Toronto police talk to media about Sunday night's G20 events

Posted Jun 27, 2010 by KJ Mullins
Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire spoke this evening to the media about Sunday night's events at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue, where pedestrians and protesters were detained by police.
What to expect on the streets of Toronto during the G20 summit  such as police in riot gear
What to expect on the streets of Toronto during the G20 summit, such as police in riot gear
On Sunday night people were boxed in as a tactical move by the Toronto police for breaching the peace. Other than those who were donning masks and arrested, all of those involved were released after waiting in the rain in plastic handcuffs after four hours.
McGuire admitted that there was a change of tactics on Sunday after Saturday's riots in the streets of Toronto. He spoke during a televised media conference at 10:45 p.m.
"Everything we did was for the safety of the law abiding citizens. I am not saying that we are perfect."
On Sunday evening when so many were held in the rain McGuire said that it was a split second decision after officers found evidence of the Black Bloc within the crowd. There were people in the crowd who were putting on masks, similar to what occurred on Saturday night. McGuire also said that weapons were found that had been discarded by some in the crowd.
"To prevent a breach of peace some of the members of the crowd were arrested."
As the crowd stood in the street awaiting processing a heavy downpour began, continuing for hours. The plastic-cuffed crowd quieted as the rain soaked them.
"The crowd has been released or are in the process of being released," McGuire said shortly after 10:30 p.m. "Our officers saw the potential of events escalating to what happened yesterday. The decision was made on the spur of the moment."
What looked to be dozens of people huddled in the rain, barely given food or water, waiting four hours for an explanation from police, who blocked off the people from exiting. CP24 reports some of the people caught in this "human box" weren't protesting today, but were returning from shopping or dinner or waiting for a streetcar.
Reporters were curious about tonight's event after so many acts of violence went without arrests during the riots of Saturday.
Over the course of 24 hours more than 500 people have been arrested in Toronto. Half of those have been released with the charge of breach of peace or no charges at all. Another large portion have been arrested for criminal acts.
McGuire said: "We hope the city will continue to support the Toronto Police. We couldn't have been successful without the public support. Everything we have done is in the best interest of the public. Our officers are working long hard hours- some for 16 to 18 hours straight. We continue to pursue the thugs."
Both today and yesterday there were media caught up in the arrests. McGuire said that the media had been warned for weeks that if they were in the middle of a confrontation they would be detained.
McGuire emphasized repeatedly that the police's mandate is to protect the public safety and to not allow anyone to get the the security zone fence.
"It was done. We were successful in not allowing anyone to the fence." As McGuire said this he again said that the police are not perfect.
The increased police presence will be seen in Toronto until Toronto gets back on its feet. The police will not be reducing the team, McGuire said, until the city is safe.