TORONTO G20 PROTESTS - The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada; 2010)
It was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. While 1150 people were arrested, thousands of others were assaulted, searched, handcuffed and then released without charges by police during the June 2010 G20 summits in Toronto. Of those arrested, 330 were ever charged with a crime and 32 were eventually found guilty.
While approximately 10 000 people participated in peaceful and legal protests on Saturday, June 26th, 2010, approximately 70 protestors broke away from the main demonstration march to employ Black Bloc tactics. The group carried out a campaign of focused destruction throughout Toronto's downtown core that left a number of banks and retail storefronts damaged and four abandoned police cruisers burned.
Toronto Police responded with their now infamous "take back the streets" order. Average citizens, many of whom had nothing to do with the protests, were caught up in sweeping and violent police actions, including a controversial crowd control method called "kettling".
As the smoke dissipated over the Toronto skyline, many Canadians were left with an overwhelming sense of grief and anger over the desecration of their civil liberties and freedom to protest. In the months to come, horrifying accounts of police brutality would begin to surface in the media, leading many high-profile human rights NGOs, politicians and other public figures to call for an independent public inquiry into the police response to the protests. Today, those calls remain unanswered.