TORONTO, July 10 /CNW/ - Student, labour and community organisations together representing millions of Canadians marched through Toronto today to demand an independent public inquiry into the suppression of civil liberties by security forces during the G20 Summit in Toronto. With a price-tag of nearly $2 billion, the security response led to the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.
"Students deeply believe in our freedoms of expression and assembly, as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The suppression of civil liberties during the G20 Summit was extreme and students add their voices to the chorus of voices demanding an independent public inquiry."
Security operations were carried out by the Integrated Security Unit, which was comprised of security forces from all three tiers of government. Since the Summit, questions have been raised about the chain of command and what role was played by both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in directing the security response.
"Tens of thousands of people demonstrated peacefully to demand action be taken by the world's most powerful leaders on climate change, global poverty, maternal health, Indigenous peoples' rights and the privatisation of education," said Osman. "Despite our rights to express ourselves and raise important concerns, many of us had our rights stripped away, and were subjected to police violence and arbitrary detention."
Solidarity rallies for an independent public inquiry were held in cities across Canada including Halifax, Kingston, Windsor and Montreal. Further rallies are planned on July 17 in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students studying at public post-secondary institutions across the province.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
For further information: For further information: Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative, Canadian Federation of Students, (647) 448-2823; Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser, 416-925-3825, or 416-707-0349