Protests continue in Toronto as G20 nears
Another peaceful, colourful demonstration on the streets of downtown Toronto on Tuesday saw protesters gather to demand greater efforts from G20 countries on gender and disability rights.
A few hundred people marched down Yonge Street on a wet afternoon upset over what organizers say has been an erosion of gay rights in the past year in Canada and other G20 countries.
A group of police officers — part of the 5,100 police assigned to security detail for the G8/G20 summits — watched the demonstration but didn't interfere.
Earlier in the day, a spokesman for one of the protest groups said they couldn't make any promises that all the demonstrations would be as peaceful as they have been so far.
Sharmeen Kahn, of the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, said there are "hundreds of different communities involved in the resistance. It's not our place to tell activists what do."
Syed Hussan, who is also with the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, said, "We are talking about different people taking different action in the way they see fit."
But Hussan did say he doesn't expect things to get out of hand. "I believe that ... in any of the protests there will be no one hurt," he said.
Others pointed to a double standard playing out on the streets of downtown Toronto these days because of the daily 2010 Fifa World Cup celebrations.
Anna Willets, from the group Gender Justice for All, said she just wants G20 protesters to be given the same latitude as soccer fans.
"We're going to see people spilling out and they are going to be blocking the streets. They are not going to have a permit and they are going to be dealt with very differently," said Willets.
But members of the integrated security unit for the G20 said they will step in if laws are broken.
The security buildup continues as both the G20 and the G8 summit set for Huntsville, Ont., draw near.
The G8 meetings take place on Friday, while the G20 talks will be held Saturday and Sunday.
With files from The Canadian Press