Reprinted from People's Voice, January 1st
By Liz Rowley, leader of the Communist Party of
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has concluded that police and government action that led to the arrest, detention and beatings of 1105 people last June 26/27 in
It's a clear statement that the violence at the G20 protests, and before, was caused by police and directed at protestors and passersby.
Marin's report to the
The Public Works Protection Act is World War II legislation, intended for use in a war situation. Police and parliaments used it to declare war on more than 40,000 Canadians exercising their civil and constitutional rights to legally assemble, demonstrate, and speak out against the Summits, and the austerity policies being imposed across the globe, including in
Many of those arrested were beaten and detained without access to phones, legal counsel, food or bathrooms for long periods. Many were subjected to strip searches and body cavity searches intended to frighten, humiliate and intimidate. Most were young, and police appeared to target demonstrators from Québec, pulling buses over on the highway and making mass arrests.
Until Marin's report hit the Legislature, none of the various public bodies looking into the police attacks was able to hold the cops or governments responsible. Thousands of photos showed police beating demonstrators, but hidden faces and badge numbers prevented individual officers from being identified. Civilian police overseers like the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) claimed their hands were tied.
In fact, police brutality was so widespread the courts would be choked with criminal charges against cops who assaulted peaceful protesters. Many of those assaulted have signed onto a class action suit against all the police forces involved (from across
The McGuinty government is now in damage control, debating whether to amend or kill the Public Works Protection Act. With a provincial election next October, there is fear the Act could be used again by a very right-wing Tory government if the Liberals don't scrap it now.
In a strange twist, the Tories are casting themselves as defenders of democracy as they respond to the Marin Report and attack the Liberals. This is more of the dangerous right‑wing populism that snookered
The Communist Party of
Establishing strong civilian controls over police, and democratic controls over Legislatures and Parliaments, is vital. This will be a crucial part of the struggle to curb corporate power in