Fever Party – No place yet, time “Late Until Dawn” – Street Party. Given the pitching of tents at Allan Gardens (between Carlton + Gerrard at Sherbourne) it seems likely that at least some of this partying will occur there. Queen’s Park may also be a favourite. This event also receives a three-star rating of “police interference” on the G20 Mobilize site but is hopefully going to be focused more on the positive.

http://fever2010.wordpress.com/

  • Saturday Night Fever Party has become a Jail Solidarity Dance Party starting at 12am at the Detention Centre on Eastern Ave. (at Pape). Hopefully this is peaceful.
  • June 26-27 – Regenesis – 1555 Dupont St. (Dupont between Landsdowne and Dundas) 5:30pm – Sleepover + breakfast.

And that’s everything. Let’s hope that everything goes calmly and smoothly and that Toronto– and its people– stay in one, relatively happy, piece.

–Torontoite

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Tracking Protest March Friday

This is a post that tracked this Friday’s large protest, sometimes called the Allan Gardens protest.

PROTEST AS IT HAPPENED

The goal of the protest appears to be set up a “tent city”. Where this will be, or what their route will be, isn’t known.

2:30 – 2000-3000 people gather at Allan Gardens for Justice for Communities march. Police searching protesters and journalists alike. Protesters who refuse to be searched are refused entry to the park.

G20Mobilize on Twitter:

people being threatened, searched and their banner poles confiscated, all happening right now at Allan Gardens community march #g20report

Not sure how police will prevent them from joining the protest later. ADDED LATER: Probably because police are pretty good at completely the march.

NowToronto on Twitter:

Allan gardens protest in holding pattern before speeches and march. Faint smell of vinegar wafts past. #g20

Note: Vinegar is due to the fact that some protesters have soaked face cloths/bandanas in vinegar to absorb tear gas.

4:10 – Protesters leaving Allan Gardens, likely heading west along Carlton towards Yonge.

4:30Photograph birds-eye view of protesters on Carlton.

4:45 – Protest has halted at Yonge and College/Carlton. Some police have put partial riot gear on– not clear if that’s in response to any threat.

4:50 – Protest continues west on College.

5:00 – Protest still at College/Yonge. Some skirmishes between protesters and police reported. Protesters banging on Winners’ windows.

Photograph from Torontoist of riot police in alleyway.

5:10 – Not good. Skirmishes continue, protest has stalled. Police putting on gas masks.

5:15 – Protest moving again, slowly, heading west on College. Possibly some Pro-Po disagreement over which direction protest would take.

CraigKielburger on Twitter:

#G20 protestor with camera in yelling match with protesters who think he’s undercover policeman. http://ow.ly/i/2fOG

5:30 – Protest, more peaceful but still inundated by cops, heading south on University.

6:00 – Protesters diverted west onto Elm from Unversity.

Photograph from Craig Kielburger’s twitter of line of police diverting protest at Elm.

6:15 – Halted there on Elm by police possibly due to (unrelated) gas leak at Elm/Murray. Meanhwhile, fence gates are closed further south.

680News Toronto on Twitter:

Major gas leak downtown, report says Toronto fire and a hazmat team are reportedly headed for Elm Street and Murray Street.

6:30 – Protesters heading back up University towards College.

6:45 – Protesters peacefully heading east along College past Yonge.

7:00 – Protesters turn off Carlton onto Church, and then turn east at Gerrard towards Allan Gardens.

7:15 – Protesters arrive back at Allan Gardens. Going to set up a tent city there for the night and have a party. Not sure how the residents will feel about that– hopefully protesters are tired and will sleep.

NowToronto on Twitter:

Protest heads home to Allan Gardens. Tent city planned there tonight. One organizer talks about the big night ahead. #G20

kellyowarrior on Twitter:

#g20 march wraps at Allan Garden’s – People’s Park will be the Tent City and block party – join us – Gerrard & Sherbourne

Kelly O’s Photograph of protesters in Allan Gardens.

7:45 – Protesters plan Press Conference in Allan Gardens.

MEDIA LINKS

CBC – G20’s First Major Protest Clogs Streets

Toronto Star’s Friday 25th Blog has (at the moment) minute-by-minute description.

CTV – Police Close Security Fence, Protest Winds Down – This article suggests radical groups may have broken off to head south more easily. No sign of that, yet.

Toronto Police’s Photographs – Toronto Police Service’s photographs of the march from the beginning to the end.

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Police-People-Protester Relationships

If you’ve been out and about on the quiet, but not deserted, streets of Toronto you’ll have seen little teams of police out and about, looking like the cast of Flashpoint waiting to shoot a scene.

There’s a lot of talk about the localized special powers given to police during the G20, the sound cannons, various detentions and arrests. There’s been a lot of big statements bandied about like Police State and Nazi Ghetto. Here’s a record and some information about some of these things.

Sound Cannon

The sound cannon, officially called the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), is a controversial technology capable of emitting very loud, high pitched sounds as well as transmitting pre-recorded and real-time voice messages. This was used in Pittsburgh to control protesters and caused some trouble because if used for longer than a few seconds, the sound can damage eardrums. Civil Liberties groups attempted to get an injunction against the use of the sound cannons here in Toronto. The Judge ruled on Friday morning that sound cannons can be used but under limited rules. The Toronto Police say they will mostly use them for communication and will only BEEEEP at people for 2-3 seconds.

