June 29, 2010

Defend the right to peaceful protest! For a full, independent inquiry into police repression now.

Young Communist League of Canada Statement on the G20 Demonstrations and Police Riots

On the weekend of June 26-27, 2010, the leaders of the top 20 capitalist economies met to devise an agenda for the interests of “private demand” (i.e. the very rich and major transnational corporations) including halving deficits by 2013. This translates into increasing the burden on, and cutting public services to, working people -- since neither will corporate profits be taxed more, nor will the military spending on wars be cut.

Over 30,000 people from across Canada (particularly from Quebec and Southern Ontario) and the world -- involved in the labour, womens', aboriginal, youth and student, migrant, environmental, international solidarity, socialist, and many other movements -- peacefully demonstrated against this criminal agenda. Most were able to participate from start to finish united, without any incident or attacks.

This democratic right and necessity to protest should have been enjoyed by all demonstrators. However in the last few days peaceful protesters as well as journalists, legal observers, and by-standers who had no involvement in the protests have been subjected to a police riot.

The mainstream media has endlessly played images of isolated incidences of mayhem, where the police were absent, occurring not because of insufficient security budgets but in spite of the $1 billion that should have gone for education, health care, and public services at a time when many are suffering from the economic crisis that is not over.

Police had refused to provide assurances that they would not use provocateurs, despite being pressed on this point by Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan after such agents had been exposed in the 2007 demonstrations in Quebec against the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

What has been ignored is not only the main peaceful demonstration organized by the Canadian Labour Congress and Ontario Federation of Labour, but also the orgy of police violence with rubber bullets, indiscriminate mass arrests, acts of physical assault and intimidation, and night-time arrests of people simply sleeping in student residences.

Even corporate media personalities such as Steve Paikin have tweeted that the police assaults were more frightening than war zone reporting from “Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Lebanon, and Israel (Palestine)”. Youth and students, Québécois, as well as people of colour are being disproportionately targeted and need our support at this crucial time.

The Young Communist League stands in solidarity with and calls for on-going mobilizations against the G20 agenda and to support the rights of those who continue to be subjected to police harassment.

We support the Communist Party of Canada’s call for an full and independent inquiry into the police repression and the development of these operations by the Harper Tories, McGinty Liberals and Toronto police chief Blair.

The unleashing of the police on protesters and by-standards alike is an attack on our democratic rights, an attempt to demobilize us while we continue to be robbed by the G20's capitalist agenda.

Witness statements show that it is sufficient just to be young to be arrested and beaten, regardless of having no connection to the demonstrations. Baseless arrests have occurred not just in Toronto but as far as Vancouver. We demand an immediate end to police violence and a full public inquiry into police brutality, infringement on our human rights and where these repressive orders came from.

For many youth this is a time of new and renewed radicalization which demands leadership that will challenge the capitalist ruling class's assaults with a movement for socialism.

Read the YCL-LJC statement on the G8-G20

Read the Communist Party statement on the G8-G20

Read the Communist Party's call for an inquiry.

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