Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
Children's Raid During G20 Summit
June 26, 2010 permalink
This weekend Toronto is a very dangerous place for bystanders on account of security for the G20 summit. Police have started arresting people who decline to present identification on demand, a secret policy disclosed only after it was invoked. For families foolish enough to enter Toronto, children's aid is on the lookout with some novel reasons to pick up children.
Children’s Aid to partner with G20 security
Children may be out at G20 protests this week. And in case they get separated from their caretakers, Toronto’s Children’s Aid agencies are ready.
The city’s four Children’s Aid societies – including the associated Jewish, Native and Catholic agencies – are working closely with the G20’s security.
The partnership will make sure a Children’s Aid worker is available to police 24-hours-a-day in the case they are needed, said Meaghan Gray of the Integrated Security Unit.
“I don’t think we’re expecting lots of missing children but we’re planning for any eventuality,” she said.
“In the unfortunate situation where we have to make an arrest of a parent or caregiver where the child’s there, we have to make sure the interests of the child are looked after.”
Some of the planned demonstrations may also draw families, she said, and children could get separated in the large crowds.
“I have heard conflicting numbers about children (being separated) in Pittsburgh,” said David Fleming, an intake director at Toronto’s Children’s Aid Society, referring to the G20 Summit held in September of 2009.
“So we have to be prepared.”
This is the first time police have coordinated a partnership with the city’s four Children’s Aid agencies at the same time, Gray said.
Source: Parent Central (Toronto Star)
Addendum: Police threaten Courtney Winkels for blowing bubbles. A few minutes later she is arrested and charged with mischief over $5,000. The video is on YouTube (local copy, mp4). On another forum a reader commented: "The two police officers should remember that if it wasn't for activists like this young girl they wouldn't have a police union, the female officer wouldn't be able to vote and the black officer would still be a slave".
Tiny bubbles cause international stir
'Officer Bubbles' video goes viral around the world
A YouTube video of a woman blowing bubbles at Toronto Police officers during the G20 is getting world wide attention.
The video, called “Booked for Bubbles?” and posted by therealnews.com, includes one officer stating in no uncertain terms he’ll arrest Courtney Winkels if she keeps blowing bubbles at him and a fellow officer.
In the video posted on YouTube, the officer told Winkels, if the bubble touches him, she’ll be arrested for assault.
“Do you understand me?” he asked.
“Bubbles?” Winkels asked.
“Yes, that’s right, it’s a deliberate act on your behalf, I’m going to arrest you,” the cop replies. “You either knock it off with those bubbles. If you touch me with that bubble you’re going into custody.”
In what the video describes as “moments later,” “Bubble Girl” is shown getting arrested.
The video, filmed by Nazrul Islam, was even featured on FoxNews this week followed by a lively debate around whether or not you can get arrested for blowing bubbles at police officers.
Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray declined to comment on the video.
Gray said the force hasn’t been commenting on individual photos and videos from the G20.
She pointed out with any photo or video it is hard to establish the context an event takes place in.
In a statement to the Sun, Winkels stressed she wasn’t arrested for blowing bubbles.
“The fact is that the bubbles had nothing to do with my arrest,” she said. “The reason I was arrested is because I was wearing a backpack and had a lawyer’s phone number written on my arm. This number was given out by lawyers, and they advised us to have it written somewhere on our bodies.”
The 20-year-old was a volunteer street medic at the G20 and said she “wasn’t even protesting.”
“My medical supplies were taken and suggested they could be used as evidence for my charge,” she said.
Court records show she is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mischief over $5,000.
Winkels said she was talking to another officer when “Officer Bubbles” came over and angrily told her to put her bubbles away.
“I was having a conversation with the female officer,” she said. “She asked me my name, and I preferred not to give it. If she had asked me to identify myself to the police, I would have shown them my ID which I was carrying in my pocket, however, she was talking to me person to person, not officer to civilian.”
Winkels asked the female officer if her bubbles were bothering her.
