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G8/20 Communique: Rally for G20 accountability, U of T community demands 'Cops Off Campus!'

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Rally for G20 accountability, U of T community demands "Cops Off Campus!"

What: Rally against the Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS) "G20 De-Briefing"

Why: To demand accountability and justice for all those arrested during the G20, and to keep 'Cops off Campus!"

Where: Rally begins at Graduate Students' Union, 16 Bancroft Avenue, and end at the University of Toronto Faculty Club, 45 Willcocks Street.

When: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20th.
 
*** PLEASE WEAR PINK OR BLACK CLOTHES IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND ***
 
This is a call to friends and allies to rally on the University of Toronto campus at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20th, to send a clear message to the Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS) that their "G20 De-Briefing" is not welcome on our campus.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are calling for accountability and justice for all those arrested during the G20 Summit in Toronto -- the largest instance of mass arbitrary detention in Canadian history -- and are demanding that TAPPS and private security firms be kept off campus!

What is TAPPS? Why should I protest it?

TAPPS is an organization created in the mid-1990s to provide greater coordination between the Toronto police and private security companies.

The influence of private security companies has increased drastically in recent years, from their expanding role in major conflicts (think of Blackwater in Afghanistan and Iraq) to their steady encroachment on public spaces. Some of the private security companies active in war-zones, such as G4S and Securitas, are also active on our streets and campuses.

With the increasing trend towards privatizing and contracting-out public services, the realm of policing has come to depend on 'public private partnerships' or the full-out privatization of policing services - fueling a multi-billion dollar 'security industry' that relies on fear to sustain profits. The outcome is simple and dangerous: the public has minimal or no oversight and control over the activities of organizations that allegedly
protect us.

During the G20 Summit, TAPPS revealed the dangers posed when policing forces and private security companies collaborate: massive and unaccountable repression of civil rights. According to 'Security Management' magazine: "Four months before the G20, TAPPS helped bring organizations-including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Toronto Police, NYPD Shield and other specialized units-together to develop plans and share intelligence on known terrorist and extremist threats, including the Black and Pink Bloc anarchists.

The information gathered was then fed into the TAPPS secure portal (www.tapps.org) to build an intelligence database that police and private security could draw from during the summit weekend. TAPPS members could discuss the intelligence on message boards within the secure Web site...Security and police professionals now hope to build on the lessons learned [from the G20] and realize an even greater collaboration between police and security in the future."

What is happening on campus on Oct. 20 and why should I care?

On Wednesday, Oct. 20th, TAPPS is holding a 'G20 Debriefing' training seminar on the UofT campus. This session is co-hosted by the University of Toronto Campus Community Police Service and Reilly Security (one of the companies that holds a security contract with the UofT administration).

In this closed session, speakers will assess police and private security cooperation during "Canada's largest domestic security operation" and examine "challenges and provide perspective from many of the key players involved from both police and private security circles."

In short, similar rounds of repression are being planned on our campus, behind closed doors.

The U of T community is already familiar with the consequences of 'police and private security' cooperation. During the G20 Summit, 75 people from Quebec, who were staying as guests at the GSU Gym, were arrested as a result of a tip provided by a Reilly Security guard working on campus. The security guard noted the presence of 'black-clad individuals' getting off a bus and immediately contacted the UofT 'Incident Command Center' and TAPPS to secure their arrest.

The 75 people arrested have since been cleared of all charges, underscoring the arbitrary nature of these arrests. These arrests are part of a broader trend at UofT in which campus

activists and their community allies have experienced increased harassment at the hands of private security guards and campus police.

What kind of campus are we asking for?

We are calling on the University of Toronto Administration and the provincial government to honour the University's Purpose to commit to "vigilant protection of individual human rights," including the "human right to radical, critical teaching and research."

We call on university administrators to respect the campus as a protected space to "raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself." We reject and will actively oppose all administrative sanction of an oppressive security agenda that undermines these commitments.

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