Name: Greg S.
Occupation: Construction and renovations
Purpose of Attendance
I went to the rally in order to protest my extreme dissatisfaction with global governance, the pillaging of the poor to further the interests of the elite. I was protesting injustice. It later turned into a protest saying that we have a right to protest.
I was involved in the protest which ended in front of the Novotel Hotel on the Esplanade. We were peacefully marching through the streets chanting and singing, At one point, we were close to the security fence but did not want a confrontation, so we moved on to the Novotel Hotel. Once there we sat down in the street and continued to chant and sing. It was around 8:30 PM. After 5 minutes or so, a line of police dressed in riot gear, including gas masks, appeared in front of us and sealed off that end of the street. People were becoming nervous that we would be boxed in, so a discussion was had with the police about allowing us to continue our march. An officer, I’m assuming some type scene commander or supervisor, told the person negotiating on our behalf that would be allowed to continue if everyone in the crowd would flash a peace sign with our hands. We did this, although it took a few minutes, and during these few minutes another police line formed behind us sealing us in.
At this point it was around 9 PM, the riot police then began hitting their shields and squeezing us tighter and tighter together. Not one person here was violent, aside from the police. We continued to sit in the street chanting “Peaceful protest” and other chants of that nature. The police continued to close in on us telling us to disperse. We responded saying you have us boxed in we can’t disperse but the police would only respond with, “Disperse now, or you will be arrested.” We were boxed in, and were unable to disperse. The police began grabbing single people at random. I was one of those people. I was sitting in the street exercising my Charter Right to peacefully assemble and express my opinion when I was grabbed. I had my arm twisted nearly out of it’s socket, zip tied, had leg shackles put on and sat in the wet street and on-and-off again rain for 2 hours.
I was taken to the Eastern Avenue detention center at around 11:45-12:00, although I am not too sure of the time as the officers wouldn’t tell me. When the two full buses arrived, there was a person being loaded into an ambulance which took off minutes after we arrived. We were then transferred to some type of preliminary cell that was around 3×5 meters in size, and contained a door-less port-o-potty. We remained in zip ties, so as you can imagine going to the bathroom was rather difficult. I was held here for maybe 1.5-2 hours, at which point I was transferred to another cell of the same specifications, but this time next to warehouse shelving and the prisoner processing trailers. At this point I had maybe 4 ounces of water and no food.
I sat in that cell for not long, maybe an hour, when I was taken into a processing trailer to finally be informed of my rights and why I was being held. Inside the trailer I was told I was “lucky” that I was being held on a breach of the peace, which the officer said was not a criminal offence or even a charge, but they could detain me. He made zero mention of the 24 hour time limit and also told me that I would be allowed to speak to a lawyer when I was put in my new cage. The officers, to this point, had been very nice, and respectful, as much as this type of situation permits.
I was placed into the cell where I spent the bulk of my time. This cell was about 6×8 feet being 8 feet high. There was no bathroom, or benches, just a dirty concrete floor. They placed 6 people in this cage, including me; I heard from others down the row that they had up to 7 people in theirs. It was standing room only and we had to stay there for around 15-18 hours. At this point I began demanding access to a lawyer. I had been asking the entire time, but now that I had been processed there is no excuse for me not to have a lawyer. The vast majority of the guards told me they were “working on it,” whatever that means, or that all the phones were in use. I would say it is my Charter Right to have access to a lawyer upon detention without delay and that they are violating my Charter Rights. Most would ignore me; some would mock and laugh at me. One officer, whom I talked to most of the shift, finally relented and allowed me to use the phone an hour or two before I was released. At this point it was around 3 in the afternoon on Sunday June 27. When I got into the phone room, there were around 20 pay phones and, to my surprise, not a single one was in use. I asked the guard why I had been lied to the entire time and he told me that there are not enough guards to allow people to use the phones. I was released shortly after and made to walk to the street before putting on my shoes. Luckily I got my shoes back…a guy detained with me had his shoes lost by the police and they kicked him out in his socked feet.
As far as injuries I saw go, there were a lot of people bleeding, bruised or having dry blood all over their clothes. I can’t speak to how they received these injuries since I didn’t see the events and they generally only described how they were beaten, and not the precipitating events. The entire time in detention I did not sleep; around 36 hours of no sleep, 22 of which I spent being detained. I had maybe (and this is a big maybe) ¼ of a liter of water the entire time, a couple sandwiches which I did not eat because they had no nutritional value. The cages were freezing cold. I was shivering most of the time and the guards refused to give anyone blankets. What compounded the temperature issue was we were all wet, had no shoes and the concrete floors just suck heat right out of you, especially when you’re wet.
I have more from my day of experiences but the arrest and detention were the most flagrant violations of my rights that weekend.
Overall Experience & Lessons
From when I arrived there was an extremely tense atmosphere; everyone was on edge. People were worried about violence, mostly from the police. We were bullied and harassed the entire day and the police made peaceful protests impossible. I now live in fear that I am on some type of watch list. I am scared that my house will be raided or that charges will still be laid, even though all I did was exercise my chart rights. My views of Canada as a free state have been completely smashed. How can we be a free state when our rights can suspended arbitrarily?
Here is a video of the protest in which I was arrested. Notice how the only violent people are the police. http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=408875771891&oid=135629036463012