My name is Karen. I have been to a lot of demonstrations over the years, starting when Mike Harris came to power and attacked me and my children because we were on welfare at the time. Having a government make you an official scapegoat has a politicizing effect. I’ve marched and carried signs and sung many times – and until the weeks leading up to the G20, I’ve never been afraid to go to a public demonstration. It had never occurred to me to be afraid of the cops at a protest. But now all that has changed. What I read in the papers in the weeks before the summit made me realize that Harper was staging his Rich-People’s-Summit in Toronto so he could turn the cops loose on unionized workers and other left wing types, like me. When the cost reached a billion dollars and the number of cops coming here reached 19.000–that’s the equivalent of at least 3 Roman legions by the way–I knew we were going to be used as lab rats in a right wing science experiment. I knew what was coming and I didn’t go to the protest. I’m a middle aged lady now. I have some fairly serious health issues, and I knew that if I got beaten up and put in a cage I could get really, really sick. And I couldn’t do that. My kids still need me. So I was afraid. I was afraid to use my right to freedom of assembly. Freedom of assembly is the oldest democratic right of all. Without the right to assemble freely, all our other rights mean nothing. It’s a right my father fought for in World War II. And that’s why I am writing now. Because what Stephen Harper and his fascists did at the G20 was an insult to the memory of my father. If Harper gets away with this, if he gets away with spending a BILLION DOLLARS to pay the police to come to this wonderful city and illegally assault, arrest, detain and abuse over a 1000 of our citizens–what did my Dad fight for? This Remembrance Day, we need to keep faith with those who fought for our precious freedom by demanding a public inquiry into the criminal acts committed by police at the G20. Yours truly, Karen.
- Joshua – “We cupped our hands as if offering water and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Shuffling sideways on the crowded street corner I looked again into the next officer’s eyes: ‘Peace be with you.’ ‘Peace be with you.’ ‘Peace be with you.’ ‘Peace be’ – Quick. Cold. Rough. Two police seized me by the arms and pulled me off.”
- Karen – “I’ve never been afraid to go to a public demonstration…But now all that has changed.”
- “I did not see either officer wearing a badge”
Jean-Nicolas – “Un policier avec une bicyclette se plaça juste devant moi, me cria ‘Get back!’ et m’asséna un violent coup de guidon dans le ventre!…C’est alors que j’ai demandé au policier, très poliment : ‘Sir, may I have your name and your badge, please.’ Il a répondu en criant ‘Catch him!’…Le policier qui m’avait frappé avec sa bicyclette s’est alors penché devant moi, m’a regardé dans les yeux et m’a dit une phrase que je n’oublierai jamais : ‘Now, do you still want my name and my badge?'”
- Dylan – “It was never explained how sitting was a crime.”