rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

G8/G20 Communique: Bail hearings for G20 activists

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

It may come as a surprise to some, but activist organizers who were arrested during the G20 Summit demonstrations in Toronto are still being held in custody -- for over a month -- while others are finally starting to trickle out of jail.

G20 community organizers Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert were released on bail on July 19, 2010. They learned yesterday that the Crown is appealing their release.

"The appeal of our bail release, like the pre-emptive arrest, is a strong indication of the state's intent to criminalize ideas, dissent, and effective community organizing," says Alex Hundert.

Amanda (Mandy) Hiscocks' bail hearing started on July 26, 2010, and the outcome should come either today or tomorrow. Hiscocks has been held in custody for a month.

Hiscocks, Hundert and Henderson were all arrested for their alleged role as "ringleaders" in regards to their community organizing around the Toronto G20 Summit protests in late June 2010. The three were pre-emptively arrested at gun-point in a house raid on the morning of Saturday June 26, 2010, before the day's protests began.

"The arrest at gunpoint of these three and the delay before bail hearings amounts to the criminalization of dissent. It is not the first time perceived leaders of an action have been jailed for what they were alleged to have said in meetings or demonstrations. I have worked with Leah Henderson, she deserves an award not vilification and arrest," said veteran activist Judy Rebick.

In another example, community organizer SK Hussan was arrested while making his way to the Saturday Labour/NGO/Peace march at Queen's Park where he describes his arrest as being tackled by plain-clothes police officers, thrown into an unmarked police van and essentially disappeared. 

They are among 17 accused of various offences; some but not all of whom are also being accused by the Crown of allegedly being associates of the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance (SOAR). The one thing that the defendants have in common is the often amorphous conspiracy charge.

In statement from SOAR in defence of their comrades:

Quote: "Our comrades have been targeted for obvious political reasons and are being held on bullshit charges. The "justice" system integral to state power is fundamentally illegitimate and we will not leave our brothers and sisters to fight it alone. And so we will struggle and organize until they are free. We are calling on anarchists and anti-authoritarians everywhere to support us.

We will support our friends and comrades to our last breath, and show the world that our solidarity is stronger than their terror."

The defendants themselves -- and the community that supports them -- have not wavered in their resolve to fight these chargers, and it sparks in my mind a certain type of anger: how can Canada claim it is a democratic nation when citizens are punished harshly when they exercise their democratic rights?  It is that heavy feeling that pushes on the shoulders and tightens the chest when you are made to feel wrong for doing something right.

 "It is important for people to continue to raise their voices, and for communities to refuse to let this attempt at silencing be anything more than further inspiration to build the world we believe to be possible -- a world where land and people are valued over profit and power," said Leah Henderson.

 Update: Late Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

The details of the proceedings concerning Amanda (Mandy) Hiscocks have been placed under a publication ban but I can tell you that Hiscocks has been released on a cash bail and sureties totalling $140,000 and has been placed under house arrest with family in Ottawa.

As part of the conditions of her release, Hiscocks is under strict surveillance by her sureties and police, is not allowed access to a cell phone, pager or any other device with wireless connectivity, cannot organize, plan or attend public demonstrations and cannot have contact with her co-accused or anyone allegedly associated with No One Is Illegal (NOII), Anti-War at Laurier ([email protected]) or the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance (SOAR). These are not unique bail conditions as other defendents face the same.

It is still unknown as to whether the Crown will appeal this bail release as it is appealing the release of Henderson and Hundert.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.