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June in Review, Part II

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Issue: 69 Section: Month in Review

July 3, 2010

June in Review, Part II

G8/G20 was confronted, Toronto police lied, millions in Europe strike, and US oil rigs nationalized

by Dominion Staff

A protester holds a sign at Queen and Spadina on Sunday. Police detained hundreds of peaceful protesters and passersby for hours at the corner in the pouring rain. After announcing they would arrest the entire group, police changed their minds an hour later. Photo: Christian Peña

The People's Summit, featuring over 100 workshops on everything from "Economics of the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement" to "Activism in the Attawapiskat Nation," was held in Toronto from June 18-20. The open summit offered an alternative to the G8 and G20 meetings and cost the equivalent of six seconds of the G8/20 Summits, which were billed "the most expensive 72 hours in Canadian history."

Community groups and grassroots organizations, via the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, organized themed days of resistance in the buildup to the G8/G20 convergence. Thousands of people attended films, speeches and marches, rallying around environmental justice, anti-poverty, disAbility rights, queer rights, migrant justice and Indigenous sovereignty. Organizers consistently drew links between different types of oppression and how the G8/G20 represents "the rich and the few."

Students declared the University of Toronto a "bunker for global capitalism" after the university closed key campus services and evicted students leading up to and during the G20 Summit, but permitted to remain open the Munk School of Global Affairs, established through a $35 million donation from Peter Munk, founder and chairman of Barrick Gold.

Overnight between June 26 and 27, several organizers were detained or arrested before any actions took place. "I’m extremely angry, I’m extremely disgusted that this is what our money, our tax dollars, are going to do to put armed thugs on the streets of every intersection of Toronto to target community organizers, the people who are out on the streets to talk about poverty, to talk about racism, to talk about homelessness," said organizer Farrah Miranda who was thrown into an unmarked car and driven around the city for 40 minutes before being dropped again on a street corner.

The Ontario government announced the enactment of Public Works Protection Act around the G20 security fence, allowing police to search and request ID of anyone within five metres of the fence, and to arrest anyone who refused to comply. The change in law ostensibly came into effect without any public notice or announcement, resulting in at least one arrest where the man had no idea he had broken the law.

On June 29th, it was revealed that the Toronto Police Service had lied and that the law was never actually enacted.

Police attacked a jail solidarity rally at the temporary detention centre at the Toronto Film Studios, charging the crowd and trampling on protesters sitting on the street. Hundreds of people were also arbitrarily detained for several hours in a rain storm in downtown Toronto.

Included in the hundreds of people arrested during and after the G20 Summit were a deaf man who failed to obey police orders he could not hear, a TTC employee on his way to work, and a graffiti artist charged with wearing a mask with intent when police found an air filter mask in her backpack.

Over the course of the G8 and G20 summits, journalists working both for mainstream and independent media outlets faced significant police repression. Several journalists from the Alternative Media Centre were detained illegally, arrested, and/or had their equipment confiscated, including independent journalist Amy Miller, who was detained at the Toronto Film Studios and was subjected to threats of gang rape by police. The Canadian Association of Journalists and the International Press Institute have both come out against the actions of the police towards journalists.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair was caught misleading reporters when displaying so called "weapons" seized during G20 raids, searches, and arrests. The stock included a crossbow seized in an unrelated incident, and chainmail armor and padded arrows seized from a man on his way to a role-playing game. Police had claimed that protesters had planned to set the arrows on fire and shoot them.

The G20's final communique instructs governments to slash their deficits in half by 2013. Critics say this burden will fall disproportionately on those who can least afford it, including students, people living in poverty and pensioners.

Millions of workers went on strike in Italy, Greece and France to oppose proposed "austerity plans" which would cut social spending and impact wages.

New studies of European and OECD countries in the British Medical Journal found that cuts to social welfare programs result in increased mortality rates, in some cases more so than cuts made directly to health care spending.

The Vancouver School Board has put 11 public schools on the chopping block as it faces an $18 million budget shortfall.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney appointed the CEO of Goldman Sachs’ Canadian subsidiary as a special advisor to the central bank to give advice on regulatory reform. Goldman Sachs has been accused of having profited from the current economic crisis, and received the largest pay out of any bank from AIG's bailout fund, totaling $12.9 billion. One prominent economist described the appointment as "the fox guarding the henhouse."

UK Prime Minister David Cameron apologized for Bloody Sunday. In 1972 British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of 10,000 people who gathered in Northern Ireland to protest the practice of detention without trial. Fourteen people were killed.

Stephen Harper apologized for the 1985 Air India bombing, where Canadian failure to apprehend the bombers and to protect witnesses was found by an inquiry to be "inexcusable." Three hundred thirty-three people were killed.

An 11-year-old explained to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Indigenous people continue to suffer from Canada's residential schools program. Harper apologized for residential schools last June. One hundred and fifty thousand people were forced to attend the schools.

Venezuela nationalised a fleet of idle oil rigs owned by Oklahoma-based Helmerich and Payne.

Goldcorp's Marlin Mine Photo: James Rodriguez/www.mimundo.org

The Guatemalan government decided to suspend mining operations at Goldcorp's Marlin mine, but Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes criticized the decision and said mining at Marlin will continue. Indigenous Guatemalans who have been fighting the mine say they have received threats that there will be consequences for defending their rights.

A Canadian documentarian has successfully sued former Canadian ambassador to Guatemala Kenneth Cook for slander.

The Braidwood inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, who died after being tasered by RCMP officers, found the officers were not justified in their use of the stun weapon. The report prompted a special prosecutor appointed by the BC government to call on the federal government to reverse its previous decision not to press charges against the officers involved.

A 27-year-old resident of a group home in Collingwood, Ontario, was killed when police used a taser to subdue him. An 87-year-old woman sued the town of El Reno, Oklahoma, after being tasered by police.

Violence in Kyrgyzstan between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks resulted in rape and violence, primarily against ethnic Uzbek women and children, at alarming rates. The UN suspects the violence was deliberately incited for political reasons. The death toll could be as high as 2,000.

Circumpolar Inuit confronted the European Commission's head of international relations in Greenland over the EU's ban on sealskin.

New Brunswick energy company Irving Oil pulled out of tidal power research in the Bay of Fundy citing concerns over the commercial viability of tidal power technology.

Environmental activists gathered in Vancouver to protest the construction of the Raven Underground Coal Project in the Comox Valley, located on Vancouver Island. Activists claim this mine, the first of its kind proposed in 25 years, would threaten the island's watershed and local air quality.

Toronto PRIDE Grand Marshals and Honoured Dykes returned their awards and gave PRIDE Toronto a "shame" award for banning the term "Israeli apartheid" from PRIDE activities and marches. PRIDE Toronto reversed the ban.

A South African doctor has invented a new rape deterrent which she distributed during the World Cup. The female condom has "teeth-like hooks" and, once attached to the penis, can only be removed by a doctor. Twenty-eight per cent of South African men say they have raped a woman or girl.

SATAWU, the security workers union in South Africa, blamed FIFA for the strikes during the World Cup tournament, saying, "This is an attack on the working class and the poor by capitalist forces who do not respect the national pride of the country, and who have put their narrow profit interests first."

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Comments

Fact checkers where are you??

It's not the "Public Works Detention Act" it's the "Public Works Protection Act".

And, as the G&M article linked to makes clear, a regulation was enacted under the PWPA (it can be read at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2010/elaws_src_regs_r10233_e.htm), but the police lied about exactly what areas had been declared public works; the Act was used, just not in the way the police claimed.

error fixed

Thank you for catching the mistake, and for clarifying the details of the Act's implementation.

Cool

No prob!

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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