TORONTO 11:40pm, June 26 — G20 Police have threatened to mass arrest 300 peaceful protesters outside the Novotel hotel on The Esplanade in Toronto, according to a demonstrator at the protest. Since 10:30pm they have been snatching protesters one-by-one from the crowd and “the rest of us are just waiting to be arrested,” said the experienced activist, who has asked not to be named.
Protesters were sitting outside the hotel peacefully, when dozens of police in full riot gear with teargas guns marched in from the east side of the narrow street and then on the west side, enclosing the protesters.
According to the demonstrator, most of the protesters are young people who have little previous experience in demonstrations and have not been involved in any previous G20 demonstrations on June 26 or earlier. Moreover they have no legal information because they were not expecting any kind of trouble. “These are simply members of the public who want to make their voices heard,” the demonstrator said. The peaceful protesters include many who joined a march which earlier proceeded down Yonge Street after being brutally forced out of what was supposed to be the “free speech zone” at Queen’s Park.
They have been chanting “Open the lines, let us out!” “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Peaceful protest, peaceful protest.”
The protesters are demonstrating outside the Novotel on The Esplanade where one day earlier hotel workers began a legal strike.
Protesters are asking for any support that people can provide them, especially through communicating this story which has gone under-reported in mainstream media. Police continue to take people one-by-one from the crowd.
Update 12:46am, June 27: At least one busload of people has been already taken away by the police. At this time, about 80 protesters remain, waiting to be arrested.
SEE ALSO 11pm UPDATE ON TORONTO STAR BLOG: http://thestar.blogs.com/g20/
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