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Montreal man latest to be stopped in continuing G20 arrests

by Tim McSorley

MONTREAL—Police continue to make arrests in relation to June's G20 protests in Toronto.

The latest is 28-year-old Montreal resident Juan Lepore, who appeared in a Toronto court this morning on charges of mischief exceeding $5000, mischief endangering life, and assault.

On Thursday around 10am, Montreal police arrested 28-year-old Juan Lepore at his apartment. At the time he was only informed he was being charged with mischief exceeding $5,000.

Police had been knocking on doors in Lepore's building in search of information related to another incident when they spoke to Lepore. Police then realised there was a warrant issued for Lepore's arrest and took him into custody.

Lepore's mother tongue is Spanish and speaks little English or French, so when police came to his door he called a friend, Nicolas Van Caloen, to translate police questions for him over the phone. According to Van Caloen, at one point the phone simply went dead. Worrying for his friend, he went to his house and was told by neighbours that Lepore had been taken by police from his home with no shoes on, handcuffed and driven away. Police still on the premises investigating the other, un-related crime would not confirm to Van Caloen why Lepore had been arrested.

Lepore contacted Van Caloen by phone shortly thereafter and explained he was being held on charges relating to the G20 protests. Like over 1,000 others, Lepore had been detained by police in Toronto over the G20 weekend, but he had been let go without any charges. Friends say he was unaware there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Toronto police came to Montreal later on Thursday and drove Lepore to a Toronto area jail where he spent the night before this morning's hearing.

Details concerning evidence or what acts Lepore allegedly carried out are limited since there is a publication ban in place on the proceedings.

Lepore is the latest in a series of arrests in the months following the G20 protests. The previous person arrested had been a Hamiltonian taken into custody on August 26.

Friends of Lepore are denouncing the arrest, saying police will attempt to turn his capture into a "trophy" in order to justify the unprecendented police and security presence in Toronto during the G20. The Canadian government has been criticized for spending nearly $1 billion on security alone for four-day G20 and G8 summits.

On August 26, police released portraits of what they have called "the worst of the worst" alleged criminals who are still being sought. While police say most of those on the list are from Montreal or the US, Lepore was not featured.

"The criminalisation of Juan Lepore is proof that the wave of arrests surrounding the G20 is meant to discourage political engagement by those who are revolted by the injustices of our system," said Van Caloen.

Lepore will appear in room 206 at the court house at 2000 Finch Avenue West in Toronto at 10am on Sept. 7 for his next bail hearing. Friends and supporters are being encouraged to attend.

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