G20 protesters could be hit with sonic guns
By Colin Perkel, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Last Updated: May 27, 2010 1:44pm
TORONTO — The addition of sound cannons to the arsenal available to security forces managing G20 protests comes as no surprise to groups planning to demonstrate in Toronto at next month’s summit.
They say it’s just one more signal amid an unprecedented security operation that dissenting voices are being muzzled.
“We were expecting the use of sound cannons, sound grenades, Tasers, tear gas — they’ve been used in the past against Canadian protesters,” Sharmeen Khan, spokeswoman for the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, said Thursday.
“We definitely are concerned that this will scare people away.”
The sound cannons are capable of emitting ear-piercing and hearing-damaging alerts, not unlike that of a smoke detector, that can be heard up to 1.5 kilometres away.
Formally known as long-range acoustical devices, they can also be used to broadcast pre-recorded and other messages to protesters.
“It will allow our officers to speak to the crowd over and above chanting, yelling, screaming — noise that is most commonly part of protests,” said Const. Wendy Drummond, spokeswoman for Toronto police.
“It will allow us to communicate, most effectively, our demands to the crowd.”
Toronto police have purchased four of the devices — three hand-held and one mounted — from Vancouver-based Current Corp.