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Protesters call for public inquiries into police activity during Toronto G-20

More than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Toronto on Saturday to demand transparent public inquiries into police action in connection with last month's Group of 20 (G-20) summit [official website]. Nearly 1,000 arrests were made before and during the G20, making it the largest mass arrest in Canadian history and protesters contend that both the police and the government acted beyond the scope of their authority in planning and carrying out security measures related to the summit. The protests were organized by rights groups including Amnesty International Canada (AI) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) [advocacy websites] and called for accountability [Toronto Star report] from city leaders, the heads of Toronto and Ontario police forces, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The protesters expressed the need for an objective review independent of police organizations and the government. They contend that a recently approved [meeting agenda] independent civilian review of the Toronto Police Services Board [official website] is not broad enough in scope to conduct a thorough, wide-reaching investigation.

On Friday, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Martin [official website] announced that he was launching an investigation [JURIST report] into local regulation 233/10 [O Reg 233/10 text], which expanded the scope of police powers of search and seizure during the summit. The regulation, enacted under the Public Works Protection Act [text], required those present in certain areas of Toronto to present identification to police or be subjected to a search. Rights groups have expressed concern [JURIST report] that the regulation was enacted in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] and that the public was not given enough notice of the regulation in order to comply. The inquiry is expected to be completed within 90 days.

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