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Police demonstrate security ahead of G20 summit
Police gave a demonstration Thursday on what security for the G20 summit will be like, revealing few surprises in store for potential protestors.
Police on bicycles, horseback and in riot gear will be at the ready for the G20 summit on June 26-27 in downtown Toronto.
The Integrated Security Unit will also have officers with different equipment available should public safety come into risk, police said.
"Some Integrated Security Unit members will be seen on the streets of Toronto," Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond said.
"Others will be harder to spot. Some will be looking from above and some will be on the waterways."
The formation shown to journalists on Thursday had officers on bicycles out front, with those in riot gear backed up by police on horseback.
Police also demonstrated the controversial long-range acoustic devices, the so-called sonic cannons, at half capacity. Journalists said that at half capacity they could barely be heard over a crowd of a few dozen.
The devices would only be used for two to five seconds at a time if needed, Drummond said.
"Any interaction police have with demonstrators will be measured," she said.
"All security planning is done to ensure the safety and security of internationally protected persons, summit staff and dignitaries and the people who work (in), live (in) and visit Toronto."
Police in Pittsburgh were criticized for using the devices at too long of intervals during demonstrations at last year's G20 summit.
The RCMP announced this week that it does not support the use of the devices for crowd control. The RCMP is part of the Integrated Security Unit.
John Sewell, of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, sent a letter to Mayor David Miller expressing concern over the potential use of sound cannons.
Sewell, a former mayor of the city, noted that the RCMP does not condone the use of sound cannons in cities. "We want a commitment from Toronto police that they will not be used," he wrote.
He also urged the creation of a group that will act as an "accountability agent" for the police.
"We believe the accountability systems set up for the police have not been good enough and that the police have had a free hand to do what they think best without taking into account the people who live and work here," he wrote.