HOWEVER: CityTV has the opposite headline: “Injunction Granted: Judge Sides with Protesters on Sound Cannon Ruling.” They are reporting the same news. Because the judge did limit the use, some news sources are reporting it one way, some the other. Crazy.

Police State

manwhoalmostwas – Congratulations, downtown Toronto is now officially a Nazi-style Ghetto! #G20

This tweet, spotted Friday around 12:30pm, is the epitome of one view of the security in downtown Toronto. It is true that the Public Works Protection Act does give the police increased powers within five metres of the fence (and within it). It is true that there are fences. However, beyond that fence Torontonians’ rights remain very similar to what they were last weekend. Aside from a small patch of downtown, we are free to move relatively unmolested (Update: with some exceptions: see below).

Keep this in mind.

“Illegal Searches”

On Friday, at Allan Gardens while protesters gathered, reports were that police were searching journalists and protesters alike– if people refused they were turned away. A lot of tweeters were calling these searches illegal, but are they?

The answer lies in the basis of Canadian law. Canada has a common law system, whereby law is developed by the decisions of judges and guided by reference to precedent. The upshot of this is that legality/illegality is more of a grey area than it is in a country like, say, the US.

When calling searches “illegal”, people often refer to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 8, for example, states:

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

However, this is undercut by the word “unreasonable”. Nowhere in written Canadian law does it state what is “unreasonable”. In addition, we have Section 1, which goes like this:

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

These “reasonable limits” are decided upon by a judge. That is to say that until you go to court and a judge bangs the gavel and tells you that the search you were subjected to was unreasonable and unjustified, only then will we (and, even, the police) know whether these searches were legal or illegal.

London and Pittsburgh

Toronto’s not used to being heavily policed. We’re a safe city, as cities of this size go, probably one of the safest. The G20 is arguably one of the most heavily policed events– and one of the most potentially explosive (perhaps literally)– in the civilized, western world. I just wanted to put some links in to remind people of the Pittsburgh and London experiences.

These are Saturday and Sunday experiences, so (on Friday) we’re not there yet. But should be interesting.

Pittsburgh, Sept. 24th – Democracy and its Discontents

Pittsburgh – Wikipedia Article

London, April 3rd – Baton charges and kettling

London – Death of Ian Tomlinson

Police Friendliness

I’m seeing a lot of comments from people about how friendly the police are. I saw two police on horseback waving to a little girl. Nobody can accuse the ISU of being gruff for no reason. At the same time, we’re also getting isolated reports of snarky comments from police towards both protesters and bystanders.

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Traffic + Transport Friday

Good morning, Torontonians! It’s a beautiful day outside. Not too hot yet, and beautiful blue skies.

Here’s your traffic and transport rundown for Friday. Don’t forget you can check the Friday Protest Update for information about protests.

Traffic-wise, we’re going to be seeing lots of major artery closures of roads today (due to motorcades– see below), but downtown the first march starts at 2:30 at Allan Gardens (Carlton/Sherbourne) so I think we’re safe until around then.

  • Motorcades are upon us. This is going to mean 427, 401, QEW, Gardiner and Don Valley Pkwy will be periodically closed. Generally speaking, all the roads from the airport to downtown are subject to closures.
  • Pearson Airport, of course, is going to be completely nuts. Expect flight delays, road delays, terminal delays and any other kind of delay you can think of and get there early.
  • Protests centre on Allan Gardens (Carlton/Sherbourne) today and will probably take in the major roads in the downtown core, we’re talking Yonge, Bay, University, Queen, Spadina, College etc. People are gathering at 2:30 which means they might move out 3o mins. later onto these roads. Yesterday’s protest numbered in the thousands so expect full road closures, esp. on smaller roads like Yonge.
  • The TTC is half empty! This is great news for commuters, who could finally get a seat on a Friday morning. However, it is not 100% reliable: an abandoned suitcase or purse can close a station or a chunk of track. Protests on College and Queen will back up streetcars. There are also route diversions affecting Bay, Pape, Yonge and Kingston Road. Spadina and Harbourfront routes are normal except for no stop at Queen’s Quay.
  • GO Transit is up and running today and over the weekend. However, Union Station entrance access is limited to the Bay Street entrance (and York Street heading south). If you usually travel through Union on the GO Train you will need to disembark at Union and get on a new train to continue.
  • Via Trains are running, but they are not going to Union. If your ticket takes you to Union, you will be able to get off your Via train and catch a continuing Go Train at Oakville, Oshawa, Brampton and Oriole to get there.

TTC and walking is a good bet for getting around the downtown core, although people seem happy with the quiet roads. However, remember, if you’re going near the fence and the secure zone there are special police powers down there just outside the fence. You will likely be stopped and asked for ID like these young men. Familiarize yourself with this modified law!

That’s all for now. More throughout the day! Enjoy your quiet, police-filled city, Toronto.

