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Wave of political repression hits Toronto - youth, women, journalists targeted

On the evenings of June 26 and 27 in and around downtown Toronto during the G20 global summit, thousands of riot police repeatedly assaulted demonstrators, journalists, and Toronto residents in non-riot situations.  Many journalists trying to document police actions were illegally arrested, assaulted, and had their equipment confiscated.  According to several eye-witness reports many journalists were charged and attacked by police.  Of the over 900 people detained and assaulted, twenty have testified in this ground breaking report.   

Among the journalists detained:

  • Guardian Journalist Jesse Rosenfeld was beaten and arrested by Toronto police at the G20.  To contact Jesse Rosenfeld, call: 647 218 7996;
  • Steve Paikin, an award winning and long standing Canadian journalist saw the beating of Jesse Rosenfeld and describes it here;
  • Two National Post photographers Brett Gundlock and Colin O'Connor were arrested and charged;
  • CTV News Channel producer Farzad Fatholahzadeh was detained;
  • Freelance journalist Jesse Rosenfeld was beaten and arrested by police;
  • Liem Vu, an intern with the National Post, and Lisan Jutras, a Globe and Mail journalist, were among those detained for four hours at Queen and Spadina;
  • Real News journalist Jesse Freeston was punched in the face by a police officer;
  • Torontoist journalist Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy was struck by a police officer with a baton;
  • Video journalist Brandon Jourdan was thrown to the ground and beaten by police.

See the full media release on the 9 reported journalists. 

An independent journalist Amy Miller was detained for 13 hours and threatened with gang rape. Says Miller:  “We saw a massive roundup motivated by an attempt to profile young people who are assumed to be political.  Any attempt to cover these detentions resulted in the press also being detained and often assaulted.  I saw many young women who were seriously traumatized who had been strip searched. Young women and some young men were subjected to cavity searches and other sexually abusive measures while detained. ”  Young people who would like to anonymously tell their stories about police brutality are encouraged to contact [email protected] as per Amy Miller’s request. To contact Amy Miller, call: 514 812-6817.

People involved in planning care for protesters prior to the G20 had been also watched by police for months leading up to the G20.  Says Charmeen Khan, spokesperson with the Toronto Community Organization Network, “for months before the G20, police visited homes or workplaces, surveilled organizers, and attended meetings undercover.  Several organizers of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network who were organizing childcare, food, and logistics for non-violent protesters were pre-emptively arrested.”  
To contact Charmeen from the TCMN, call 647 881-0440.

Police allowed vandals and looters to burn police cars and smash windows for 1.5 hours in downtown  Toronto –not arresting or stopping them—despite the $1 billion spent on security. 

Meanwhile, 25 000 or so protesters march non-violently and completely without incident, and were largely unreported in the press. Toronto CODEPINK, the local chapter of the International women's peace organization, was a partner organizer of the massive peace rally.

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