Civil Liberties Report on the G8 Offers Policing Recommendations for Future Non-Violent Events

Calgary, October 19, 2011 – A new RMCLA report makes recommendations for avoiding violence and protecting civil liberties at future large-scale protests.  Based on lessons learned, the report is entitled “Nonviolent Dissent in Connection with the 2002 G8 in Calgary and Kananaskis, Alberta.”

“We hope that the report offers some useful reflections for protestors, policy-makers, and police alike,” says Gillian Steward, Vice President of RMCLA.  “In the wake of the violence and widespread violations of civil liberties at the Toronto G20, we think it is important to share the findings from the very different experience of the 2002 G8 protests in Alberta.”

Steward, who was a civil liberties monitor at the 2002 G8, will give a panel presentation on the substance of the report on October 22, 9 AM at University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, Murray Fraser Hall, Room 2370.

The panel, “Public Order Policing: the Canadian Experience and Lessons Learned”, is part of the 2011 RightsWatch conference.  The event is hosted by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and RMCLA is a co-sponsor.

The RMCLA report found that the attitudes of both police and protestors matter to ensuring that protests remain nonviolent. It reflects on aspects of planning that could potentially be reproduced on future occasions, with the goals of facilitating expression of dissent while at the same time avoiding violent behaviour and violations of civil liberties.

Recommendations include:

  • Advance planning by police and government officials with representatives of civil society groups
  • Understanding by police that nonviolent dissent is legitimate and crucially important to the functioning and development of democratic society
  • Understanding by protesters and media that violence is not necessary to effectively communicate a message of dissent
  • Organization of associated events providing for reflective consideration of evidence and arguments about substantive issues
  • Presence of impartial observers, accredited observers being most desirable
  • Absence of a fence or wall that might provoke protesters
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