Thursday, April 28, 2011

G20 protests show freedoms easily lost

Freedom can be easily lost. What took centuries to achieve can slip away while we are distracted by the economy, a hockey game or a plethora of confusing information.

My granddaughter, a student at Queen's University, was part of a group of peaceful, unarmed protesters during the G20 meetings in Toronto.

And there was good reason to protest that Canada could spend more than $1 billion of our tax dollars on four days of meetings that excluded any discussion of the environment or global warming.

The group was singing on the sidewalk across the road from a detention centre. They were told by police to move on, which they did. When they had walked one-and-a-half blocks as told, they were again confronted and surrounded by police who now used plastic ties to handcuff them and marched them back to the detention centre. They were kept, 27 to a cell, still whip-tied, for the next 24 hours. If anyone needed to go to the bathroom there was a row of what looked like animal cages with a toilet in each, and open to surveillance by guards. With hands tied, these peaceful protesters had the humiliating experience of having to help one another get their pants down and assist with cleaning themselves while in full view.

Although the protesters had not been in a restricted area, they were threatened with criminal charges. These charges were later dropped. I would never have believed that such a thing as this could happen in Canada.

Only under Stephen Harper.

So much for the True North Strong and Free.

Nancy Wigen

Saltspring Island

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