Toronto

Alleged ringleader talks about G20 arrest

One of the men, who Toronto police allege was a ringleader of the G20 summit violence, spoke publicly for the first time since his release from jail earlier this month.

One of the men, who Toronto police allege was a ringleader of the G20 summit violence, spoke publicly for the first time since his release from jail earlier this month.

Syed Hussan was spokesman for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, an umbrella group that helped co-ordinate the anti-G20 protests in the city. He was arrested on the morning of June 26 on his way to a news conference to discuss the targeting of community organizers, before pockets of violence broke out later that day.

"They jumped out, grabbed me, threw me into the car," the 26-year-old community organizer told CBC News. "I was shocked and stunned. I wasn't sure what was happening."

Hussan, who is facing three conspiracy charges, is out on $50,000 bail and under strict house arrest. He must live with David McNally, a York University professor, who posted half the bail money. Hussan can still work as the co-ordinator at York's Centre for Feminist Research but he can't attend any rallies and protests.

He said he can't talk about the conspiracy charges because of a publication ban.

"I really can't comment at all. I've been advised because the matters are before the court."

A Pakistani citizen, Hussan was born in Libya, raised in Dubai and schooled in the United States and Canada. His work permit expired in the springtime, but he wants to clear his name and stay in Canada.

"I believe I'll be able to answer these charges in court and provided that I do them well, then there's no threat to my stay here," he said.

His next court appearance is Aug. 23.

Demands for public inquiry

Since the G20 summit, there have been repeated calls for a public inquiry into police action during that meeting.

Many who took to the streets are bitter and angry about their treatment, but Hussan, who agreed one is necessary, was more reflective.

"What I'm feeling is a very different reality," he said. "My reality is about taking care of myself, taking care of the work I've been doing. I've been organizing in this city for three years. The G20 was three days."