Jaggi Singh -- who has been called everything from "G20 ring-leader" to the "leader of the anarchists," which just showcases how much the mainstream media doesn't even know what it's talking about since Singh is an anarchist -- pled guilty yesterday to the charge of counselling to commit mischief over $5000 for statements made during a press conference in front of the G20 security fence on June 24, 2010. He is expected to face six months in prison for his comments.
Let me also note that G20 defendee Alex Hundert fell into similar legal trouble for words spoken against the G20, where the Canadian government found both threat and fault in Hundert expressing resistance to the G20; vocal statements made during a public discussion the state considered instead to be a public demonstration.
Singh, an intrepid member of Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) and No One Is Illegal-Montreal, spoke at a pre-G20 summit activist conference where he stated that the security parameter constructed to protect the G20 leaders from the public was illegitimate and deserved to be taken down.
Singh's remarks, which will be entered into evidence, can be viewed online in two segments:
ii) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9NnAorPigc (begin at 00:30)
As part of the plea agreement between the Crown and Singh: i) the Crown will not call Singh as a witness in any G20-related case; ii) Singh's plea cannot be used by the Crown in any other G20 prosecutions; iii) Singh will offer no co-operation to the Crown or the police; iv) Singh will offer no apologies for his actions and words; v) the entirety of the agreement will be public and not subject to any publication ban (plea agreement and related exhibits are linked below).
During the trial, Crown Attorney Jason Miller asked the court to make an example of him. "Rehabilitating Mr. Singh . . . appears to be a lost cause," Miller said of the long-time dissident. But his actions should still be "loudly denounced by the courts," Miller said, in order to deter others in his "community" of activists from committing similar offences.
Doesn't sound like such a bad thing to me! Sometimes you have to take a stand, and follow through without apology. That's strength of both character and conviction.
By his plea deal, he has also bound himself to not having to testify at the Crown's behest against any other G20 activist.
I've known Jaggi for a long time, through rabble.ca and from organizing and he's exactly the kind of person you'd want to have your six during a demonstration. Well, I guess one state's terror is another person's inspiration.
Solidarity statement from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty:
"Jaggi's decision to plead guilty in this matter is a tactical one that we understand and respect. He offers no cringing apologies and implicates no one. He takes what he considers to be the best course to dispose of the charges he has been facing, including three counts of criminal conspiracy, and resume, unimpeded, his vital role in the struggle against everything that was on the agenda at last year's G20 gathering."
Solidarity statement from No One Is Illegal:
"The Crown and the courts are alleging it is a crime to challenge and call for the dismantling of the fence. We collectively stand by the public statements made by various members of No One Is Illegal and our allies at the People's Summit, the press conference at the fence, and our joint release. We asserted then, and we assert now, that the militarized fence -- another physical and ideological symbol of global apartheid, corporate greed, and a way to keep the elite separate from the people -- should have come down."
Solidarity statement from Community Mobilization Network:
"Today's hearing is yet another example of the absurdity of charges stemming from the G20. Jaggi has pled guilty today, as a tactic to continue organizing and to not equivocate on the need to tear down the systems of oppression that exist today. We agree with Jaggi's statement that the fence erected during the G20 deserved to be destroyed and are outraged that he is now being convicted with a criminal offence for simply stating such an opinion.
We applaud and support all of those who, like Jaggi, come together in a collective resistance to denounce and delegitimize the G20 and global capitalism. The violence exercised by the state during the G20 summit in Toronto, was representative of that which is far too routine in marginalized communities in this city, and around the world. This daily violence is what we will continue to attack until all fences and borders have been destroyed."
Jaggi Singh will be back in court at Old City Hall on June 21, 2011, for a sentencing decision.
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