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NEWS: Council to distribute free ear plugs at G20 summit

The Toronto Star reported yesterday that, “Toronto police have purchased four, long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — often referred to as sound guns or sound cannons — for the upcoming June 26-27 summit…”

“The volume (of the hand-held devices) can reach 135 decibels, which surpasses the pain threshold of 110 to 120.” The larger mounted-version can reach 143 decibels. “To compare, a normal conversation measures at about 60 decibels. The U.S. National Institute on Deafness says sustained noise above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage. …(Toronto police constable Wendy) Drummond acknowledges LRADs can cause permanent hearing damage if used improperly but says Toronto police are developing guidelines for deployment.”

By yesterday morning, the Council of Canadians had issued a media release stating that it would be distributing free ear plugs to people in Toronto to help protect them from hearing damage and to protect their democratic right to protest.

The Canwest News Service picked this up and reported in newspapers across the country that, “The Council of Canadians, a citizen’s advocacy group, said Thursday it will be distributing free earplugs to protesters leading up to the summits, which are being held in Huntsville, Ont., and Toronto from June 25 through June 27.”

The National Post reports that, “The Council of Canadians argues regular loudspeakers would be just as effective. ‘If there’s one person that’s doing something they don’t like then that person is standing next to 10 or more others,’ said Mark Calzavara, an organizer with the Council of Canadians. ‘Police are going to blast that whole area and that means innocent people are going to be harmed even though they’re not doing anything wrong.'”

The Globe and Mail reported this morning that, “A left-wing group, the Council of Canadians, yesterday announced they will dispense free ear plugs to Torontonians.”

The Canadian Press reported in media outlets across the country that, “The Council of Canadians said it would give away earplugs during the G20 to protect people from permanent hearing loss. ‘Saying a sound cannon is a tool for communications is like saying waterboarding isn’t torture, just a tool for encouraging dialogue,’ said spokesman Mark Calzavara. The devices are meant to “intimidate people and make them too scared to protest,” he said.”

And the Toronto Star this morning reports that, “Anybody needing earplugs for anticipated Toronto G20 protests can get them free on location from the Council of Canadians social justice organization, spokesman Dylan Penner said from Ottawa. ‘Used as directed, earplugs lower the decibel level and protect people from permanent ear damage,’ he said. The council disapproves of the LRAD device, he said. ‘(Sound cannons) affect a large area and are used without accountability,’ Penner said. ‘The victims won’t know who fired them and won’t be able to prove they were targeted.’”

Our media release can be read at http://canadians.org/media/other/2010/27-May-10.html.