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G20-related charges against nearly 100 protesters dropped

Citizens clash with police during the G20 summit in Toronto.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Crown prosecutors have dropped charges against nearly 100 people arrested during the G20 summit, due to a lack of evidence.

Most of them were Quebeckers who travelled to Toronto for the summit and were billeted at a gymnasium in a University of Toronto building. Early on the morning of Sunday, June 27, police raided the building and rounded up roughly 90 people. They were charged with conspiracy to commit a criminal act.

Activists said the dropping of the charges showed police didn't have any grounds to make the arrests.

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"It's really demonstrative of the criminalization of dissent," said Robyn Maynard with the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a Montreal group that helped organize transportation and housing for G20 protesters. "These were really false, heavy charges of conspiracy."

She said some of the protesters arrested at the gym were charged simply for having black clothing, the colour worn by protesters who vandalized businesses the day before.

Three other members of the ACC who were arrested on the morning of June 26 as a "pre-emptive" measure by police also had their charges dropped.

Police rounded up more than 1,000 people during the G20, in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. Of those, only 300 were charged and several have already had their charges withdrawn.

Spokespeople for the Ontario Attorney-General could not be reached late Thursday evening to confirm the exact number of people who still face charges.

Investigators, meanwhile, have set up a dedicated unit to track down those responsible for breaking windows and torching police cars during the summit. So far, they have arrested some 30 people in the aftermath of the summit.

The most recent charges were laid Thursday against Youri Couture, a 22-year-old Montreal man. He is accused of breaking the windows of a coffee shop and assaulting a police officer.

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About the Author
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

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