Sexual Assault and Human Rights Violations at the G20

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This past weekend was a disaster. Numerous reports from many different sources (both mainstream and alternative media) suggest the following:

  • Violent protesters were allowed to protest violently, destroying police cars and setting them on fire, and vandalizing storefronts. Many believe that this violence was allowed to go on to justify the massive G20 security expenditures.
  • Peaceful protesters were surrounded and intimidated, were told that they were not allowed their Charter right to peaceful assembly, and numerous non-violent protesters and journalists were beaten by police with no provocation. Smoke bombs and rubber bullets were fired directly into crowds.
  • Both protesters and bystanders were detained for no reason, and forced into inhumane conditions with little food or water.
  • Women were ordered to strip in front of male police officers and at least one woman was physically, sexually assaulted by an officer. These women were either intimidated into giving up their rights to privacy, or did not know that they had them.
  • Photographers had their cameras seized and then “lost.”
  • A person who asked to be released from detention after his 24th hour was told that “sometimes your rights just don’t apply here.” The same person was segregated from the rest of the group because he was gay.
  • The Miami model was definitely fulfilled.

Some of this may have resulted from confusion about emergency bylaws put in place in secret a few days before the G20:

G&M, CP24: Civil libertarians were fuming after hearing Friday that the Ontario cabinet gave police the power to stop and search anyone coming within five metres of the G20 fences in Toronto for a one week period.

However, the Ministry of Community Safety says all the cabinet did was update the law that governs entry to such things as court houses to include specific areas inside the G20 fences — not outside.

When asked today if there actually was a five-metre rule given the ministry’s clarification, Blair smiled and said, “No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out.”

This is deeply, deeply saddening. I sincerely hope that the people responsible for this lie, and the violence that ensued this weekend, are held accountable. I am writing a letter to Bill Blair and to the mayor’s office, and if you feel strongly about this as well, I encourage you to do the same.

UPDATE: A Sun article reports that cops were ordered not to interfere with violence.

Here are a few videos of note:

Amy Miller on the sexual assault of detainees:

Steve Paikin on attacks on protesters and the beating of a journalist:

A ten-minute video with shocking evidence of violent police tactics:

Joe Wenkoff on the permissiveness of police to violence:

Police rush a crowd singing the national anthem:

Police fire smoke bombs into a crowd:

I’d like to end with some commentary by Laura K:

…Vandals broke windows and burned a car. The police fired rubber bullets into humans. The police hit human beings with bicycles, batons and fists. The police trapped and held human beings for hours without shelter, food or water. The police threatened human beings with rape. The police stripped-searched (and worse) human beings.

Even given our society’s obsession with property rights, most people agree that human beings are more important than property. Supposed Black Bloc protesters destroyed property. The police assaulted human beings.

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  • Charles in Vancouver

    Could Steve Paikin perhaps be drafted for another journalism award? Governor-General? Prime Minister? Maybe if more of our authority figures had such candour and genuine concern for Canadians, this sort of fiasco would not come to pass.