Toronto faces hard post-G20 security questions

Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:57pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - After a rare weekend of violence in a city that likes to trumpet its civility, Toronto licked its wounds on Monday as rights groups questioned police tactics in securing the G20 summit and the mayor blasted the decision to hold the world leaders event in the city's core.

Even as downtown security fences were being dismantled, a crowd of more 1,000 gathered outside Toronto's police headquarters Monday evening to protest the massive police operation and allegations that people were arrested who had nothing to do with the violence.

"We don't want a police state," chanted the crowd, watched over by a large contingent of police officers. It later marched through the downtown.

Across town, at a temporary detention center, police were still processing some of the more than 900 people they arrested over the weekend. The exact number of people detained was unknown because some were taken into custody in the city and then released elsewhere without being charged.

Amnesty International and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association took issue with those arrests and called for a review of security procedures.

In a front-page editorial on Monday, the Toronto Star, Canada's biggest circulation daily newspaper, called the summit security plan, and the reaction to it, "a brutal spectacle that failed a city and its people."

"They took our city to hold a meeting and bullied us out of the core, damaging the commerce of thousands of merchants and inconveniencing the entire population. Then, they failed to protect our property," the Star said.

Canada budgeted C$1 billion ($970 million) for security. It brought in hundreds of police from outside the city and erected a 10-foot (3-meter) steel fence around a large section of the city core to protect Group of 20 leaders like President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron as they met just yards away from, but out of sight of, the protests.   Continued...