In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time



By: DAN VERBIN  
Published: July 2nd 2010
in News » Local

Sammy Katz live on CP24
Pic: screenshot

He arrived on Sunday at Queen’s Park, again to take photos. The Neturei Karta was staging an anti-Israel protest. After that quickly fell apart, he walked with a few acquaintances to Bay St. and King St. to watch a sit-in he described as peaceful. After a while the sit-in turned into a full-fledged march. Katz and his friends were way ahead of the protestors. By the time everyone arrived at Queen and Spadina, police had already created a diagonal line choking off Queen St. West and Spadina Ave from the south end.

 

Once everyone was surrounded by bike police, they cordoned off the north end. All four sides became completed blocked. “If you went to the north side they told you to leave on the south side. If you went to the east side they told you to leave on the west side and vice versa. Nobody was allowing you to leave.”

 

Then the bike cops wearing regular police uniforms switched with riot police. “It was like a room that was slowly closing in on you as the riot police every so often would move closer together in a square,” said Katz.

 

Police began searching through the crowd with video cameras and arresting people. Katz and the others – mostly innocent bystanders out shopping and walking dogs, he said – thought they would be allowed to leave after police got who they were looking for. But that wasn’t the case. They ended up standing outside for between four and six hours. Eventually it began to rain. No one was dressed for inclement weather. People were shivering. Others needed to take medication for conditions like diabetes. No one was allowed to leave.

 

“People wilfully had themselves arrested because they’d rather have their medication then be standing around for who knows how long,” he said.

 

A woman had an anxiety attack and fell to the ground. The ambulance called could not reach her. “She ended just walking through the riot police and freaking out and she was allowed to leave.”

 

The whole city watched in disbelief as the scene unfolded on CP24 with Katz reporting live from the crowd.

 

Upon careful consideration after the fact, he felt that the command structure must have broken down. There was no other way to explain the madness of what took place.

 

“Nobody was really giving the orders, there was a standstill, they didn’t know what to do,” he said. “For absolutely at least four hours the police did not say a word to us.”

 

While he understands where the police were coming from – they later explained that the Black bloc had meshed into the crowd and that weapons had been found nearby – he was nonetheless full of emotion when recalling the ordeal.

 

“That’s very good that (the police) caught these people but I would say it was beyond an inconvenience to be standing out in the rain with no access to food, water, shelter, being rained on, people were shivering soaking wet,” he said.

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