Independent review of G20 security measures urgently needed

Posted: July 1, 2010 in Make Change Today!
Independent review of G20 security measures urgently needed.
Independent review of G20 security measures urgently needed.

Opportunities lost: peaceful protest suffered amidst heavy security measures and acts of vandalism during the G20

“Five feet away from me… Jesse fell down face first. The same officer [who punched him in the gut] then came and elbowed him in the back. The officer who was escorting me… looked over to me and said ‘Jeez, that shouldn’t have happened, shouldn’t have done that’.” journalist Steve Paikin (TVO)

Governments bear a very important responsibility to ensure security in and around events such as the G20 Summit.  They have an equal responsibility to enable and protect the rights associated with peaceful protest, particularly freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

Some 900 people were detained between June 25 and 28, 2010 in Toronto. While some were connected to acts of violence and vandalism – acts which Amnesty International clearly condemns – many were engaging in peaceful protest or simply caught up in police actions while going about their daily business. Among those targeted were journalists and others attempting to document the protests and the police response. This scale of arrests in connection with protests is unprecedented in Canada.

The G8/G20 Summits were supposed to have been a chance to talk about putting human rights at the heart of global fight against poverty.  Instead, the voices of thousands were silenced or ignored and the headlines dominated by images of burning police cars and broken windows.

We urgently need an independent review of the security measures adopted and the range of police actions taken in association with the G20 Summit in Toronto.

While we welcome the forthcoming review to be undertaken by the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Summit Management After Action Review Team, this is not an adequate response to the concerns of Amnesty International and other organizations and individuals. The TPS review is not independent, nor does it enable public participation or cover the wider range of actors involved, including various levels of government.


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