Hitch your wagon to a star
Protesters gather outside Toronto police headquarters on Monday. (Nazima Walji/CBC)
Another large, noisy, traffic-stopping protest erupted in downtown Toronto on Monday, in reaction to what demonstrators called police overreaction during weekend G20 protests.
About 1,000 people gathered on College Street, outside the headquarters of the Toronto Police Service, chanting, drumming, and calling for the release of those protesters still being held in detention.
The protest closed a section of the street over the dinner hour, affecting car and pedestrian traffic, as well as one of the city's busiest streetcar lines.
Many of the people who showed up for the protest are people who were taken into custody over the weekend and are complaining about the treatment they received.
After about two hours of peaceful protest, the group moved off westbound, then headed south on University Avenue, which is lined with hospitals, insurance companies and the U.S. consulate.
Police and politicians rushed to defend what appeared to be arbitrary searches, seizures, arrests and detentions on the weekend amid a chorus of condemnation from rights activists.
"We were met this weekend with a number of people — certainly several hundred — who wished to use the opportunity available to them during a peaceful, democratic protest to commit violent acts," Toronto Mayor David Miller said.
Officers showed "admirable professionalism" and did an "extraordinary job in almost impossible circumstances," Miller said.
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Police activity picked up markedly starting Saturday evening, following afternoon riots where small groups of vandals smashed some windows and set two police cruisers alight.
More than 700 people were rounded up over the weekend. Some were rousted from their beds. Others were dragged from crowds.
The Integrated Security Unit, the police group given the task of securing the G8 and G20 summits, said 900 summit-related arrests were made since June 18. The ISU reported that, as of Sunday morning, eight officers and six civilians suffered minor injuries.
With files from The Canadian Press
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