Statement of Support – Council of Canadians
The Council of Canadians continues to be outraged at the criminalization of protesters and activists that took place during anti-G20 protests in June 2010. In particular, the use of Conspiracy charges against activists contravenes the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and assembly and puts Canadian democracy at great risk.
The Council of Canadians co-organized the 2010 People’s Summit, the Shout Out for Global Justice with a solidarity march to the Justice for Our Communities Tent City, we participated in the days of action leading up to the Summit and organized a contingent at the People’s First March and Rally on June 26, 2010.
We demanded that agent provocateurs not be used during the G20, we denounced the exorbitant security budget, and we participated in a legal challenge opposing sound cannons. We joined local organizers and activists as they opposed the global austerity agenda and we continue to act in solidarity with those who are demanding their rights around the world.
Throughout this, we were witness to police intimidation and harassment that saw 1,100 people arrested, over 300 charged, at least half of them with Conspiracy. Most of these charges have since been withdrawn or resulted in acquittals.
We are writing this statement in support of the 17 activist who were tried as the ‘G20 Main Conspiracy Group’ who have negotiated a plea deal with the Court this morning where 6 plead guilty and face between 6 and 24 months of jail time, while the other 11 will have their charges withdrawn.
The onerous bail conditions, the immense financial strain of legal proceedings, the ongoing harassment and intimidation have forced 17 community organizers to enter a plea bargain rather than to proceed to a trial and attempt to exonerate their names. Justice has been dishonored in this process.
The intention of the police and the courts were to use these criminal charges to create fear and paranoia in activist communities and to shut down dissent. As the actions of the Occupy movements, the ongoing resistance to CETA and other unjust trade agreements, the struggle against austerity and the brave actions of Indigenous land defenders for environmental justice have shown that this tactic of intimidation has failed.
We demand again today that the unjust charges against those arrested at the G20 be withdrawn, that a full and public inquiry against policing actions take place immediately and that the undemocratic , anti-people decisions made at G20 Summits, at the IMF, at WTO and in corporate headquarters worldwide stop directing Canadian public policy.