Dragnet arrests are an unconstitutional, immoral, heavy-handed application of state power, wholly destructive of the right to assembly. Got intelligence on a criminal? Get a warrant. You don’t arrest masses of people for fraternizing or whatever the supposed justification was here. Precrime arrests have no place in the country.
Update (2010/06/28): The GSU has come back in the media and called the raid an attack on freedom of speech. Their press release states:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â “The student movement has a long and honourable tradition of supporting legitimate, constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, including the right to free assembly, free speech and peaceful protest. The GSU appeals to all members of the Canadian public to help us protect those rights… As a matter of course, the GSU has billeted individuals in the past for many events, as have other student unions and universities. The University of Toronto was aware of our plans to remain open… The GSU categorically denies any involvement in any undemocratic activity and we call on university officials, the public and the media to support our collective freedoms and to release our innocent executive members with appropriate apologies”
Related: Guardian journalist beaten, arrested at peaceful G20 protest on Esplanade | Four alleged G20 violence ringleaders appear in court | Pre-dawn raids in Toronto homes result in four arrests | First G20 ‘secret law’ arrestee plans Charter challenge | G20 law gives police sweeping powers to arrest people | CP Reporter: How I was detained by G8 security | G20: Activists Arrested, Others Denied Entry into Canada | UK: Filmmaker Captures Absurdity, Empty Threats Of Police Terror Stop Laws | No legislation, no precedent to limit G20 police powers | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature
Brett Popplewell, Vanessa Lu, Toronto Star
June 27, 2010
70 arrested in police raid at U of T grad student building
University of Toronto administrators are hauling in leaders of their Graduate Student Union Monday to explain why a union-run campus building was used to house out-of- town protesters over the weekend.
Police raided the GSU building around 10 a.m. Sunday and arrested about 70 people, many of them in possession of black clothing and “weapons of opportunity,” such as rocks, bricks and sharpened stakes.
It was the same style of clothing and weaponry used by the Black Bloc during the violent rampage that ripped through the downtown core Saturday.
Most of the university’s campus had been ordered closed by administration during the summit, but the GSU, which represents about 14,000 graduate students, turned its gym into a makeshift hostel for out-of-town student protesters. The cafÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© and adjoining pub were also to be closed, but those sleeping inside the two-storey redbrick GSU were given access to food and water by the union.
“People were being billeted in our gymnasium,” explained GSU spokesperson Anton Neschadim. “It was for a very limited number of people, less than 60 or 70 people.”
A GSU executive – Daniel Vandervoort – was to have been on the premises at all times.
What actually transpired inside the GSU this weekend remains somewhat unclear, even to union leaders, who have not been able to contact Vandervoort and believe him to be among those detained.