The G/G20 conference in Toronto was witness to the largest mass arrest in Canadian History. Up to 1 000 people were swept up in mass arrests made in the aftermath of the vandals' actions in downtown Toronto. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is calling for changes to be made.
The CCLA has reminded Canadians of the rights enshrined in our constitution.
"The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone in Canada the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. It also guarantees the right of all persons to be free from arbitrary detention and unreasonable search and seizure. These constitutional liberties – and the limits they place on government and police – are the foundations of our free and democratic society." Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
In their preliminary report on the conduct of the law enforcement agencies and crowd actions during the Toronto phase of the conference, they were careful to note that the police acted the majority of the time in a commendable and professional manner. However, at times they go on to say that disproportionate force, arbitrary and excessive force were used.
The CCLA has issued a list of recommended changes which would serve to uphold the Canadian Constitution.
Constitutional Violations.(not comprehensive)
1. Mass arrests in order to detain suspected vandals is against our constitution. Some people rousted from sleep and moved to detention centre in pyjamas, barefoot. Suspension of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
2. There is no requirement for Canadians to carry identity papers, yet people who refused to identify themselves to police were detained.
3. Peaceful demonstrators in designated "protest zone" in Queen's Park were charged by riot police.
No Excuses for Thugs, Vandals
The CCLA makes no excuses for the thugs and vandals that caused damage and mayhem during the G20 conference. They do point out that arrests and crowd control must be in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.