“She laughed and shrugged her shoulders, which I perceived as a ‘No big deal!’” she said. “After this point, Officer Bubbles stormed over and said what he said on the video.”
Winkels said she put the bubbles away and the officer went away.
She was later swept up with others when arrests were made at Queen St. W. and Noble St. in Parkdale.
“I was not ‘blowing them in his face’ or being rude, I was simply trying to keep the mood of the crowd light, as I figure happy people are less likely to start a violent outbreak,” Winkels said. “There was no way I could have blown them in his face because, as I said, he was nowhere near me when I was blowing them, until he came over to talk to me. He was standing roughly 20 or 30 feet away, and nowhere near the range of the bubbles.”
Winkels said she feels she was not treated fairly during the G20.
“I was denied many of my civil and human rights, and this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, no pun intended,” she said.
Source: Toronto Sun
Addendum: It is hard to tell whether the authors of this article are lesbians, or merely their advocates, identified as queers. But Canadians of all persuasions fear children's aid.
Gender Violence and the G-20 Convergence: Our Streets Were Not Safe
The Group of 20 Leaders met in Toronto from June 25 to 27, 2010. The events that followed shook Our Streets.
Few were eager to host the G20 Leaders in Toronto’s downtown core. Nevertheless, for a year prior, community activists and civil society groups planned events and themed Days of Action, to highlight the impact and interconnectedness of the G20’s elite decision-making on Canadians and people across the world. Federal, Provincial and City government leaders resisted those challenges. In the weeks leading up to the G20, downtown Toronto became a fortress. The downtown core became a maze of fences protected by police forces from across Canada.
Lead up to the G20 Convergence
In May of this year, the Canadian government announced its decision to abandon funding of abortion and family planning options as part of its maternal health foreign aid plan. In response, Oxfam Canada hosted the Gender Justice Summit 2010 in Toronto. The Summit explored the themes of gender violence, maternal health, poverty, security, climate change, and food security. The Summit sought to connect social justice and women’s rights in Canada to the global movement for gender justice, highlighting the fight we must continue to wage to ensure freedom over own bodies, with the policies the Canadian government is now promoting abroad in regards to maternal health funding.
Over the last years, public authority has been repeatedly used to silence women’s voices. In 2006, most of the Status of Women’s offices were closed. Funding to the National Association of Women and the Law was slashed in 206/2007. The Court Challenges Program for equality cases was defunded in 2006.
Also demonstrative of a culture of “ideological intimidation”, women’s organizations who denounced Harper’s abandonment of abortion funding had their public funding stripped. Advocacy organizations affected included Match International Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women and the New Brunswick Pay Equity Coalition.
These decisions of defunding must be understood as the precursor to the official policy announced by G20 leaders this summer, championed by Canada’s Prime Minister: austerity. At a time when communities across the world have suffered profoundly from the global economic crisis, hitting the most vulnerable the most dramatically, the G20 Leaders have announced that social programs are not affordable, that governments must reduce their size and public debt must be slashed.
Gendered ideas about acceptable parenting and protesting roles were also evident in the lead up to the G20 Convergence. Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) and the City of Toronto set up emergency daycares in local libraries to ward the children of parents arrested during the G20, with a threat of starting the apprehension order process. Even though the CAS committed to closing files after children were picked up, the fact that a CAS file was opened at all might mean further CAS involvement in a parent’s life, a particular concern for parents who are poor, First Nations parents, parents with precarious immigration status, Queer parents or parents with mental health issues.
We joked amongst ourselves that state-funded daycare was apparently only “affordable” in Canada when it was being used to intimidate parents into staying away from political events.
During the G20 Convergence
We took to Our Streets to challenge the authority of a small group of elite (mostly) men from a small group of countries to apportion the world’s resources, from behind closed doors. Their decisions affected so many people, in so many different ways, on so many different issues across the world, which was so clearly demonstrated by the myriad types of groups who came together over the week and weekend of the G20 Convergence.
