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Protests march into the night, while the jazz bands play on

Celebrity author Naomi Klein tells a crowd at Allan Gardens that the police “didn’t expect a bunch of middle-class people who paid $20” for a ticket to the event to start a march in the middle of the night.

Amit Shilton/The Globe and Mail

The only horn heard Friday night at Nathan Philips Square belonged to Maceo Parker's funk orchestra.

Mr. Parker and his band played to a capacity crowd at the Toronto Jazz Festival, where people were swinging their arms, moving their hips and singing along to the saxophonist's soul music. It was a stark contrast to only a few hours earlier, when G20 protesters marched through Toronto's streets.

"Maceo is telling us to make it funky," said Pablo Joseph, a Toronto resident who came to the festival with friends. Mr. Joseph said he believes music is one of the best ways to bring people together, regardless of their beliefs.

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"More things like this will start the dialogue," he said. "It's about that universal experience we can relate to." In the background, Mr. Parker wailed "Just give me the love."

Chris Vansickle, a piano player from Victoria, B.C., was visiting Toronto for the festival. He said that in comparison to the commotion in Vancouver during the Olympics, Toronto felt subdued.

"If I didn't know the G20 was on, I wouldn't know the G20 was on," he said.

A few blocks away, protesters at Allan Gardens were moving to a different beat.

Samba players Rhythms of Resistance led hundreds of protesters from Massey Hall - where celebrity author and activist Naomi Klein headlined a panel discussion - to the makeshift tent city in the park.

After a few short speeches, including one from Ms. Klein, the band and about 100 protesters took to the streets again. This time, they marched about 3.5 kilometers to a temporary detention centre at Toronto Film Studios on Eastern Ave. There they said a deaf man, who was arrested at a protest earlier, was being held. He hadn't been read his rights because a suitable translator could not be found.

"If we're going to walk down there, let's have some fun," said Chelsea Flook, a member of the samba band. "It's more festive. It's also very loud."

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The band was certainly able to get a few people's attention as they marched on Queen Street East past midnight. A group of dog-walkers with four chihuahuas greeted the protesters at the corner of Queen Street East and Parliament Street. A table of five at Leslieville restaurant Prohibition Gastrohouse gave the group a standing ovation, whooping and hollering.

On the western side of downtown, Toronto's entertainment district was eerily quiet.

Lines at nightclubs that usually stretch around the block on a Friday night were either short or non-existent.

"Everybody thinks everything is closed down here," said Dennis Truong, a promoter with Frequency nightclub. He thinks most people decided to stay home because of traffic concerns and worries about protesters.

"It kind of sucks, to be honest," he said.

Nightclubs weren't the only businesses affected by the sparse crowds.

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Ali Nahid, a 42-year-old taxi driver, served only six customers by 1:30 a.m. He usually sees between 25 to 30 a night.

"The city is crying," he said. Mr. Nahid said the slow business this past week has made it harder to take care of his four children, who range in age from four- to 11-years-old. "Why are we suffering? What benefit do we get?"

At Burrito Bandidos, a popular shop in the district, cashier Evan Brandon said he's served more police officers than partygoers. By 2 a.m., usually the restaurant's busiest hour, only one order was on the grill. Mr. Brandon said he wasn't sure the shop would stay open late on Saturday if business didn't pick up.

Despite the short wait in lines, even the partiers were left disappointed Friday night. Judy Tran commuted from Mississauga to celebrate a friend's birthday at the half-full Wetbar nightclub.

"It doesn't make you want to dance as much," Ms. Tran said. "You feel like you're the only one on the dance floor."

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<iframe src="" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="600px" frameBorder ="0" ><a href="" > covers G8 and G20: Saturday, June 26</a></iframe>

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