What happened a year ago?
From June 26 to 27 of last year, 20 of the most powerful heads of government
landed in the city of Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The meeting involved discussions on stimulus programs, the global banking system and financial reform.
Weeks before the summit, Toronto went under a huge transformation, such as fenced areas near the venue
, more than $1 billion in security costs
and even a $2 million fake lake
. All of this led to disdain among the general public
and political discourse
at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.
During the week of the G20 Summit, numerous community organizations, including the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, staged demonstrations
protesting against the governmental leaders’ economic, social and foreign agendas and world capitalism.
On the weekend of the G20, chaos engulfed the downtown core
of the city. Riots, looting and vandalism broke out
and secret laws were enforced
. Hundreds of civilians, activists and reporters were arrested
and many were detained in the temporary detention centre
at Eastern Avenue in the east end of the city.
There were reports
that some detainees had “to beg for water,”
were put into small cages with several other prisoners and some female detainees had to put up with sexual remarks from officers in the temporary prison.
For more information and in-depth coverage of last year’s chaos, click here
Hundreds look back
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Queen’s Park Ontario Legislature to mark the one-year anniversary of the G20 Summit protests. Many sported t-shirts that stated “I attended the G20 Summit and all I got was (boxes with the option to checkmark) arrested, kettled, clubbed and fill in the blank.”
There were dozens of signs demanding a public inquiry and criticizing all of the Canadian officials involved in the G20 Summit. “You were here to protect us, but who protects us from you?!” “The law serves and protects who?” “Canada not a police state” and “I am here to show I care” were only some of the signs.
Speakers from the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Canadian Federation of Students, Council of Canadians, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and other community groups demanded the resignation of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and also urged for a public inquiry.
G20 Summit detainee, John Pruyn, who had his one prosthetic leg torn off by police officers during his arrest, also insisted on a public inquiry. Pruyn never had his walking stick, his eyeglasses or $33 in cash returned to him. He was released after there was no paperwork for his imprisonment.
Rogue Parliamentary Page Brigette DePape made an appearance and delivered a speech where she harshly criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many of his policies on the environment, economy and foreign policy.
DePape was thanked by several of attendees. One lady gave her flowers and a big hug for her actions in the House of Commons earlier this month
where she held a stop sign that read “Stop Harper.” She also took photos with some of her fans with the Canadian flag.
Following the freedom festival, dozens broke off and marched towards the epicentre of last year’s teakettle incident at the intersection of Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue. The protestors shouted “our streets.” They later ended up in front of Toronto Police Headquarters on College Street where they chanted “drop the charges, charge the police.”
Will Blair resign? Following the Service’s After-Action Review that was released Thursday, the Toronto Police Chief said he isn’t going anywhere, despite the calls for his immediate resignation or termination.
“I know my job and I’m doing it,” said Blair, reports the Toronto Sun
. “We do a pretty good job, I think, of providing a safe environment and a respectful environment for the people of this city and I’m absolutely committed to continuing to do that. If there has been damage to that public trust, then we’ll work to restore it.”