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Demonstrators March in Defiance of Police Ban, Dozens Arrested

June 20, 1988

TORONTO (AP) _ Protesters burned the American flag and caricatures of the seven world leaders attending the economic summit Sunday, and police said more than 100 were arrested by the time authorities cleared the streets.

Some 2,000 demonstrators, carrying placards and colorfully dressed, defied a police ban and attempted to march one mile from the front of the provincial legislature to summit headquarters. They shouted ″Arrest the G-7″ as they went, referring to the summit group of seven countries.

Their intent was to deliver a citizens’ warrant for the arrest of the seven leaders for alleged crimes against humanity.

When police barricaded University Avenue, the broad thoroughfare leading to the summit at Metropolitan Toronto Convention Center, more than 60 demonstrators hurled themselves over crowd-control barricades into the arms of tactical squad officers in dark blue uniforms.

The demonstrators espoused a host of causes ranging from opposition to U.S. aid to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels to urging more help for victims of the deadly AIDS disease and saving the rain forest.

After they burned the caricatures, flag and three newspaper boxes containing the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, busloads of tactical squad officers linked arm to arm and rushed across the intersection shouting ″move, move, move.″ They arrested those who refused to clear the street.

About 30 demonstrators sat on the road singing ″Give Peace a Chance″ and flashing the peace sign. Phalanxes of police scooped them up and dragged them away.

Supporters shouted ″the world is watching″ as the dramatic scenes, unprecedented in Toronto, developed.

Police Supt. Bob Guay said when it was all over, at least 101 had been arrested and charged with breach of the peace.

Organizer James Ensley of the Alliance for Non-Violent Action said: ″I think people are showing today that its wrong for the streets of Toronto to be shut just because seven people come to town.″

Protesters said they were seeking to dramatize their argument that President Reagan and the six other world leaders have been involved in militarism and economic policies that abandoned the poor and the homeless.

Reagan arrived here Sunday from Washington to begin a series of talks with the leaders of Canada, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Germany. The summit is the 14th annual gathering, designed to focus primarily on international economic issues.

Police had granted the protesters a permit for a rally, but denied permission for them to march.

A police superintendent told them through a loudspeaker, ″This is an unlawful parade. Please disperse.″

One protester shouted, ″These are our streets, man. This isn’t Russia.″

Just outside a 15-foot-high chain link fence surrounding the convention center, eight Japanese Buddhist monks wearing yellow robes chanted for peace and pounded drums. They stood under a banner calling for a new human consciousness of non-violence.

Gisela Ramacher of West Germany said the protest was a ″special prayer of peace for creating world peace and the victory of non-violence.″

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