Reports are coming in fast and furious to the Alternative Media Centre about house raids and pre-emptive arrests of key organizers in the G20 resistance. It appears as if the Integrated Security Unit is deploying a pre-planned sweep of known activists.
Police visited two houses in Toronto’s westend early this morning. In one, a warrant was not initially shown; when police later produced it, they did not allow those being arrested to read it. Later this morning, police rounded up 13-15 community organizers from Montreal. This morning, Syed Hussan, spokesperson for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network was arrested on his way to a press conference to discuss the roundup of activists and organizers by police.
This wave of pre-emptive arrests follows increasing aggression and violence by police against activists, demonstrators, journalists and citizens. Yesterday, Emomotimi Azorbo, a deaf man unrelated to G20 organizing, was beaten and arrested because he did not hear police commands to stay off the road. Azorbo was handcuffed, preventing him from communicating with officers, who also refused his friend Saron Gebresellasi’s offer to interpret. To date, Azorbo has been refused an American Sign Language interpreter in the temporary jail where G20 arrestees are being held. While trying to film the Azorbo’s violent arrest, Jesse Freeston, of the Real News Network, was punched in the face twice by police.
As the day of action unfolds today, things are quiet at the AMC Neighbours are stopping by to offer support and donate food. Others are dropping in to say hello before heading to the action. A few journalists are here working on stories, while others take phone calls from the heart of the action and post up-to-the minute reports via Twitter (using the #hashtag #g20report). We are hearing about police lines forming, police & camera crews donning gas masks, and activists getting beaten as they head south toward the fence.
Twitter remains the unofficial backchannel of the G20, as the activists, organizers, media and the police tweet rapidly from the midst of the demonstration. The hashtag #g20report is currently the top trending tag for all photos uploaded to the microblogging service in Canada, including this cute one, from @NowToronto: