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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Let the protesters protest 

Based on the news footage I saw about the Friday G20 protest in Toronto, there were more police than protesters Friday.
That will not likely be the case Saturday afternoon.
Is there any possibility that wiser heads might prevail -- that police will back off, and quit taking a paranoid us-against-them approach, and just let the protesters march?
They want to file past that damned security fence, and make their point about international corporations, poverty, climate change, and global economic initiatives, and then go home.
Any chance they could just do this?
I think Canadians have finally reached their gag limit with the security overreactions.
Even Lloyd Robertson and Lisa LaFlamme looked uncomfortable when they were talking about the new secret Ontario law that basically criminalizes dissent and would have allowed wholesale arrests of G20 protesters at tomorrow's big rally. As Marcus Gee writes:
Canadians who are simply walking along the street are under no obligation to tell police their name or agree to be searched. “Papers, please,” are not words that people in this country need to fear.
Police -- who actually must be pretty bored, with thousands of them standing around day after day with virtually nothing to do -- are already abusing their shiney new law:
. . . once the erosion of rights starts, it’s hard to stop. On Friday, Toronto police were stopping and searching people entering Allan Gardens, a public park about three kilometres from the fenced off-zone where the G20 leaders are due to arrive Saturday.
“We just want to make sure you’re not carrying anything dangerous,” one officer told me, after asking for identification, as another flipped through my notebook.
The problem, it seems, is that anti-G20 protesters were having a (perfectly legal) rally in Allan Gardens prior to setting out on a march.
“Do you have anything here that might hurt me?” the officer said as his partner looked through my glasses case.
Some entering the park with banners or flags attached to poles had the poles seized. Some did not.
I get the uncomfortable feeling that they don't know what they're doing. And this doesn't bode well for Saturday.
Here's some photos of Friday's protests, all from 680 News Radio:







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