[G20 Toronto] Quebec City bus blocked by “new justice” and mass arrests
Michael Lessard..., Monday, June 28, 2010 - 11:55
(Reportage ind. / Ind. news report | Video | Droits / Rights / Derecho | G8-G20 | Repression | Resistance & Activism)
The people from Quebec City, just before they could leave on their bus, were collectively searched, identified and detained on the spot arbitrarily and threatened of mass arrest.
Having a black scarf or a legal defence number were deemed reasonable reasons for arrest.
Article-rapport of these events as an independent reporter.
Includes an update about the people from Quebec City.
The bus for the people from Quebec City was to leave at 16:00. Yet, Sunday at 15:35, the Toronto police led a raid on the Convergence Centre, where activists could meet and help each other, including for food, legal contacts and housing. The first on the corner of the street were three young men from Quebec City and a woman presumably from Toronto. Their bags were searched on the spot and one of them was arrested and transported to the G20 detention centre. It now has been confirmed that his bag contained a black bandanna (not a scarf) that he often wears. For this "reason" it was impossible for him to leave with the Quebec City bus. He was freed during the night.
Around 15:45, the police blocked the bus before its departure and proceeded to write down the identification of all the passengers and to search all their personal bags and the bus. About thirty people from Quebec City were detained there under the watchful eye of about 20 police officers, while investigators studied the bags.
The people from Quebec cooperated fully, without requesting a mandate due to the “new justice” (the new law). The police were overheard noting from these activists a friendly and cooperative attitude.
Spontaneous support protest
Hence, though with a smile and a spirit of camaraderie, the thirty people from Quebec, sitting outside on the ground, for two hours, were preparing mentally to be collectively transported to the detention centre.
According to the detective, though the police intended on massively arresting the passengers and ceasing the portable computer of the independent reporter (myself, of the Quebec-Indymedia), he intervened beforehand. The activists believe it was the rapid legal pressure, combined with the popular outrage on the street supporting the folks from Quebec, that convinced them not to stop the departure and needlessly detain them.
Our understanding of the usual legal principles in Canada, is that the police can legally search and arrest you if a clue or behavior indicates a probable illegal gesture. The police have often mentioned, these last few days, that having a visible phone number written on yourself (legal defense) is, in their view, a motive allowing you to be detained. In many cases, it was possible to convince officers not to apply this criteria. But having a black scarf or bandanna found in a bag or on yourself almost always led to an arrest. This criteria obviously refers to the “black block” image. Note that many citizens, of various ages and styles, wore scarves to protect themselves from potential gas. Families and elder were even seen wearing protective gear to protest Saturday.
Visibly, what is clear beyond a doubt, is that actions are not the criteria used to determine most detentions nor arrests.
Most recent update : we are happy to announce, based on the information we currently have, that all the people from Quebec City are back.
Addendum : the above update did not count the many dozens of activists from Quebec (Montreal and Quebec City) who were arrested Sunday morning.
Monday, June 28, 2010
An excellent report about this case, seen from the community who gathered to support the Quebec City folks :
July 10, 2010
Toronto's Parkdale community responds with condemnation to mass arrest inside its borders. Lawyer Riali Johanesson, detained while trying to provide counsel for the detained, takes us through that crazy Sunday.
Produced by Jesse Freeston
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