Amnesty International is also demanding a full public inquiry:
Some 900 people were detained between June 25 and 28, 2010 in Toronto. While some were connected to acts of violence and vandalism - acts which Amnesty International clearly condemns - many were engaging in peaceful protest or simply caught up in police actions while going about their daily business. Among those targeted were journalists and others attempting to document the protests and the police response. This scale of arrests in connection with protests is unprecedented in Canada.
"Among those targeted were journalists ... " In a free society journalism is required to record history as it unfolds. They should not be targeted in an attempt to silence.
"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jefferson1.3 billion dollars for security, while those breaking the law were intentionally ignored, those trying to chronicle the historic events were arrested and beaten. Equipment was broken and voices were silenced.
According to attorney Peter Rosenthal:
There was a lot of talk about whether people were being kept five metres from the fence, but in the demonstration on Saturday, people were kept 300 metres away. That was part of the frustration. People want to demonstrate against what they’re demonstrating against.There was a great oped piece in the National Post by radio talk show host, John Moore:
Some people say the police were damned-if-they-did and damned if they didn’t. - I don’t think that’s fair. The police should be damned if they did wrong things, and damned if they don’t do their duty. People ask, why didn’t they put out those fires? Did they want them there for the cameras? Was there a danger of those cars exploding? They didn’t deal with that. On the other hand, they came down very hard on peaceful protesters and bystanders.
In the last week, I have been called a stooge, a jerk, a bastard and a liberal patsy. I've been urged to grow up, man up, drop dead and f---k off. All because I entertain this eccentric notion that the Charter of Rights didn't come with a codicil reading "some rights may be withheld without notice." Civil libertarians are funny that way. We don't believe that rights can be compromised. It's sort of like your home insurance policy being automatically void in the event of a fire.
.... Dozens of people have already come forward with accounts of being arrested without cause. Scores of amateur videos on YouTube show ordinary citizens being pinned down, cuffed and dragged off to an improvised detention centre where many were denied lawyers or phone calls.
Law and order types have been bellicose in their defence of these tactics. Those who support compromises on Charter rights always do so because they don't think it will affect them. For obvious reasons non-blacks have no issue with racial profiling. But the criminal justice system is designed with two critical pillars in mind: all are equal and some are innocent.
Those who have made a fuss about all this, including myself and TVO personality Steve Paikin, have been dismissed for obsessing over pointy headed ideas. My personal heroes have always been men and women preoccupied with pointy headed ideas. People like Sir Thomas More, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Romero and Clifford Lincoln.
Lincoln was a much admired provincial Cabinet minister in Quebec in 1989. Confronted with yet another law restricting the use of English he resigned with the words "rights are rights are rights." True I don't live in North Korea or Iran. But just because there are worse violators of civil rights on the planet is no argument against sweating the small stuff. That's how it starts.