7.05.2010

did your canada include civil rights? an education and activism package

My friend David Heap, an amazing activist now based in London, Ontario, has created a package of materials designed to raise awareness of the government and police abuse of power that occurred before, during and after the G20 summit.

Perhaps it will challenge the belief, perpetuated by a recent Angus Reid survey, that most Canadians think the police response was justified. Do the 73% of Torontonians (66% of Canadians overall) who said that know what really happened?

David has created a package that anyone or any group can pick up and use, modifying as you see fit. His energy and initiative inspires me, and perhaps it will inspire you, as well.

I'll shut up now and let David speak.

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Convinced that many more people would be outraged once they saw the video many of us had witnessed of police brutality, we decided to take the images to the public.

On July 1, after the Canada Day fireworks at the forks of the Thames in downtown London, we projected on the outside wall of Museum London this 3:18 minute YouTube video, which combines scenes from different protests in Toronto during the G20 summit, June 25-27, 2010.

You can also download the video file (717 Mb) from here, and there is a compressed version on YouTube here.

We had a portable projector and a portable power supply, and we were able to play the loop several times before the power wound down. During this time we distributed hundreds of leaflets ("Did your Canada include civil rights?" (see links below) to the departing crowds, with interesting (mixed) reactions.

We are hoping to repeat this educational call for action, hopefully with bigger portable sound as well. I am coming to see the downtown of my city as a series of potential projection screens!

All the materials are here for anyone who wants to organize a similar educational action! You can, of course, use different video and adapt the leaflet (below) as you see fit. But let's build the outrage! Note that the leaflet ends with links to more info and some possible online actions to take.

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Did your Canada include CIVIL RIGHTS?

During the G20 summit, Toronto became an armed camp:
- Basic civil rights were trampled on;
- Police assaulted journalists, smashed and confiscated cameras;
- Heavily armed police charged peaceful demonstrations.
- Bystanders and passers-by were arbitrarily searched and arrested;
- Over a $BILLION of our tax dollars were spent – for what?
- Police allowed vandalism to go ahead without stopping it;
- The only injuries came at the hands of the police;
- Police sexually abused women in detention;

Whether you consider yourself to be "political" or not, this attack on human rights in our country affects us all. Inform yourself and act NOW to defend civil liberties:

Video and other independent news:
Media Coop
Video
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Amnesty International (Canada)
Send emails demanding accountability and respect for civil rights

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

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Leaflet to print or adapt:

DOC

ODT

PDF

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All the materials are also posted here on Google Docs.

5 comments:

DavidHeap said...

Thanks Laura.
Please let me stress that when I wrote "we...", it really was a collective effort: the idea developed as a bunch of us discussed how disturbing we found the images of the G20 repression and yet how complacent our fellow citizens remained. A local anarchist from ComonCause pulled together the video, a Palestinian friend made that striking graphic (Canadian flag in chains) which is featured here as well as on Rick Telfer's online auto-letter (and a bunch of people's Facebook profiles). I borrowed the portable projection equipment and put together the leaflets.
Most importantly, more than a dozen people showed up by the end of the fireworks display to distribute the leaflets. I missed most of the reactions (I had my back to the crowd, balancing the projector atop a garbage bin...) but the reported responses, while mixed, were overall thoughtful and appreciative that we were there.

Please share it up folks! You can do this in your community as well. I am still trembling in rage at what happened during the G20, but I am also determined to keep doing something about it.

(we were somewhat nervous about the local police reaction -- who wouldn't be, when more than half of the London police force had been seconded to Toronto along with all those other goons in uniforms? -- but although a number of people drew our display to their atention, the cops didn't react. It seems that temporary light "graffiti" is neither trespassing nor mischief, so there is little they can do. One security guard commented something about "it had to be done" but when asked whether he thought women in detention "had to be" sexually assaulted he went away without further comment).

L-girl said...

David, I'd love hear more about the reaction. If you know anyone who might report on it here, by all means invite them over.

Mike said...

Nothing like that mainstream media corporate propaganda to hide what's in one's face. Other than the hour and a half black blocer (?) were allowed to run riot in full view of, while being massively outnumbered by police, every bit of violence over the course of the next two days was police on protestor/bystander. This was all justified?

I'm wondering what to do next.

toban said...

Here are photos from two of our protests. The second set is from Canada Day.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobanblack/sets/72157624396324878/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobanblack/sets/72157624401843122/

DavidHeap said...

Great minds apparently thought of the same strategy last month in Windsor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6jG9HkozNQ