I attended G20 Summit-related events on Saturday, June 26, 2010 and
Sunday, June 27, 2010. I am writing to describe my experiences and
observations regarding arbitrary and questionable policing and security
activities. Following my descriptions are questions that emerge from my
I have not written until now, since my experiences were minimal compared
to those who were kettled, arrested, detained, or injured. However, I
recall thinking during the Summit that this is what a police state must
look like, and I decided I must add my voice to that of others who are
speaking out against breaches of civil and constitutional rights so that
we can get a total picture of what transpired in the days before, during,
and after the Summit.
On Saturday, June 26th, I attended a rally at Queens Park. I am a
53-year old professional woman. I carried with me a copy of the
regulation that had been recently made under the Public Works Protection
Act, O.Reg 233/10, which apparently allowed the police to require
identification from anyone who approached a newly-established line on Blue
Jays Way/Front/Wellington/Bay, to search them without warrant, to refuse
them permission to enter, and to use such force as necessary to prevent
them from entering the area.
When the rally ended, I joined the march that went south on University and
west on Queen Street. There was a line of police at each of the
intersections on the south side of Queen. The police were dressed in what
I believe was riot gear, including helmets with plastic visors over their
faces and batons. At each intersection, I could see normal street
activity including pedestrians walking, in the area south of (i.e. behind)
the police line.
I stopped at the intersection of Queen and Duncan (I think it was Duncan,
although it could possibly have been Simcoe or John), and indicated to the
police that I wanted to go south. They would not let me. I showed them
the regulation and explained that the regulation had set up a line many
blocks to the south, not at Queen Street, and I wanted to know why I could
not go past their police line. I also pointed out that there were
pedestrians behind them. I was told I would be arrested if I tried to go
south. Finally, one officer who was standing just behind the line of
police stepped aggressively towards me, at the same time swinging his
baton from an upright position down to a horizontal position in my
direction, and yelled something like “Move on.” I jumped back. I asked
the officer who had threatened me to identify himself. He identified
himself as E. Cordeiro, #408.
I decided against trying to go south. I continued with the rest of the
marchers to Queen and Spadina, where a crowd of people had turned south
but were stopped by a line of police. On the west side of Spadina,
between Queen and Richmond, there is a laneway that runs west. There was
a line of police blocking the laneway. I showed them the regulation and
asked why I could not go past their police line. They said they were too
busy to talk with me. I walked west on Queen a few hundred feet, turned
south down a laneway, and then east on the first lane I came to. This
took me to the area behind the line of police I had approached on Spadina.
I could see nothing there that warranted their presence, but I decided it
would be unwise to approach the officers from behind to make any further
I decided to return to Queens Park for the closing rally. The streets
were still filled with people. As I walked east on Queen, my way was
blocked by a large crowd of people gathered in the middle of the street.
I asked a fellow what was happening and he said there was a group of
police surrounding a police car that was in the middle of the road with a
broken window. I had not seen police cars in the crowd of marchers as we
came down from Queens Park, and I am not aware of a police technique of
driving a car into a crowd of marchers when the perimeter is being guarded
by lines of riot police, so I was a bit surprised to hear there was a
police car there. I continued on towards Queens Park. It was probably
about 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Two or three hours later, I saw TV
news saying a police car had recently been set on fire near Queen and
Spadina. Apparently, the police had abandoned the car, rather than trying
to have it towed away, and left it for vandals to deal with.
In the early afternoon on Sunday, June 27, 2010 I rode my bicycle from my
home in the east end of Toronto to my sister’s home near the foot of
Bathurst. At Yonge Street, I turned south. At Wellington, I was stopped
by two police officers, a male and a female and told I could not go any
further south on Yonge Street. As I had done on Saturday, I showed the
officers the regulation and said it did not indicate there was any line
that extended over to Yonge Street (a block east of the line at Bay
Street). I asked what would happen if I tried to go south and was told I
would be arrested. I did not see either officer wearing a badge. I asked
the male police officer to identify himself. He refused. His female
partner identified herself as Graham, #10253.
As I returned home later that day, I passed the intersection of Adelaide
and Spadina, south of the area where police had apparently set up a line
to stop those gathered to the north from proceeding southwards. It was a
little before 6 p.m. – I believe the police had not yet begun “kettling”.
A few blocks east of Spadina, I turned south on my bicycle until I got to
Wellington. I kept well back from the centre of the road, as I did not
want to face arrest, but it soon became clear that the police behind the
fence/wall did not appear concerned about passers-by. If I understand
correctly, the Summit delegates had already departed.
Interestingly, I was allowed to get right up to the wall at that time. In
comparison, some time later, hundreds of people were penned in by the
police at a place nowhere near the wall.
1. Why was O.Reg 233/10 made and what was it supposed to accomplish?
2. Why was I threatened when I sought to walk south from Queen Street to an area where others were walking freely?
3. Why was my freedom of movement arbitrarily impeded by police in a laneway that was of no apparent strategic interest to them?
4. Why did the police drive a car into the middle of a march and then abandon it for a substantial period of time?
5. Why were officers not wearing their badges?
6. Why did some officers refuse to identify themselves when asked to do so?
7. Why were people “kettled” at Queen and Spadina when I and others were allowed to get close to the wall without any signs of concern?
8. When will we have a national inquiry into all of the circumstances surrounding the G20 Summit, including decisions regarding its location, security costs, overall security decisions, and implementation of security activities, whether by provincial or federal governments, or federal, provincial or municipal police bodies?