Some helpful advice to those coming to protest at the G20 next week in Toronto. Toronto is a safe and clean city ubt next week it will be crawling with 6,000 police officers loaded with new security equipment that they are itching to use. So you have to come prepared.
Here are some helpful things to bring:
- water for irrigating eyes and wounds, for cooling off
- several pairs of vinyl gloves to protect against blood AND pepper spray
- wound care supplies (Band-aids, steri-strips, 2x2 & 4x4 bandages, 1st aid tape, Bactroban or other antiseptic)
- chemical weapons decontamination supplies (3 small bottles of canola oil, alcohol, and a solution of liquid antacid/water, 1:1 ratio--this in a spray bottle, lots of gauze sponges or clean rags, stored in several small plastic bags)
- comfortable, protective shoes that you can run in (leave the sandals at home)
- gas mask or goggles paired with a respirator or bandanna to protect during chemical weapons deployment
- heavy-duty gloves if you plan to handle hot tear gas canisters
- hearing protection (the cops have sound canons)
- watch, paper, pen for accurate documentation of events, police brutality, injuries
Desigated protest area is Queens Park which is the Ontario Legislature which is easy to get to by public transit, bike, or on foot. An ideal location because within several blocks of the of Queens Park are several large hospitals in the event you are unable to self-treat your wounds.
Whether you need a ride to Toronto, a place to stay while you’re here, or help deciding which demonstrations you’d like to participate in, the catch-all organization that’s overseeing the various interest groups and their actions is the Toronto Community Mobilization Network. The group’s website lists scores of events in a handy calendar format, from community meetings to full-blown marches, that are taking place across the city. If you want to start your own demonstration, they can also help you get organized.
Before you head over, though, the federal government would like to have a word with you. The Integrated Security Unit is overseen by the RCMP, but it’s staffed by everyone from local police officers to Canadian Forces soldiers. Here, you’ll find some advice the ISU has for protesters.
At most of the major protests here, though, demonstrators will have a special ally: an organization called the Movement Defence Committee. It’s made up of about eighty lawyers who’ve volunteered to help protesters free of charge. They’ll also be acting as observers at many of the major demonstrations. The lawyers have expertise in immigration law (to help people who may have trouble getting into Canada) and criminal law (for those who find themselves under arrest). The Committee’s recommending that demonstrators write their “Arrest Line” number—416-273-6761—somewhere on their bodies.