— Torontoite

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Protest List Friday

And here it is! Friday marks the beginning of serious protests to take over Toronto’s streets, although Saturday and Sunday bear the brunt. Leaders and delegates will continue to arrive and roads may experience delays. Car drivers have so far been amazed at how quiet the Toronto streets are but the reality is that it’s clear until it’s blocked completely. Know your side streets, stay out of the Traffic Zone and you’ll be fine.

If you are a protester or an onlooker, please familiarize yourself with special police powers afforded by the Public Works Protection Act which applies with five metres of the fence as well as within it. Carry ID and know what is expected of you to avoid arrest.

  • June 25 – AW@L – Allan Gardens (Carlton/Sherbourne east of Yonge) at 12:30pm and 2:30 –Feminism/Justice for Communities respectively – March, likely to be blocked streets, sit-in-type activities (2:30+ especially). As with other marches, there is no published route for this march but Yonge, Bay, College, University (US Embassy), Front Street, Queen and Spadina have all been used. The G20 Mobilize Schedule marks this event off as being 2 stars of interest (of three) to the police, which I think translates as being confrontational.

http://www.g20.torontomobilize.org/node/309 (12:30)

http://www.g20.torontomobilize.org/june25 (2:30)

  • June 25 – Council of Canadians – Massey Hall (Yonge/Queen) 6pm – Forum with various speakers (at Massey until let out at 9pm)

http://www.canadians.org/g20/event.html

As with the last three days, I will be updating and adding to this list throughout the day as marches begin to move and more events are added to/announced by the organizers.

And please, guys, don’t carry chainsaws, lasers, rocks, long wooden poles or anything that could be construed as a weapon if you wish to avoid police interest. If things get iffy, even if you do not plan to use your stick as a weapon, somebody else may decide they will. This is the reality of how the police have to think this weekend.

It’s not what your intent is, it is what you look like.

Good Luck, Toronto! Looks like a sunny, clear day tomorrow.

— Torontoite

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Know Your Public Works Protection Act, Citizens!

I know that lots of curious Torontonians are going to be heading downtown to check out the protests and the giant fence and the thousands of police officers– or to protest themselves. If you plan to head down that way, you should know about the Public Works Protection Act.

This act quietly came into power on June 21st via the Ontario Cabinet– it is a regulation so did not require the Ontario Legislature to read it. It was only ‘discovered’ when Dave Vasey was arrested under it for not producing ID (following the laws that apply everywhere else in the city.)

The Public Works Protection Act gives police special powers in the Yellow Zone and within the immediate vicinity (5m) of the Yellow Zone. This is the area just outside of the fence and inside the fence and is described in offical legalese detail here in the act itself. On this map, the Yellow Zone is helpfully outlined in yellow— it’s the fence. But you are inside this area if you are outside but within 5m of the fence. Clear?

Within this area, special police powers apply, defined here. I quote:

A guard or peace officer,(a) may require any person entering or attempting to enter any public work or any approach thereto to furnish his or her name and address, to identify himself or herself and to state the purpose for which he or she desires to enter the public work, in writing or otherwise;

(b) may search, without warrant, any person entering or attempting to enter a public work or a vehicle in the charge or under the control of any such person or which has recently been or is suspected of having been in the charge or under the control of any such person or in which any such person is a passenger; and

(c) may refuse permission to any person to enter a public work and use such force as is necessary to prevent any such person from so entering. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.55, s. 3.

In normal-people language: You can be asked to show ID and to state your reasons for being there, you (and your car) can be searched and you can be refused entry.

If you refuse:

5.(1)Every person who neglects or refuses to comply with a request or direction made under this Act by a guard or peace officer, and every person found upon a public work or any approach thereto without lawful authority, the proof whereof lies on him or her, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $500 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two months, or to both.Arrest

(2)A guard or peace officer may arrest, without warrant, any person who neglects or refuses to comply with a request or direction of a guard or peace officer, or who is found upon or attempting to enter a public work without lawful authority. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.55, s. 5.

They can arrest you!

The police (referred to as guards) have rules too, so you might want to know what those are as well.

All in all, if you’re in this zone and if you’re acting suspiciously (remember it’s how you look, not what your intentions actually are) you’re liable to be questioned and searched. I think that compliance is probably in your best interest.

The city returns to normal, barring, I guess, mass chaos, soon:

2.  This Regulation is revoked on June 28, 2010.

So fear not!

Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s article/comment.

— Torontoite

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Police Investigations

There are presently police investigations and road closures/TTC stoppages on Bathurst, Dundas (suspicious package), Danforth between Balford and Walden, and on The Esplanade— now clearing. (Updated 3:20pm)

Bathurst is now clear (2:30pm).

The 53-year-old guy arrested on The Esplanade was near the Novotel that’s the location of a strike/protest action today. His vehicle contained a bizarre array of weapons including batteries, gas tanks, a chainsaw, axe handles, a crossbow, sledgehammer, arrows and a coke bottle (tooth decay– can be deadly). Global Toronto has live coverage photographs and updates.

Meanwhile, the indigenous rights protest is, as of 3:00pm, at Gerrard and Jarvis.

G20 leader cars are coming down St. George/Beverly.

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