Free speech zones, airport style checkpoints and a huge holding facility prepared for G20 Summit
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Preparations are underway for a massive show of force in Toronto this Summer as the G20 summit comes to town. Unprecedented levels of security are being undertaken, with one of the largest movie studios in North America being transformed into a giant holding facility for unruly protesters.
Police say they are prepared for huge protests during the summit, scheduled to convene over the weekend of June 26/27.
Toronto law enforcement officials have announced they are “tapping” social network websites to monitor the potential activities of protesters as they gear up for the event.
“(Social media) allows people to communicate in a lot more different ways. It’s just another tool,” Const. Wendy Drummond told CP24 news. “The way we police our protests hasn’t changed.”
“The Olympics that you saw recently in Vancouver was actually the largest security event ever to take place here in Canada. The G20/G8 surpasses that completely,” Const. Ed Boltuc, a Toronto Police Services officer and liaison with the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit, told the Toronto Star recently.
“There’s going to be a massive — absolutely massive — presence of police and security on the ground like you’ve never seen before.” Boltuc added.
The Globe and Mail has reported that up to10,000 uniformed officers, along with a 1,000 private security guards will be deployed, as well as Canadian military forces. The security costs are expected to cost the Canadian government (taxpayers) $179 million.
The plans include two security perimeters, walled in with huge 3 meter high fences, with Toronto police in charge of the outer zone and the RCMP in charge of the inner zone. Anyone entering the inner perimeter, where the Metro Convention Centre is located, will be processed through five levels of airport style security screening.
Various checkpoints throughout Toronto will be outfitted with “Magnetometers,” “walk-through metal detectors,” “X-Ray belt driven scanners” and “hand-held metal detectors.”
Residents and workers in the area will have to register with the authorities to get access to their homes and businesses during the meeting.
The Canadian Forces plans are described as “large-scale operational planning, land and air surveillance, underwater safety and security for the venues and some logistic and ceremonial functions. Support also includes drawing on the CF’s ongoing partnership in the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD).”
Protesters will also be subject to designated free speech zones. If they breach these zones they will be forced to move or be arrested.
Police have announced that they will be using a massive movie studio as a temporary jail. The building is roughly five kilometres from the Convention Centre, outside the two security zones. The plan echoes tactics employed in the U.S. at recent DNC and RNC Conventions, where thousands of protesters were indiscriminately rounded up and kept for up to several hours in temporary prisons.
Sunday saw tactical officers take over part of the underground in the financial district of downtown Toronto in an unannounced simulated hostage event. Police worked in tandem with private security guards and we’re seen herding people through the building.
The drill was caught on video by Dan Dicks of Press For Truth:
Another training exercise on Sunday saw two military helicopters flying around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and then landing at the nearby CN Tower.
The heightened security will begin two weeks before the summit.