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Hundreds demand public inquiry into G20

Calls for police Chief Bill Blair to step down

Courtney Winkels blows bubbles in silent protest at Queen's Park, Jan 8. Credit: Andrea Houston

Courtney Winkels is still terrified of police, but she mustered up her courage on Jan 8 to join hundreds of protesters marching from Queen’s Park to Toronto Police headquarters to demand a public inquiry into the G20.

Winkels stood among a wall of screaming demonstrators in front of police headquarters at 40 College St, serenely blowing her trademark bubbles in silent protest. A row of police stood with arms folded across their chests, staring blank-faced.

“I’ll never get over being terrified, but I really want this public inquiry,” she told Xtra. “I think it’s really important and police need to be held accountable for their actions.”

Winkels is still reeling from her now-infamous confrontation with “Officer Bubbles.” She was captured on video being threatened with arrest by Const Adam Josephs for blowing bubbles near him the weekend of the G20 summit.

“I now have no trust in police. I am terrified whenever I hear a siren,” she said. “It’s scary for me to be here.

“Any attention on this issue is important because more people learn about it.”

About 300 people took part in the peaceful march. Many heard about the demonstration only days earlier on Facebook.

“Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Bill Blair has got to go,” they chanted. “Whose city? Our city!”

The throng of protesters snaked through the snow-covered streets from Queen’s Park down University Ave to Dundas St to Bay St, east on Elm St to Yonge St, then left onto College St.

And everyone had a horror story from the weekend of the G20.

Tom Zaugg held up a sign reading “Wanted for Treason: Bill Blair.”

“What I saw that weekend has completely shaken my faith in Canadian media coverage, Canadian policing and overall Canadian government,” he said.

Before leaving Queen’s Park, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo told the crowd that the public inquiry needs to come at the provincial and federal level.

“For a weekend we lived in a police state,” she cried. “We think we have a democracy? Look how paper thin that so-called democracy is. Look how quickly they can take away all our valuable rights.

“Someone has to be held accountable. We need an inquiry so we can call people to testify. We need to find out who gave the orders.”