as evidence mounts that quebec Summit police used excessive and indiscriminate force against peaceful protestors, social activists, human rights groups and lawyers continue their call for an independent inquiry.
An Amnesty International report documents human rights violations by Summit police including "the excessive use of tear gas on protestors not involved in violent behaviour or posing any threat to property or police, including the firing of tear gas canisters directly at individuals... for no apparent reason." It also laments "the use of plastic bullets in situations where safety of police officers and the integrity of the Summit were not threatened."
"I believe there will be a call for an inquiry into the excessive use of force," says John Tackaberry, an Amnesty spokesperson.
Amnesty's call would add to the existing inquiry demand by the NDP, which, along with Common Frontiers, SalAMI, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Council of Canadians and CAW, has vowed to keep pressure on the federal Liberals.
"The request for an inquiry will not go away," says Carol Phillips, director of the CAW international department. "We are not going to stop demanding one." Many demonstrators have complained that police made no distinction between peaceful and aggressive protestors. Says Phillips, "We had some of our members who were hit by rubber bullets." One member was parading away from the perimeter with a CAW union flag. "He was caught four times with rubber bullets," she says.
Erin George, Ontario chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, was on René Lévesque Boulevard on Saturday night. She says, "Police officers left the perimeter and challenged people who weren't challenging the fence." As they swept the area, "the tear gas was being fired directly at people, straight at people."
John Urquhart, a Council of Canadians member, also believes police took an "offensive line" with non-violent protestors. "The use of police force was excessive. People were shot in the back as they were walking away."
Protestor Eric Laferriere was unable to walk away. He required a tracheotomy and may never speak again after being struck in the neck and wrist by rubber bullets at close range.