Police and Government Still Unaccountable to the Public: Civil Society Groups Rally for Independent Public Inquiry into G20

TORONTO, June 25, 2011 /CNW/ - One year after Toronto was turned into a police state for the G20 Summit and 20,000 riot police executed the largest mass arrest in Canadian peacetime history, justice has still not been delivered. To date, 93 per cent of those arrested have been cleared of all charges and many are left wondering why only two officers have faced charges for the numerous brutal and random assaults. As public support for the police response continues to collapse, a broad range of civil society groups are demanding a long overdue independent inquiry into who was calling the shots for the one billion dollar security operation.

"It has been a year since the G20 summit and we are still left searching for answers: Why were peaceful protesters violently detained? Why were police cars abandoned in the streets? Why were civil liberties suspended?" demanded Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). "The public deserves accountability from the police and from our elected leadership and we need assurances that it will never happen again. The federal government has a responsibility to conduct a full public inquiry."

Today's festive rally at Queen's Park demonstrated that Toronto's activist spirit has not been suppressed. Speakers and performers celebrated their fundamental freedoms and spoke out against the police use of excessive force in an area that, last year, had been approved by the police as a "designated protest zone" hours before they stormed peaceful protesters.

"Last year, trade unionists, students, environmentalists and community members from all walks of life protested the illegitimate G20 and Prime Minister Harper's agenda of promoting deep cuts to social programs, privatization, environmental degradation and limitations on women's reproductive rights," said Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "Today we realize that Harper's hidden agenda involved suspending civil liberties, removing workers' right to strike, and eliminating the democratic tools for opposing harmful public policies."

"We have both the capacity to stop Harper's attack on the public good, and an obligation to. Though he may try to intimidate us, we will not let him take away our rights," said Brigette DePape, the parliamentary page who held up a "Stop Harper" sign during the Throne Speech. "Last year's G20 mobilization and the mounting resistance against Harper show us where true power lies - in the hands of the people when they are committed and fearless."

G20:REDUX was organized by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, Now Magazine, Rabble.ca and many endorsing organizations. The family-friendly event featured passionate speeches and musical performances to mark the one-year anniversary of the Toronto G20 and to renew the call for an independent public inquiry into G20 security.

SOURCE G20 Redux

For further information:

(French language contacts available):
Penelope Chester, CCLA: 647-822-8764 or pchester@ccla.org
Joel Duff, OFL: 416-707-0349 or jduff@ofl.ca
Dave Molenhuis, CFS: 613-218-3382 or d.molenhuis@cfs-fcee.ca
Mark Calzavara, Council of Canadians: 416-979-5554 or mcalzavara@canadians.org

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