Students call for an independent review of security measures

Representatives for 150,000 Toronto University students unite in calling for an independent review of G20 police brutality & affront on civil liberties

TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - Today students are joining the call for an independent review of G20 security in response to this weekend's security presence that resulted in intimidation, brutality, and mass arrests by police. The tactics of the police are unprecedented and undermine basic human rights and freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that allow people to assemble, demonstrate peacefully and express their views.

Students' union executives expressed concern with the police brutality inflicted on the city and residents, noting that there is a clear difference between civil disobedience and violent destruction of property. On Sunday June 27, when representatives from students' unions went to the detention centre to express solidarity in response to the mass blanket arrests and police intimidation, by holding a peaceful public demonstration they were attacked, and witnessed firsthand police use brutal force including rubber bullets and smoke bombs. Students have a proud history of activism in the streets of Toronto to voice their dissent on a variety of issues, and we should not have to live in fear of being attacked or facing violent reprisal by the police for simple standing up for justice.

This weekend the safety of world leaders trumped the right to peacefully demonstrate many city blocks away and as student representatives we reject this kind of interaction and system that has trumped the rights of the people.

Equally concerning is the action of McGuinty and the Liberal government that with unilateral approval implemented a new law that stripped the rights of Torontonians of fundamental freedoms to be in the vicinity of the security fence. This law went into full force and gave the police a mandate to over-react and trample our democratic rights.

With more than one billion dollars now spent on security, hundreds of people sitting in a detention centre, and many questions left unanswered, students are joining Amnesty International's call for an independent review of security measures.

We call on the Canadian government and the government of the province of Ontario to cooperate in launching an independent review of the security measures that were put in place for the G8 and G20 Summits. The review should include opportunities for public input and the results should be released to the public. Among other issues, the review must consider the following:

    
    -   The impact of security measures, including the invasion on human and
        civil rights, including the freedoms of expression and assembly; and

    -   The ways in which police/security operations and the use of legal
        provisions such as the Public Works Protection Act have impacted the
        rights of the many thousands of people living, working and operating
        businesses within and near the G20 security zone; and

    -   The ways in which those individuals who were detained, arrested and
        or held in jail were denied basic fundamental freedoms and rights.
    

This is a joint statement issued by: Ryerson Students' Union, University of Toronto Students Union, York Federation of Students, York University Graduate Students' Association, Continuing Education Students Association at Ryerson, Glendon College Student Union, and the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students' Union, representing over 150,000 post-secondary students in the Greater Toronto Area.

SOURCE Ryerson Students' Union

For further information: For further information: Toby Whitfield, Ryerson Students' Union, 905.510.8628 or president@rsuonline.ca; Krisna Saravanamuttu, York Federation of Students, 647.448.0576 or president@yfs.ca; Adam Awad, University of Toronto Students' Union, 416-823-2672 or adam@utsu.ca

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Ryerson Students' Union

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University of Toronto Students' Union

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