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OPP seeks to silence alleged G20 protest ringleaders: Activists warned that Speaking to media could lead to jail


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OPP seeks to silence alleged G20 protest ringleaders
Activists Warned That Speaking to media could lead to jail

July 29, Toronto – The OPP have warned two alleged G20 protest ringleaders
that their recent media interviews are a violation of bail conditions not
to organize, participate or advise protests. On the morning of July 28,
OPP officers called their sureties and threatened to re-jail them if they
persist in speaking to the media.  Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert were
released on bail on Monday July 19, three weeks after they were arrested
at gunpoint in a pre-emptive nighttime raid on their Toronto home.

“There could hardly be a clearer indication that the police are trying to
silence the voices of these organizers at all costs.  Alex and Leah refuse
to be intimidated from speaking out about their experiences and the daily
injustices perpetrated against our society’s most marginalized
communities,” says Faraz Shahidi, their supporter and member of the
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG – Toronto).

Leah and Alex recently appeared on CBC radio, Toronto Sun, Vancouver Media
Co-op,  and Rabble decrying the politically-motivated nature of the
charges against them and calling on all people to support Indigenous
communities, poor people, precarious migrants, and communities under
occupation in the face of attacks by the leaders and policies of the G20
on their lands, livelihood, and health.

“Freely expressing opinions is not illegal. These violations of the right
to free speech and the freedom of the press to speak to G20 defendants
have a grave impact on all of us,” said Ryan White, a lawyer with the
Movement Defense Committee.

According to well-known constitutional lawyer Clayton Ruby, “The targeting
of activists should be of concern to all of us. The erosion of Charter
rights, the trampling of civil liberties, and the criminalization of
dissent is an attempt to destroy the foundation of our society. Everyone
has an equal stake in this.”

Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert will appear in court again on Friday to
defend against a Crown appeal of their bail. Dave Vasey, an anti-G20
environmental justice organizer who was arrested for breaking the illusory
5-metre rule under the Public Works Act on June 24, 2010, appeared in
court on Wednesday only to find that his charges had mysteriously
disappeared from all court and police records, circumstances the presiding
justice of the peace called “highly unusual.”

“The mass arrests and targeting of activists raises serious issues about
the criminalization of dissent as we confront deepening austerity on a
global basis. These instances make visible the power of the police and
governments to continue acting with impunity,” says Cynthia Wright, a York
University professor.

“Our movements will not be silenced. We dare to dream of a world with
freedom, justice, and equality; without tanks and prisons and borders and
other oppressive institutions that steal sustenance from the world's
majority,” says Rachel Avery, member of AW@L and a music student at
Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. “We will continue to organize
against the G8 and G20 leaders and their corporate villains that pillage
the earth with industrial projects and profit from war.”

- 30 -

MEDIA CONTACTS: Marika Heinrich 416.301.3583; Rachel Avery 519 616 5549;
Ryan White 416.605.3409; Faraz Azad 905.484.0570. To arrange further media
interviews email hwalia8@gmail.com or david.sone@gmail.com.
 

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