Gender and sexual identities were a focal point of organizing. On Tuesday, June 22nd as part of the Days of Action, organizers staged creative forms of resistance, including a “Roving Kiss-in”. Organizers and attendees challenged the corporatization of Toronto’s Pride festivities, barriers facing queer migrants seeking status in Canada, the rejection of a new sex education curriculum and the removal of queer rights from the Canadian citizenship guide.
Issues of gender justice were at the forefront of the movement, literally. Women and trans folk led the labour rally (“People First: We Deserve Better”) on Saturday June 26th. They marched carrying an oversized coat hanger. With this decision the march’s organizers – the Canadian Labour Congress, Greenpeace, Canadian Federation of Students, Oxfam Canada and the Council of Canadians – came together to challenge Harper’s attacks on reproductive rights, and to once again signal our communal allegiance to women’s economic, social and political equality, and to the control over our own bodies, at home and abroad.
Gender Violence during the G20 Convergence
Despite the overwhelming police presence, thousands took to the streets during the G20 Convergence. Over a thousand people were arrested. The police used suspect legal authority to search peoples’ possessions, to scare people away from certain areas of the city. They harassed and frightened the legitimate expression of political dissent represented by the simple act of coming together in public spaces. And, in particular, women were subjected to serious verbal and physical violence by police officers and their agents.
Women were sexually intimidated, harassed and assaulted. Women who were arrested were taken to the Prisoner Processing Centre, an abandoned warehouse far from the downtown core. There, women were stripped searched by male police officers – including cavity searches. They were made to use the washroom with the doors open, in full view of the guards. After being subjected to degrading, misogynist and homophobic treatment, most women were released without charges.
On July 22, the Toronto Community Mobilization (TCMN) held a press conference about the violence experienced by women during the G20 Convergence. The TCMN called on the Toronto Police Service Board to condemn the gender violence by police. Women told some of their stories from the weekend:
I was roughed up by the cops, had my hair pulled, and was thrown forcefully to the ground. I was called a bitch, and my breasts were grabbed by by-standing cops as they dragged me across the pavement. …They (the Police) asked me and other women I was with if we wanted to have sex with them. We were told to take our clothes off if we wanted to be taken seriously…they made a joke about having a sexual threesome with me and a female officer. …
When they stood me up against the wall to search me, an officer leaned in beside my face and told me that I was going to prison, where I would be raped repeatedly… In a separate room, I was strip-searched and called various unprintable names by these officers. When they brought me back, saying that they had found nothing, the detective yelled at me that I was wasting his time. He shoved me face first into a corner of the room and pushed me repeatedly into the wall.
Video statements by Lacy Macauley and Amy Miller have also been released.
Jane Doe, who spent 9 years attempting and succeeding in 1998 to sue the Toronto Police for negligence and gender discrimination in their investigation of her rape, spoke at the TCMN press conference. Her words and her presence remind us of how much work there is to do on issues of gender violence.
Also at the TCMN press conference, Grissel Orellana of the Toronto Rape Crisis Center warned that if there are not consequences, the gender violence that happened at the hands of the Police during the G20 will be repeated. Indeed, the gender violence experienced by women and trans folk at the Prisoner Processing Centre is demonstration of the importance of the gender issues on which we were organizing, including reproductive rights and violence against women.
The Criminalization of Dissent since the G20 Convergence
The gender violence experienced by women and trans folk at the Prisoner Processing Centre should be understood in the context of a culture of over-policing and myopic concern for ‘order’ rather than a focus on the democratic nature and substance of speech and dissent. This culture is represented by an escalation of police harassment and intimidation for public demonstrations and acts of political protest.
Just a few short weeks after the G20 Convergence, the Ontario Coalition against Poverty organized on the issue of the elimination of the Special Diet Allowance. There were 11 arrests (of about 300 attending) made when peaceful protesters attempted to deliver a letter within Liberal Headquarters in downtown Toronto.
