Toronto G20: The last CLAC organizer still accused of conspiracy sees his charges withdrawn!

Toronto G20: The last CLAC organizer still accused of conspiracy sees his charges withdrawn!
CLAC condemns the legal circus and the criminalization of dissent

Montréal, November 23rd 2011 – Yesterday, in a packed courtroom at the Ontario Court of
Justice in Toronto, the Crown counsel in charge of prosecuting the so-called “Main G20
Conspiracy Group” dropped all conspiracy charges against 17 organizers from Southern
Ontario and Québec.

One of the 17, Patrick Cadorette, an organizer from the Anti-capitalist Convergence of
Montréal (CLAC), had all his charges withdrawn by the Crown after almost 18 months spent
under restrictive conditions, including 11 months under house arrest.
This new development is a result of a plea agreement between Crown and Defense counsel.
Of the 17 charged with conspiracy, six pled guilty to “counseling” mischief, while the 11 others
have had all their charges dropped.

“The public has heard a lot about police brutality and mass arrests at the G20 summit,”
Cadorette says, “but the repression went a lot deeper than pictures of angry policemen beating
on demonstrators. We now know that there was a complex strategy aimed at criminalizing
political dissent and anti-capitalist organizing. This strategy included infiltration by undercover
cops, the surveillance of various movements, the intimidation and harassment of activists, and
hundreds of illegal searches and arbitrary detentions during the summit itself. The legal and
penal system also played a major role in this strategy to criminalize dissent. Through imposing
draconian bail conditions like strict non-association with targeted community organizations, long
term house arrest, and banning organizing or attending public demonstrations, legal authorities
clearly meant to weaken movements working for social and environmental justice and to
discourage people who identify with these movements from getting involved. Add to all this the
serious criminal charges targeting organizers, public defamation, and bail hearings held in the
climate of mass hysteria following the protests, as well as the staggering amounts requested
for cash bail, and you have all the elements of a perfect plan to demonize and criminalize
political activism.”

The G20 Summit that was held in Toronto on June 26th and 27th, 2010, was marked by
unprecedented mass arrests: 1105 people were arrested, and over 300 charged. Countless
others were targets of police brutality and violations of their fundamental human rights. Of the
330 charged, no less than 198 have seen their charges dropped, withdrawn or rejected.
According to the Ligue des droits et libertés, “the proof that these arrests were purely
preemptive, arbitrary and illegal was that of the 1,105 arrested, 800 were released without
charges, and the charges that were laid were withdrawn in more than 150 of the cases […]
charges have [also] been stayed in many cases. […] In fact, only between 3.6% and 9% of
those arrested in Toronto on June 26th and 27th 2010 were charged, which clearly indicates
that the arrests weren't justified by criminal behavior but that the objective was to prevent those
people from participating in upcoming demonstrations.”

The tremendous number of conspiracy charges laid against activists is also alarming.
According to Blandine Juchs, of CLAC's Legal Support Committee, “Using conspiracy charges
is strategic. The Crown initially lays grossly exaggerated charges to make sure they have
enough wiggle room to squeeze out some guilty pleas for lesser charges down the road. But
the charge of “counseling” itself criminalizes the simple expression of political opinion at political
events”.

Around 20,000 law enforcement personnel were deployed in Toronto during the G20 summit.
Out of a $930 million dollar budget, $790 million (85%) was spent on security, with the lion’s
share going to the RCMP, according to the Rapport du Comité permanent de la sécurité
publique sur les sommets du G20 et du G8. Despite the public condemnations that have
multiplied over the last year and a half (notably the Ontario Ombudsman’s report), all the police
forces involved have gone unpunished and the politicians responsible for the security debacle
still remain in the shadows.

“Its a real farce”, concludes Cadorette, “a big joke that cost a lot of money! And for what? Who
can say today what the purpose of the Toronto G20 was? For us, one thing is clear, the G20
summits, the institution itself and its so-called leaders are completely illegitimate. At a time when
revolts are sparking and multiplying everywhere against the tyranny of the market, austerity
measures, economic inequalities, and wide-spread environmental destruction, the wealthy and
their goons know full well that their days are numbered. They are shitting their pants. It’s why
they’re spending hundreds of millions to put up fences and place thousands of armed cops
between them and the rage of the People. In the end, history will remember us as those who
tried to stop the only real criminal conspiracy that happened in Toronto in June 2010: the bunch
of fucking G20 crooks.”

Read the collective statement by the « 17 » here: http://conspiretoresist.wordpress.com/

-30-

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Après CISM pendant plus d'un an, le comité agitprop de la CLAC sévit maintenant sur les ondes de CKUT à l'Émission Off The Hour un vendredi par mois. La chronique est basée sur la formule d'un abécédaire: une lettre, un mot, une tirade. Ça ne se passe pas dans l'ordre alphabétique, mais selon l'actualité. D comme dénoncer, C comme crosse ou crosseurs. Bonne écoute!



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