Without the public's knowledge, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair requested and received new sweeping police powers for the duration of the Summit (June 24 - June 28, 2010). The new police powers were granted by the Ontario Legislature under the Ontario's Public Works Protection Act and were not debated in the Legislature.
This information came to light after the arrest of the amazing activist Dave Vasey and was featured in an exclusive by the Toronto Star.
Quote: "Vasey was held under the Public Works Protection Act and charged with refusing to comply with a request of a peace officer. His bail lawyer, Howard Morton, said that, as far as he knows, Vasey is the first to be arrested under the new regulation.
Vasey was held under the Public Works Protection Act and charged with refusing to comply with a request of a peace officer. His bail lawyer, Howard Morton, said that, as far as he knows, Vasey is the first to be arrested under the new regulation."
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
-- According to the new regulation, "guards" appointed under the act can arrest anyone who, in specific areas, comes within five metres of the security zone.
-- Within those areas, police can demand identification from anyone coming within five metres of the fence perimeter and search them. If they refuse, they face arrest. Anyone convicted under the regulation could also face up to two months in jail or a $500 maximum fine.
Personally, this sounds like a frakked up sneaking way to impose martial law over Toronto for the weekend. I mean, we know that this was passed in secret on June 2; so what other secret laws did the police ask the Ontario Government to pass that we don't know about?
Is this what democracy looks like?
For me, there is no guarantee that police will play by their own rules. Sure, it says five metres from the fence but how are you gonna prove that you were actually 7 or 20 metres from the fence if you get arrested and contest the charges. Also, during an aggressive protest situation, the police could easily claim you refused to show ID when maybe they didn't even ask.
The police could potentially move around downtown Toronto picking off anyone they like.
Toronto activist know that the police here often arrest first and sort it all out later.
So please: don't go anywhere alone; ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A BUDDY
Please, try to not let this news panic -- empower yourself with as much information as you can.
And don't isolate yourselves -- talk to other activists about how you feel about these new draconian police powers and plan among your friends or affinity group how you guys want to move forward.
But please, keep moving forward. Steady Now. Don't let them steal away your rights.
Follow rabble.ca and I on Twitter: @krystalline_k and rabble.ca @rabbleca
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