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G8/G20 Communique: Post-G20 police actions against OCAP

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Just under a month after the G20 protests gripped downtown Toronto and the Toronto police still jacked up on G20 adrenaline, the police cracked down on an Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) demonstration at Liberal Headquarters. Now, the relationship between the police and OCAP has always been volatile but the police's action on July 21, 2010 was respectfully heavy handed.

On July 21, 2010 during an OCAP rally  against the McGuinty Government's cutting of the Special Diet, eleven OCAP members and supporters walked into the offices of the Liberal Party to deliver an 'invoice' outlining how much money is owed to poor people on assistance in this province.

They went to a window, put out a banner and addressed the crowd outside. Police soon arrived and, rather than issue warnings and provide any opportunity for the protesters to leave, they handcuffed them, announced they were under arrest for trespass and that they would be taken to the 52 Division.

Eleven people were arrested in total. Nine individuals were taken to 52 Division where they told that their charges had been elevated to mischief; only to be informed later by detectives that a charge of forcible entry was being added and that everyone would be held overnight because each accused person would need to line up a surety to put up money for them.

Two other individuals involved in the protest -- Anne Abbott who uses a wheelchair and her communication assistant, Lenny Olin -- were subjected to radically different treatment. At the protest, it was reported that the police declared their intention to arrest Lenny and 'drop Anne off at a hospital'. When this was obviously strongly objected to by Abbott, they decided to give them both summonses to appear in court for trespass and, eventually, released them. They are both to appear today in court.

Statement from Anne Abbott: "They questioned everybody except me, and I felt they thought I was incapable of giving any valid information. With the examples of the abuse on disabled people during the g20 and my recent experience, it's obvious that ableism is running rampant through the Toronto police."

OCAP released this statement to police's response to its protest: "These charges are a sign of the times. The massive police operation around the G20 was not an isolated development. They are ready for resistance to social cutbacks and austerity and want to silence it. A matter that the cops would have previously dealt with by asking the participants to leave is now the basis for criminal charges that carry two year jail terms."

Two Important Events:

1: Court Support for Anne and Lenny: Thursday, August 19th, 9:00 a.m. start at Old City Hall Courthouse (60 Queen St. W).

2: Rally at the Attorney General's Office (720 Bay St.) on Monday, August 30th at 9:00 a.m. 

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