June 27, 2010, 3:00pm
The MDC’s Summit Legal Support Project is appealing to the movements it supports to mobilize a show of political strength and solidarity for the nearly 500 people arrested in the last four days. The Toronto Police and the ISU appear to have lost control of their ‘prisoner processing center’, denying arrestees meaningful and timely access to counsel while beating and arresting those peacefully protesting their detention outside.
Despite assurances to the contrary, only a handful of people have been released, including those held for many hours without charge. Arrestees are given incorrect information about the bail process they will be subjected to, and friends and family members gather hours early at the courthouse, located far from the city center and inaccessible via transit. Our lawyers call in and are told that there is no one available to make decisions or wait for hours at the detention centre, only to be denied access to their clients. Almost 500 people are in custody and we know from experience that the vast majority of those charges will disappear and yet the cell doors remain shut.
We need to step it up and build a political response. We need many more voices – especially prominent ones – to say that the abuse and incompetence at 629 Eastern Avenue must stop. We must demand that all levels of government take control of the police forces under their command. We need to ensure that courts and crown attorneys act to enforce constitutional rights rather than collude in their violation.
Free the Toronto 500!
The Movement Defence Committee