Published on
The Raw Story

Report: Toronto Police Rough up Journalists, Arrest Peaceful Protesters at G20

Daniel Tencer

Reporters covering the G20 summit in Toronto say they were the target
of police violence overnight, as riots blamed on anarchist groups left
four police cars burning in the financial district and resulted in the
arrests of some 150 people.

"A newspaper photographer was shot
with a plastic bullet in the backside, while another had an officer
point a gun in his face despite identifying himself as a member of the
media," reported
the Canadian Press news agency. The agency did not say if it was its
own reporters who were targeted.

Previously: Toronto
gets ‘secret' arrest powers ahead of G20 protests

a remarkable series of Tweets
early Sunday morning, journalist Steve Paikin of public broadcaster TV
Ontario said he witnessed "police brutality" against a reporter and the
arrests of peaceful demonstrators.

"I saw police brutality
tonight. It was unnecessary. They asked me to leave the site or they
would arrest me. I told them I was doing my job," he Tweeted.

I was escorted away from the demonstration, I saw two officers hold a
journalist. The journalist identified himself as working for 'the
Guardian.' He talked too much and pissed the police off. Two officers
held him a third punched him in the stomach. Totally unnecessary. The
man collapsed. Then the third officer drove his elbow into the man's
back. No cameras recorded the assault. And it was an assault."

had been at a demonstration in Toronto's Esplanade neighborhood, a
densely-populated area near the waterfront. He said police moved in on a
crowd of peaceful, "middle class" protesters and began arresting them.

on one side screamed at the crowd to leave one way. Then police on the
other side said leave the other way. There was no way out," he Tweeted.
"So the police just started arresting people. I stress, this was a
peaceful, middle class, diverse crowd. No anarchists. Literally more
than 100 officers with guns pointing at the crowd. Rubber bullets and
smoke bombs ready to be fired. Rubber bullets fired."

Paikin, a
respected journalist who has hosted national election debates in Canada,
said he was "escorted" away by police before he could see how many
people were arrested, "but it must have been dozens."

"I have
lived in Toronto for 32 years. Have never seen a day like this. Shame on
the vandals and shame on those that ordered peaceful protesters
attacked and arrested."

Earlier in the day, police told media that
a small group of "Black bloc" demonstrators broke off from a protest of
10,000 people and began smashing storefront windows along the city's
trendy Queen Street.

The CBC News Network reported that protesters
smashed in the windows of an American Apparel outlet, pulled out the
mannequins and spread feces on the floor. The storefronts of McDonald's
and Starbucks locations were also damaged, as were numerous bank

Police shut down all public transit in the city center,
including subway and streetcar lines. They also shut down a large
downtown shopping complex after reports of looting. AFP reported that
some 200 people were trapped inside, unable to leave after the mall was
put into lockdown.

Watch: Protesters seize police car

the G20 protest began turning violent Saturday, police abandoned some
of their police cars," reports
the Toronto Star
. "This one was briefly occupied on Queen

The following video was shot by Jim Rankin of the Toronto

Sustain our Journalism

If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent journalism, please support our Spring drive now and help progressive media that believes as passionately as you do in defending the common good and building a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.

Share This Article

More in: