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G20 Live: Friday

This weekend, Torontoist is covering the G20 summit live, all day and all night, both from the streets and from the inside. Updates—from our reporters, photographers, and readers—are in reverse-chronological order below. Our full G20 coverage is collected here; you can also follow us on Twitter.

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Protesters near Yonge and College Streets earlier today. Photo by Carl W. Heindl.

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1:59 AM: It looks like things are quieting down for the night. We’ll publish a separate post or two shortly, recapping and reflecting on all the protests today, and then we’re going to get some rest in anticipation of tomorrow. Stay safe everyone. HD
11:14 PM: Someone with a megaphone at Allan Gardens has just announced that the deaf person being held at the Eastern Avenue detention facility has been offered an ASL interpreter, but that this interpreter is a police officer. A contingent is now leaving Allan Gardens to head down to the former Toronto Film Studio site and show their support. ES
10:43 PM: Naomi Klein is leading an impromptu march from Massey Hall to Allan Gardens right now. Our Emily Shepard estimates that there are several hundred people in the crowd, and reports that a large contingent of police officers are present. HD


10:13 PM: Courtesy of Nick Kozak, a set of photos from the protests near Yonge and College this afternoon, taken between 4:06–5:46p.m.:
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10:08 PM: Emily Shepard is currently at the “Shout Out for Global Justice” event at Massey Hall. Naomi Klein has just invited the audience to the tent city currently being built in Allan Gardens, and promises to go over herself as soon as things wrap up at the Hall. HD
9:52 PM: Shunning our militarised downtown tonight in favour of a night in? Here’s some reading—a smattering of reports on the G20 from around the world—to keep you company. HD
9:13 PM: Christopher Bird and Christopher Drost are now on scene at the Eastern Avenue detention centre where a deaf man who tried to cross a line of police officers is being held. There are approximately thirty protesters present, and the police-to-protester ratio looks to be at least 3:1. The protesters are so far entirely peaceful, and say that they will not leave until they get a lawyer and a certified ASL interpreter on the scene. Saron Gebresellasi, a friend and neighbour of the detained man, has been speaking with the media on behalf of the protesters. HD
9:01 PM: The Toronto Star is reporting that the first person arrested under the recently passed provisions giving police extra powers near the official security zone (under the Public Works Protection Act) is launching a Charter challenge of that arrest. HD
8:33 PM: We’re now hearing that it is only a minority of the protesters in Allan Gardens who have headed down to the Eastern Avenue detention centre; many more are staying in the Gardens as originally planned. HD
8:27 PM: Remember the controversy over Stephen Harper’s maternal health plan? The one that was supposed to be one of the showpieces of this summit? Yeah—after a statement issued this afternoon, it isn’t getting any better. HD
8:18 PM: In the silver lining department: pandas! Well, maybe. The Toronto Star is reporting that “[w]hen Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chinese President Hu Jintao meet this weekend, they are expected to agree to begin negotiations for a ten year loan of a pair to the Toronto Zoo.” Glad everyone’s putting their time to good use. HD
8:09 PM: Kelli Korducki and Christopher Drost, both in Allan Gardens, are reporting that a large majority of the protesters there are now decamping and marching towards the special G20 detention facility located in the former Toronto Film Studios on Eastern Avenue. Reports indicate that earlier today a deaf man attempted to cross a line of police officers on bicycles, and when he was unable to communicate his intentions effectively to those officers he was knocked to the ground and taken into custody. Protesters are heading down to the detention centre with an interpreter, to try to secure his release. HD
7:55 PM: If any demonstrations for the rest of the weekend make their way to Queen and Spadina—which isn’t too likely—Urban Outfitters and McDonald’s are as ready for them as they are for customers:
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Top photo by chromewaves from the Torontoist Flickr Pool; bottom photo by Dylan Reid/Spacing.


As Spacing‘s Dylan Reid noted when he wrote about Urban Outfitters’ unusually cautious step, “maybe they just wanted to get into the spirit of the weekend.” DT
7:31 PM: Overheard on Yonge: “That was a parade, not a protest.” SM
7:12 PM: Rations consisting of bottled water, granola bars, and doritos were just handed out to the police stationed at University Avenue and Armoury Street. Just the energy they need to stop protests dead in their tracks. SM
7:09 PM: Now Samba Elégua is playing and the [OCAP] crowd is cheerful. Other music too. Heading back to the park, and morale seems good. It had gotten really tense. KK
6:47 PM: The scene at Yonge and College, looking west towards Bay, earlier:


6:24 PM: Some photos by Torontoist’s Christopher Drost from Allan Gardens, in the earlier stages of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty protest:
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Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.


We’ll have more photos soon. DT
6:21 PM: Crowd still static [at University and Elm]. “I feel safe and scared at the same time,” one onlooker nervously laughs. KK
6:09 PM: Police have closed the security perimeter fence, as a “direct result of specific security concerns.” [PDF] DT
5:31 PM: Kelli, out ahead of the OCAP protest, sends an update: no arrests, but some detainments. “There are so many bus-loads and van-loads of police” on University, she says. The protest is currently on University Avenue, going south towards Gerrard. DT
5:19 PM: Torontoist’s Kelli Korducki and Nancy Paiva are still with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty protest—which stalled briefly at Yonge and College to be met with hundreds of riot cops in full gear:

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Photo by Jeff Robson.


NOW suggests there’ve been some assaults by police officers, and promises video later; we’re hearing reports that there have been a couple of arrests.
4:51 PM: With nary a protester in sight at Queen’s Park, some of the journalists from CTV, Global, and Citytv are relaxing in the shade while they watch TV. SM
4:13 PM: From OpenFile, a guide to “Who’s who at the demos”—not protest groups, but medics, lawyers or legal reps, human rights watchdogs, and child-care volunteers. DT
4:10 PM: Throughout the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty protest, we’ll be posting major updates here, in this article; we’ll push smaller updates to our Twitter. DT
3:53 PM: No-one seems to know which direction march is headed, protesters or cops alike. Energy building fast though. KK
3:43 PM: No One Is Illegal speaking: “We will not be made invisible!” Allan Gardens crowd getting roused. KK
3:29 PM: To warn the G20 leaders about the catastrophic effects of climate change, the World Wildlife Fund has erected a ten-ton polar bear ice sculpture in Berczy Park. Underneath the ice is the bear’s bronze skeleton, which slowly becomes visible as it heats up outside.

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Photo by Stephen Michalowicz/Torontoist.


“The whole point of this sculpture here in Toronto is to provide a symbolic reminder to the world’s leaders that our global climate, our existence, and all wildlife (including polar bears) is coming under increasing pressure because of the inattention of leaders to climate change,” Peter Ewins, an arctic species expert with the WWF told Torontoist earlier today. “We’re putting the polar bear out of business.” SM
3:25 PM: Vuvuzela alert! Protesters have answer to sound cannons at long last. CB
3:20 PM: Brass duet performs impromptu concert at Allan Gardens: media enthralled. CB
3:11 PM: The G20 produces a lot of shit, literally. Horses in the Toronto Police Department’s mounted division all leaving smelly presents everywhere in and around the security zone. SM

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Photo by Stephen Michalowicz/Torontoist.


3:04 PM: Torontoist’s Nancy Paiva sends this video, of some protesters not being allowed into Allan Gardens by police officers, swarmed by media. DT

2:37 PM: Just arrived at Allan Gardens. Had bag inspected by very bored sounding cop. Kensington fixture and Streets are for People organizer Michael J. is playing his trumpet. Crowd beginning to thicken. “Guess they’re all coming at once eh?” mutters one bike cop to another. KK
2:23 PM: From Torontoist’s Ryan Walker, shots at Elm Street at University, and Elm across from Sick Kids Hospital, at 1:30 p.m. today:
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Photos by Ryan Walker/Torontoist.


2:17 PM: The Star is reporting that for maternal health, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a five-year commitment that will be ‘permanent and long-term.’ He has signed off on renewing existing funding, estimated at nearly $2 billion over five years. He will add $1.1 billion over five years of new funding.” More from the Star here. DT
2:09 PM: In honour of the summit, the city is flying the flags of the various G8 G7 countries on the grassy median that runs down University Avenue. The missing flag? Russia. In its place there’s a City of Toronto flag. SM
2:04 PM: The latest thing the G20 is ruining: hope. The City has just confirmed to Torontoist that the Eternal Flame of Hope at Metro Hall has indeed been extinguished for the duration of the G20. DT
1:57 PM: Also from Michael Chrisman, a motorcade underneath the Gardiner at 9:30 a.m. DT

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Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.


1:45 PM: Torontoist’s Michael Chrisman sends this photo, from University and College at 11:30 a.m. today. DT

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Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.


1:20 PM: Some members of the media are resorting to drastic measures to get their shot. Witness Paris-based Eric Kouatchou of Afrique Media, photographing the TV screen with his point-and-shoot as Stephen Harper meets-and-greets world leaders in Huntsville. DT
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Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.


1:13 PM: Like most everyone else right now, we’re waiting—among other things, to hear back from the City about the temporarily ironic “Eternal Flame of Hope” at Metro Hall, which has been boarded-up and extinguished. Over at Allan Gardens, “there is not much happening,” photographer Nancy Paiva tells us, of the Ontario Coalition of Poverty’s protest set to start at 2:30 p.m. DT
12:32 PM: From inside the International Media Centre earlier this morning, Chris Drost sends these photos, of journalists watching Obama’s helicopter.
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Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.


Obama’s just landed in Huntsville now, and Mayor David Miller is of course tweeting photos from it. DT
12:23 PM: From the International Media Centre, Chris Bird files this report about Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan’s presentation to media this morning. Throughout the summit, Bird and Christopher Drost, our two G20-accredited contributors, will be providing updates; they’ve already reported on why the Alternative Media Centre sucks, the swag that accredited journalists get, and David Miller’s thoughts on the whole thing. DT
12:10 PM: The word of the day so far is “quiet.” Quiet streets, quiet commutes, quiet Starbuckses, quieter sound cannons, and “quiet riots.”
Outside a CIBC branch at King and University this morning, Stephen Michalowicz talked to a security guard, who told us that “the day’s not going to be much fun.” Explains Michalowicz: “a regular day, he usually passes the time by chatting with customers and fellow employees, but with the branch closed, there’s nobody to talk to. When we asked him how he plans to combat the boredom, he pointed to the iPhone on his belt. ‘I loaded this thing with movies last night,’ he said. ‘Hopefully, I get to watch some.'”
Over at Queen’s Park, meanwhile, Michael Chrisman tells us that “Nothing really here, apart from LOTS of media. One lone guy looking for a protest, but I have a feeling he is actually an undercover officer.” DT

REPORTING BY: David Topping (DT), Hamutal Dotan (HD), Stephen Michalowicz (SM), Michael Chrisman (MC), Ryan Walker (RW), Nancy Paiva (NP), Kelli Korducki (KK), Christopher Bird (CB), and Emily Shepard (ES).

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