Protesters return to G20 'kettling' corner

One year after the notorious G20 "kettling" incident at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue, a small, peaceful gathering of protesters briefly returned to that corner on Saturday.

Demonstrators renew calls for police chief Bill Blair to resign

Roughly 200 peaceful protesters gathered at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary since the "kettling" tactics used by police during the G20 summit. (CBC)

One year after the notorious G20 "kettling" incident at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue a small gathering of protesters returned to the same corner on Saturday.

Just after 5 p.m., a group of about 200 protesters, some carrying signs, returned to the corner where, last year, a massive police cordon contained hundreds of people, many who were not there to protest the G20 summit, in a rainstorm for hours.

That "kettling" tactic has been widely criticized as one of many inappropriate uses of police force during last year's G20 summit in Toronto. 

Saturday's gathering of a few hundred people was peaceful however, their presence in the intersection briefly delayed traffic at the busy corner.

After staying at Queen and Spadina for about 10 minutes, the crowd moved west along Queen Street West. Some protesters said they intended to continue their mini-march on other downtown streets and to police headquarters at Bay Street and College Street.

Their action at Queen and Spadina happened two hours after hundreds of people marked the one-year anniversary of the G20 riots in Toronto by holding a peaceful rally at the Ontario legislature earlier in the day on Saturday.

Demonstrators renewed a call for a public inquiry into police actions at the summit and for the resignation of Toronto police chief Bill Blair.

Some held signs with slogans such as: "Canada is not a police state" and "Public inquiry now."

At the Queen's Park rally, Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan called for Blair to identify officers who beat citizen protesters.

Author Judy Rebick said Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to hold the summit in Toronto and he should shoulder the blame for the riot.

The police arrested more than 1,100 people during the G20 protests but most were released without being charged or had their charges withdrawn or dismissed.

Thirty-nine protesters reported being injured during the arrests while 97 officers were hurt during last June's summit.

John Pruyn, an amputee whose artificial leg was ripped off by police while he was arrested at the summit, also called for an inquiry and he asked why police haven't returned his eyeglasses and walking sticks.

Those at the rally say an inquiry is needed not for retribution but to get at the truth of police actions and to hold police and politicians accountable.

Speakers from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Ontario Federation of Labour, Canadian Federation of Students and Council of Canadians were among those who addressed the so-called Freedom Festival.


With files from The Canadian Press