The experience of police hostility and harassment is not new for many communities in Canada, but it is an experience that has now also become a lived reality for many more people living in Canada, and appears to be the new normal, in Toronto at least.
Initiatives to Redress Gender Violence
The Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian agency overseeing the Toronto force, will review the governance and policy issues regarding policing during the G20 Convergence. The Board has not paid specific attention to gender violence.
The newly-created Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) launched a systemic review of police conduct during the G20 Convergence, including allegations of unlawful searches, arrests, improper detention and concerns relating to the temporary holding facility. The OIPRD has not explicitly addressed gender violence.
The Ontario Ombudsman will investigate Ontario’s introduction of a new regulation that gave police expanded powers in the security area ahead of the Convergence.
A newly-formed class action suit has been filed, representing about 800 people who were arrested but not charged during the Convergence. The representative plaintiff is a woman who was part of a group of protesters on the Sunday afternoon of the Covergence, who were “kettled”, surrounded and detained for hours in the rain. There is more information about the class action here.
As part of the “People’s Investigation”, the TCMN is encouraging people to share their photos, video, and eyewitness accounts of police violence and brutality. The People’s Investigation will work with Ontario Women’s Justice Network to investigate instances of gender violence and demand accountability from the police command structure. For more information about the People’s Investigation see here.
*Claire Mummé and Tess Sheldon are volunteers with the Movement Defence Committee’s Summit Legal Support Project. The Summit Legal Support Project is a project of the Movement Defence Committee (MDC). The MDC is an autonomous working group of the Law Union of Ontario which is made up of legal workers, law students, activists and lawyers which provides legal support to progressive organizations and activists in Toronto. There is more information about the MDC here.
Source: The Women's Court of Canada
Addendum: In a case of truth stranger than fiction, policeman Adam Josephs, who threatened to arrest Courtney Winkels for blowing bubbles, is suing YouTube for holding him up to ridicule. What's the penalty for holding CAS up to ridicule?
'Officer Bubbles' launches suit against YouTube
A Toronto police officer whose stiff upper lip made him an inadvertent YouTube sensation and a symbol of police heavy-handedness at the G20 protests has launched a $1.2-million defamation lawsuit against the website.
Constable Adam Josephs was nicknamed “Officer Bubbles” after a video surfaced of him online admonishing a young protester during the summit for blowing bubbles.
The target of Constable Josephs’s lawsuit isn’t the original video, but a series of cartoons posted on YouTube over the following weeks that depict a policeman resembling the officer engaging in various acts of police abuse of power.
In his statement of claim, Constable Josephs alleges the cartoons have subjected him to ridicule, and have resulted in threats against himself and his family. He also seeks to compel YouTube to reveal the identities of the person who created and posted the cartoon – identified by the moniker “ThePMOCanada” – and the identities of several people who posted comments in response.
On Friday, his lawyer said the lawsuit was in its preliminary stages and he was still in discussions with YouTube to resolve it.
“This level of ridicule goes beyond what is reasonable,” James Zibarras said. “The reason we brought the lawsuit is that people have the right to protect themselves against this kind of harassment.”
The animations in question depict a policeman identified as “A. Josephs” arresting various people – including Barack Obama and Santa Claus – and beating up a news photographer while funk music plays in the background.
As of Friday evening, the account that posted the cartoons had been shut down and the videos vanished from the site.
The original video shows Constable Josephs and a number of other officers holding a police line near Queen Street West in front of a crowd of protesters, when a young woman begins blowing bubbles in front of them.
“If the bubble touches me, you're going to be arrested for assault,” he tells her sternly. When she questions him about the warning, he continues to warn her.
“You want to bait the police. You get that on me or that other officer and it gets in her eyes, it's a detergent. You'll be going into custody.”
The officer became something of a meme for protesters at later demonstrations – in one case, demonstrators blew bubbles in front of Queen’s Park to protest the mass arrests at the G20.
Source: Globe and Mail
Addendum: Ontario's ombudsman André Marin produced a report on G20 policing, Caught in the Act (pdf).
