July 04, 2010

Canadian Labour Congress Statement on G20 Summit Police Actions Posted: Wednesday, 30 June 2010

http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/statements/statement-g20-summit-police-actions

The Canadian Labour Congress supports the call of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and other organizations for an independent inquiry into the actions of the police during the G8 and G20 summits.

The G20 summit in Toronto on June 26 and 27 was an opportunity for us to tell our politicians that the needs of workers, of citizens, and the environment must take precedence over the greed of global finance and global corporations.

Our People First Rally on June 26 brought over 30,000 people to Toronto, to the official demonstration area at Queen's Park, and along a parade route negotiated with security officials. By all accounts – including the police – labour's rally was a peaceful demonstration with hundreds of volunteer marshals from the labour movement ensuring we had a successful event.

Unfortunately our successful and peaceful demonstration was overshadowed by the actions of small numbers of individuals unrelated to our event, who committed serious acts of vandalism.

The Canadian Labour Congress quickly and publicly deplored those actions, which undermined the efforts of labour and civil society to ensure our voices were heard.

Reports of peaceful demonstrators, exercising their democratic rights of expression and free assembly, being rounded up and detained in mass arrests are cause for concern. We are further disturbed by the revelations that the Ontario government passed in secret an amendment of the Public Works Protection Act that did not meet Canadian constitutional standards and resulted in inappropriate use of police powers to arrest and detain individuals for recognized legal activities.

It is the responsibility of our governments to ensure Canadians know exactly what transpired during this security operation, and that police will be held accountable if mistakes were made. We call on the federal and provincial governments to conduct an independent inquiry into security during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits.

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