Amnesty International calls for inquiry into police tactics during G20

Amnesty International calls for inquiry into police tactics during G20

Amnesty International marches as part of the peaceful group protest on Saturday afternoon (Image: Karon Liu) 

Probably the most questionable police decision coming out of the G20 is the “kettling” of a large crowd in the rain at Queen and Spadina on Sunday night. This and other actions by the combined forces of just about every Canadian police force have led to substantial criticism of the Integrated Security Unit—made up of the OPP, RCMP, Toronto Police and officers borrowed from all over. Now international watchdog Amnesty International is calling for a public inquiry into the police’s actions over this past weekend.

CBC reports:

The police did have a difficult job to do, said Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada’s secretary general, but he questioned the extent of the security buildup.

“We’re concerned that both the extensive lead-up to the summit—the heavy, heavy police presence—[and] all of the talk of new weapons and unclear laws really led to quite a considerable chill.”

Amnesty said the heavy police presence in Toronto, as well as acts of vandalism and violence by some protesters, created an atmosphere of fear that kept many from taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

Mayor David Miller dismissed calls for an inquiry this morning, saying that while there would definitely be a “post-mortem” analysis of some kind (there were no fatalities; this was just bad wording), a full inquiry was not on. The Toronto Police Services board would investigate all complaints, just like normal.

Miller stayed on message by reminding Torontonians—in case they’d forgotten—that the real villains in all this are the feds. Somewhere, the combined forces of a lame-duck mayor and an international NGO have Stephen Harper quaking in his boots, we’re sure.

• Amnesty calls for summit security review [CBC]
• Watchdog calls for probe of G20 security measures [Toronto Sun]