The Crown's Crackdown Can't Stand Up to the Facts
Montreal, October 14th, 2010 -- The Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) is overjoyed at the Crown's decision to drop its charges against the almost one hundred demonstrators who were arrested this past June during the people's protests against the G20 Summit in Toronto.
Remember that several dozen people from Montreal who had taken advantage of transportation and lodging organized by the CLAC, found themselves arrested, detained and facing conspiracy charges following a brutal police raid on the University of Toronto gymnasium on June 27th. Lacking any evidence to back up its case, today the Crown Prosecutor announced that the conspiracy charges would be dropped against these people who were arrested at the gymnasium.
The CLAC is also pleased to announce that charges have been dropped against three of its members, who were "preventatively" arrested on the morning of June 26 and detained for over 72 hours on the basis of these makeshift charges.
This latest about-face by the Crown constitutes an implicit admission of defeat; it shows how flimsy the charges are and how scandalously the police behaved during the security operations around the Summit. It is now clear that the mass arrests at the gymnasium, like the vast majority of the arrests during the Summit, were arbitrary and uncalled for, and were intended to terrorize the demonstrators and to discourage them from exercising their right to protest in the future.
In that vein, the CLAC would like to remind people that the Crown is persisting in its prosecution of 20 organizers that it is wrongly accusing of being the "ringleaders" behind the events of June 26th. There are two CLAC members amongst these scapegoats; they are facing three charges of conspiracy and are currently subject to draconian bail conditions including house arrest.
Alex Hundert of Toronto is one of the twenty people facing conspiracy charges. He was arrested for a second time at his sureties' home on September 17th for having, according to the Crown Prosecutor, breached his bail condition of "not organizing or attending any public demonstrations." Earlier that day, Hundert had taken part in a panel discussion at Ryerson University about resistance to the G20. During a second bail hearing that took place on October 6th and 7th, an Ontario Justice of the Peace ruled that by displaying "the same kind of behaviour as he did in meetings prior to the G20," Hundert had indeed breached one of his bail conditions.
It seems that speaking at a university talk in Canada is now to be considered a "public demonstration." This is a total aberration, a direct attack on the most basic form of freedom of expression: someone is being held in prison for having simply expressed his ideas in public! Recently, at Alex's last bail hearing, the crown tried to impose harsher conditions, attempting to stop him from expressing his political opinions in public, or in the media. He refused these conditions and remains behind bars until he can appeal them. Besides Alex Hundert, four other people remain behind bars on charges stemming from the G20.
More than three months after the events in question, the police continue to carry out targeted arrests and to issue warrants, and all this is of course being done at the taxpayers' expense. It is obvious that this judicial and police crackdown, like the strict bail conditions imposed on the accused, are on a completely different scale than the actual crimes observed. Given this pathetic and merciless witchhunt, we can only conclude that the State's real goal is to criminalize and freeze dissent.
But we refuse to be silenced! In solidarity with the popular mobilizations against the next G20 Summit in Seoul this coming November 11 and 12, the CLAC is organizing an anti-capitalist family-friendly demonstration at Cabot Square, on November 12th at 5pm.
Here is a live report of the gymnasium arrests from CBC (June 27, 2010) : http://bit.ly/9z7uD2
Sarita Ahooja - (514) 295-5095 (français/anglais)
Mathieu Francoeur - (438) 838-8498 (en français)
Robyn Maynard - (514) 831-4723 (in English)