When Tories gather, students end up in jail

Rating: NNNNNU of T graduate student and activist Elan Ohayon had spent 62 largely uneventful Friday nights sleeping in Allan.

Rating: NNNNN

U of T graduate student and activist Elan Ohayon had spent 62 largely uneventful Friday nights sleeping in Allan Gardens. Until this past weekend.

With the Tory convention in town, the police seemed to be a little more hopped-up than usual.

Ohayon was rousted out of his sleeping bag by police early Saturday morning and charged with “assault with intent to resist arrest.” He received a cut under his right eye as a result of the ordeal.

Police say Ohayon was asked to leave the park and, when he refused, a struggle ensued with officers from the special forces unit (crowd control) who happened to be in the area due to increased security for the Tory convention.

“A detail of officers was assigned to assist regular officers from 51 Division,” says the public safety unit’s inspector Wes Ryan.

Ohayon and fellow activist Oriel Varga, who was also on the scene, say that during the arrest police took a video camera that was in their possession.

Police say they didn’t touch the camera, but it was later retrieved from a nearby garbage bin minus the video cassette. Varga says Ohayon was in his sleeping bag for the entire incident. “He was totally defenceless,” she says.

Ohayon is still in custody, since he refused a bail condition preventing him from coming within 50 metres of the park.

With a bruised eye, talking from behind a glass window at the Don Jail Tuesday, Ohayon explained that he could not accept a bail condition that prevented him from being near Allan Gardens.

“It’s a matter of ethics,” he says, adding that at the park he provided homeless people with food and shelter.

His lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, says that because his client is still behind bars, the next step is to get a trial as soon as possible.

Police also arrested eight students protesting the Tory meeting across town at the Convention Centre. Says Canadian Federation of Students Ontario chair Erin George, “It is a ridiculous amount of police presence.”

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