Right groups question G20 tactics of Canada police

After a rare weekend of violence, Toronto licked its wounds, with rights groups questioning police tactics in securing the G20 summit.

Right groups question G20 tactics of Canada police

 

After a rare weekend of violence, Toronto licked its wounds on Monday, with rights groups questioning police tactics in securing the G20 summit and the mayor blasting the decision to hold the summit in the city's core.

Toronto police were still processing some of the more than 900 people they arrested over the weekend.

The count may not include people detained, and then released elsewhere in the city without charges. The number could also rise as police tally figures from a large number of arrests made late on Sunday during a five-hour standoff with protesters.

Critics such as Amnesty International and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are taking issue with those arrests especially.

Amnesty called for a review of the security measures put in place for the G20 summit, and for the associated G8 summit, which took place a day earlier in the summer resort town of Huntsville, about two hours' drive north of Toronto.

In a front-page editorial, the Toronto Star, Canada's biggest circulation daily newspaper, called the summit security plan, and the reaction to it, "a brutal spectacle that failed a city and its people".

"They took our city to hold a meeting and bullied us out of the core, damaging the commerce of thousands of merchants and inconveniencing the entire population. Then, they failed to protect our property," the Star said.

Canada budgeted C$1 billion ($970 million) for security. It brought in hundreds of police from outside the city and erected a 10-foot (3-metre) steel fence around a large section of the city core to protect Group of 20 leaders such as U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron as they met just metres away from, but out of sight of the protests.

Storefronts smashes

Masked "black bloc" protesters separated themselves from a larger peaceful march on Saturday, smashing storefronts and setting a number of police cars alight. Police stood back, allowing the damage to happen while they protected the G20 fence.

Additional but smaller protests on Sunday met a stiffer response from police, who cordoned off large groups, and arrested people by the dozen.

Police fired tear gas on protesters on both days.

Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, condemned the practice of mass arrests.

"This is denounced internationally. It's against the Constitution," she told CBC television.

Toronto Mayor David Miller defended the police response, noting the exceptional circumstances. But he criticized the federal government's decision to hold the G20 in downtown Toronto, rather than at a more easily secured location, such as the self-contained Exhibition Place site just west of the city core.

"Whether that would have prevented people who simply wanted to come to commit violence acts I think is debatable, but it certainly would have significantly lessened the impact on downtown Toronto," he said in a televised news conference.

He said he would ask the federal government to provide compensation for businesses that sustained damages.

Police spokeswoman Michelle Murphy told Reuters more than 900 people had been arrested, and some 120 were still being processed at the police's temporary detention center.

She had no breakdown of how many people were facing formal charges, and how many had been released without charge.

Those detained included a number of reporters and photographers, including two freelance reporters working for Reuters. Both were later released without charge.

($1=$1.03 Canadian)

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Haziran 2010, 21:53
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