Students, police at impasse over G-8 security

Student demonstrators refuse to talk protest rules with police guarding Kananaskis summit until apology issued

Police and students planning to protest at the upcoming G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Alta. are having trouble agreeing on ground rules for demonstrations.

Police who arrived the University of Calgary for a meeting with student demonstrators on Thursday received a cool reception.

Many students refused to even talk to police about rules for demonstrators. They said they would not negotiate until security officials apologized for their behavior during a finance ministers' meeting in Ottawa last year, and at the APEC summit in Vancouver in 1997.

Those demonstrations occasionally became violent. Scores of demonstrators were hit with tear gas and pepper sprayed, and many people were arrested. But the police have maintained they did nothing wrong, and were only ensuring that the meetings went ahead without disruption.

On Thursday, the police at times pleading with the students to communicate with them asked them what they had to lose by simply discussing ground rules.

One student replied that there was no point in negotiating an agreement, because the police had proven they cannot be trusted to live by it.

Grant Neufeld said he was not hopeful about any future talks with police, and called past efforts a waste of time.

"Every time that we have entered into discussions with police, they have turned around and not in any way supported what we were trying to negotiate for," said Neufeld.

But RCMP Sergeant Mike O'Rielly says the public has to maintain communications with police in order for relations to improve.

"Just in the process of trying, the actual process, the process of getting together and relationship building, and maybe some addressing makes that process worthwhile," said O'Rielly.