Addendum: Julian Ichim, charged but never prosecuted in connection with the summit, posts his experience with a police informant. Later news reports named the police infiltrators as Bindo Showan and Brenda Carey. Following that is a later off-color opinion of CAS.
Khalid Mohhamed-aka police infiltrator
One of the most devestating things that a person can experiance is finding out that there best friend is a police officer sent to frame you.
Sitting in jail, with some of my ex-co accused who were also pre arrested before the Saturday of the g20, I kept asking myself why did i trust this man? i told him about my emotional problems, my moms illness, and trusted him with my own life, yet he was a police officer.
After a year and a half of driving with him to hospitals, drinking in bars participating in actions, helping my sick mom I came to believe, like several others who were close to him that there must have actually been some emotional bond between us and he will only talk about things relevant to the case. After all we told each other he may have been a pig but some part of him must have liked us.
When the disclosure was released (in which i believe he called me a sociopath) I saw what a horrible person he was. Every single personal detail of my life exposed to my ex co accused, there lawyers and if it goes to trial….the general public……..twisted distorted and falsified.
For the longest time, my trust issues intensified. Who is really my friend?why are people being nice 2 me? what is there hidden agenda? Are people really loyal to me or are they gonna trick and screw me over?
To make matters worse, the disclosure was full of gossip, lies and slanders which aim at making me not only look crazy but were specifically put there to turn other activists against me.
How can someone hang with u 24-7, see all the posative work u do such as free food programs, working to stop drug abuse and promote harm reduction, see all the problems that they are facing, drive you and your dieing mother to the hospital……………and then go to the police statement and write a statement and give a report?
What kind of man knows that the only person who can bail you out of jail is a real sick woman and that the stress can exasperbate the situation and yet work anyways to that end.
That type of person must be someone with no emotion, cold, who can do whatevery they want to get there gain. Well Khalid if you are reading this and need a new job cause your exposed how about becoming a serial killer? After all u do have the same traits
Source: Julian Ichim blog
Where to begin, how do you talk about a publicly funded instituation that is a private corporation and makes money off of selling children. Do i talk about the fact that most of my friends with addiction problems started using while in custody, do I talk about the tales of physical and sexual abuse I have heard that goes on in foster homes, do I talk about the fact that although they dont keep records on race, indigenous people are targetted by CAS so disporportionatly that elders i the artic have told me its the continuation of residential schools. How about I quote my friend who walked with me on the monday g20 and got fed up of hearing CAS’s shit that he asked that we leave, i believe his exact words were “you broke my family apart, when you took us my mom didnt drink, now shes an alcoholic”
Every crime that imperialists accuse there enemies of doing, CAS does. Remember the Saddam incubator story, stealing babies from incubators, CAS in kw is there in the hospital as soon as a poor woman under 25 gives birth to steal the child. You know how they accuse communists of making children spy on there parents, what do you think they do when they take the child alone and grill him. You know how they say commuists make there children hate there parents, what do you think children thinkk when they are told again and again and again your parents hate you, they forgot about you etc. etc. They say communism destroys religion, what happenneds when you put an indigenous kid with settler parents? Its like the cheating husband yelling stop cheating to the loyal wife.
I could tell you my own experiances with these bastards and I will eventually, but i think this illistrates the problem better on my street there is an open custody facility and a group home, the open custody facility has grass, basketball courts etc. The group home has none of that. Both are contorolled entrabce etc, both put children in with violent people where they learn survival of the fittest etc. My question to you is what did the child in the group home do to end up in juvie jail, what was his crime?
There is a saying among the Irish fighting for reunification and the brits out of the North, its ” Our Day Will Come”. For all the drug addicts and suicides that they have created, for all the familys they broke apart. For the role they play as a tool of the oppressor they will be held responsible. Our day will come when all this shit come crashing and when we will be free. When that day comes and they need to find a job, give satan your resume, cause the level of evil in your souls is so dark that you will scare the shit out of him.
Source: Julian Ichim blog