Update: see previous posts – March 14, 2012 G20 – As Officer’s Are Unmasked and Finally Identified, Lawsuits Continue to Climb, March 7, 2012 G20 – Toronto Police Pay Paraplegic Man After Human Rights Complaint is Filed, February 24, 2012 G20 – Kelly Pflug-Back Pleads Guilty to 1 Count of Wearing a Disguise with Intent & 7 Counts of Mischief over $5,000., February 22, 2012 ‘Secret’ G20 Law To Be Scrapped, February 14, 2012 Toronto Police Service Senior Officers’ Union “Where is Our Overtime from the June 14-28/10 G20?”, February 8, 2012 G20 – Deaf Man Arrested and Not Provided Professional Interpreters Offered by Canadian Hearing Society, January 25, 2012 Toronto Police Chief Delays the Inevitable, January 22, 2012 Five Officers Should be Charged in G20 Protester’s Arrest, Police Watchdog Says, January 18, 2012 G20 Lawsuit Emerges After Largest Mass Arrest in Canadian History, December 22, 2011 G20 Activist Unapologetic As She Receives a Sentence of 10 Months, December 10, 2011 McGuinty to Declare the1939 Public Works Protection Act Null & Void in the New Year, November 23, 2011 11 G20 Defendants Set Free, November 3, 2011 G20 – Chair of Toronto Police Services Board concerned about G20 Photo’s (June, 2010), October 27, 2011 G20 Arrest for Weapons Charge Results in Acquittal, October 5, 2011 G20 Review by Toronto Police Services Board is Expected to Conclude by March, 2012, August 12, 2011 Toronto Deputy Police Chief Tony Warr Defends Actions of Police During G20 (June, 2010), July 29, 2011 Judge Rules that Man Arrested at G20 Should Have Been Provided Counsel, July 23, 2011 Twenty One (21) Month Sentence for Man Who Set G20 Police Vehicle Ablaze, July 22, 2011 G20 Investigator Wants Law to Ban Disguises After 17 Suspects Unidentified, July 21, 2011 Toronto Police Chief Blair’s Report on the G20 is Deferred, June 25, 2011 G20 Summit Toronto – First Anniversary (June 26 & 27, 2011), June 18, 2011 Harper Falls Short on Toronto Businesses’ G20 Claims, June 10, 2011 G20 – Final Public Hearing for the Toronto Police’s Civilian Review, June 10, 2011 G20 – Another Arrest, June 7, 2011 G20 Update – Who Assaulted Adam? Nooobody!, June 1, 2011 Ottawa Police Enjoy Their Share of the G20 Money Pie, McGuinty to Scrap the Secret G20 Law (1939 Public Works Protection Act), March 31, 2011 The “G20 Bump” Translates into a 60% Increase of Toronto Police Making the 2010 Sunshine List, March 19, 2011 Harper Screws Toronto’s Businesses, March 18, 2011 New G20 Lawsuits Launched Against Toronto Police Board, December 7, 2010 Ontario Umbudsman André Marin Delivers Report on G20 “Caught in the Act”, August 8, 2010 G20 Litigation, August 1, 2010 Damage$ Flowing from Charter Breaches
The European court of human rights ruled Thursday that a contentious crowd control tactic called “kettling” is the most effective method for containing protesters.
The controversial technique, in which riot police box in protesters from all angles, leaving no room for escape, was denounced by Toronto police following the June 2010 G20 summit.
Police here have said they will never again use the tactic after infamously “kettling” about 300 protesters and bystanders, near Queen St. and Spadina Ave., in early-evening pouring rain on June 27, 2010.
The act, captured in a dramatic live television broadcast, led to hundreds of arrests. Most detainees were released without charge later that day.
Police Chief Bill Blair condemned “kettling” in his 2011 review of G20 policing.
“Premature displays of real or implied force can lead to negative crowd reactions that may escalate a situation,” Blair wrote.
But the ruling in Strasbourg, France, after more than ten years of legal disputes stemming from a 2001 anti-globalization demonstration at London’s Oxford Circus, deemed “kettling” to be the “least intrusive and most effective” way to cordon protesters.
“The court is unable to identify a moment when the measure changed from what was, at most, a restriction on freedom of movement, to a deprivation of liberty,” the court of human rights ruling declared, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The judges, who voted in favour 14 to 3, said “kettling” does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
The campaign to abolish “kettling” had been led by protester Lois Austin, now 42, who claimed she was unable to reach her infant daughter after she was contained by police during the 2001 Oxford Circus protest.
The decision follows an April, 2011, British High Court ruling, which found the 2009 “kettling” of London G20 protesters to be illegal. More than 4,000 people were wrangled into a kettle for three hours on April 1, 2009.
Thursday’s ruling, however, comes with a caveat.
“It must be underlined that measures of crowd control should not be used by the national authorities directly or indirectly to stifle or discourage protest, given the fundamental importance of freedom of expression and assembly in all democratic societies,” it said.
In a public opinion poll commission by the Star last summer, 50 per cent of respondents said G20 “kettling” was unjustified, with 43 per cent in favour.
Responding to Toronto police’s decision to ban “kettling,” Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the tactic infringes on people’s freedom from random detention, according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“It rounds up, detains and prevents from moving large groups of people for which the police have no evidence that they have done anything wrong,”