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article image'People First' rally planned to be the largest G20 protest

By Stephanie Dearing     Jun 20, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - The Canadian Labour Congress is planning what it hopes will be the largest G20 protest ever, called 'People First.' Scheduled for June 26, organizers say it will be safe and peaceful.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is joining with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in planning the People First protest, the Canadian Labour Congress announced in a press release issued June 16. The focus for this G20 People First protest is economic recovery and unemployment. CLC President, Ken Georgetti said "Working people need to come out, speak up and tell their leaders that we refuse to get stuck with all the bills for a financial crisis and a recession that we did not cause. Reckless financial traders and greedy investment bankers caused it. People lost millions of jobs and billions in savings. Governments went deep into debt to provide help – and now they want us to pay with higher taxes and belt-tightening and let those bankers off the hook.
Those greedy CEOs need to take responsibility for the damage that was done and pay their fair share, starting with a tax on financial transactions. Governments need that revenue to continue helping the jobs market recover and to get back to work on vital issues like climate change, HIV-AIDS, and the crushing poverty we see in the world today."
One of several posters urging people to participate in demonstrations against the G20 meeting of wor...
One of several posters urging people to participate in demonstrations against the G20 meeting of world leaders in Toronto, Ontario in 2010.
G8/G20 Toronto Community Mobilization Network
Organizers said they wanted to ensure protesters would have a safe place to voice their concerns, and have planned on keeping the People First protest away from "hot spots," locations where run-ins with police would be more likely.
In another attempt to protect the safety of protesters, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Labour Congress are attempting to get an injunction against the police to prevent the use of the recently purchased sound cannons. CCLA's Nathalie Des Rosiers said "These weapons haven't been tested or approved for use in Ontario. Until then, we have no guarantee that police know how to use them properly and safely. These laws exist for our protection; they cannot be put aside simply because foreign dignitaries are coming to town."
In a separate news release, also issued on June 16, CCLA announced it had filed for an injunction against the use of sound cannons, also known as Long Range Accoustic Device (LRAD). CCLA said "... The LRAD – which can emit painfully loud sounds that can cause permanent hearing damage – is a novel weapon that has not been reviewed, tested or approved for use by the Solicitor General. The use of an unapproved weapon is illegal, and represents a serious threat to fundamental democratic rights and individuals’ health and safety." It is anticipated there will be a hearing for the injunction on June 23 in Ontario Superior Court, said the Globe & Mail.
The June 26th protest begins 1 pm on the south lawn of Queen's Park in Toronto, then proceeds "... south on University Avenue, turning west along Queen Street West, then north onto Spadina Avenue, and finally east onto College Street back to a main stage for more music and local entertainment."
Organizers said many people felt intimidated by the extreme security measures being enacted ahead of the Toronto G20 meeting. The Toronto Community Mobilization Network, which is coordinating protest logistics in Toronto reported that two activists in London Ontario were arrested for putting up posters for the G8/G20 protests Saturday. According to the London Free Press "... Darius Mirshahi, 25, and Andrew Cadotte, 19, were arrested while allegedly posting flyers encouraging people to participate in protests at this week's G20 summit in Toronto.
They were charged with seven counts of mischief and held overnight in London police cells while officers checked out their backgrounds and made sure they weren't a community threat."
Police said the pair were "promoting disruption."
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