Searches, searches everywhere

Police search a vehicle in downtown Toronto. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News

amber-hilderbrandt-52.jpgAs I bike through the city, one thing is clear. There's a new police tactic in town.

Look almost anywhere and you'll spot a gaggle of officers stopping someone and asking to see inside their backpack.

I first saw it at Queen's Park, quiet other than a man and woman getting ziptied after cops searched their bags. "We have the right to search," one cop said when I approached. "Dangerous weapons," another officer muttered when asked about the charges, refusing to elaborate.

Then I experienced it first hand. As I biked south down University Avenue, a group of officers stationed at a corner near the legislature pulled me over and checked my bag. Because I had a gas mask, I had to show my media identification.

On Beverley, south of Dundas, I came across four police cruisers surrounding a red car with its trunk open and contents spilled on the ground: a gas can, Life brand bottle of isopropyl, two empty glass jars, an empty glass bottle, a laptop, two plastic containers of oil, and bags of clothing and sleeping bags. Two men were hauled away and the police testily only said they were in the midst of an investigation.

Over at Dundas Square, police stationed at almost every corner regularly pull people aside to search bags.

What do bystanders think of it all?

Charlie Smith, 29, of Toronto says he feels it's justified.

"Usually I would side on the protesters, but after what happened yesterday I have to side a little more with the police."