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Riot police make a mass arrest in front of the Novotel Hotel in downtown Toronto, during large demonstrations for the G20 summit. (GEOFF ROBINS/Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police make a mass arrest in front of the Novotel Hotel in downtown Toronto, during large demonstrations for the G20 summit. (GEOFF ROBINS/Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian journalist arrested, possibly beaten Add to ...

Jesse Rosenfeld, a Canadian activist journalist who has written opinion pieces on the G20 for the Guardian newspaper, has been arrested and possibly beaten, his friends and father say.

His girlfriend, Carmelle Wolfson, called Mr. Rosenfeld late Saturday night, only to have him tell her he was in police custody at the Novotel, where dozens of protesters were arrested en masse after a protracted sit-in.

"He said, 'The cops are telling me that they're going to arrest me. I've told them that I'm a journalist, but they're not recognizing my press badge and they're telling me that they're going to arrest me,'" she said.

"Then he told me to get on the phone with his editor."

Mr. Rosenfeld, a Canadian activist journalist based in Tel Aviv and Jaffa in Israel, was in Canada for the summer. Ms. Wolfson said he was on assignment from Britain's Guardian to cover the G20. He was also helping to organize the summit's alternative media co-op, whose coverage has been sympathetic to protests.

He hadn't received official media accreditation, despite applying for it long ago and making repeated inquiries, Ms. Wolfson said. When he was swept up in the melee at the Novotel protest, police didn't recognize his alternate media badge.

Steve Paikin, host of the Agenda on TVO, was at the Novotel at the time of the arrests. He later reported seeing Mr. Rosenfeld arrested and beaten -- punched in the stomach by police.

"i can appreciate that the police were on edge today, after seeing four or five of their cruisers burned. but why such overreaction tonight?" he posted on his Twitter account.

Ms. Wolfson and Mr. Rosenfeld's parents spent the rest of the night trying to find out what happened to him -- including a visit to the Eastern Avenue film studio being used as a G20 detention centre.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Rosenfeld's father, Mark Rosenfeld, said he had learned his son had been charged with breach of the peace and was due to be released from the detention centre at 11 p.m.

Reached by phone on Sunday, Guardian comment editor Theresa Boyle said Jesse Rosenfeld has written a few opinion pieces for the paper before -- previously on the Middle East, and a G20 piece last week. She said he was due to submit some freelance pieces about the G20 for The Guardian.

Ms. Boyle says she got a call late Saturday night that Mr. Rosenfeld had been arrested, but said she hasn't been able to reach anyone to confirm that.

Mr. Rosenfeld had been trying to get official media accreditation, she said, but it never materialized.

"There seemed to be some delay with it: He applied for it and everything and they didn't give it to him."

Jesse Rosenfeld's writing from Canada and the Middle East has been explicitly political in the past. Mark Rosenfeld said he doesn't know if his son has been in trouble with police in the past.

"He certainly hasn't been arrested for violence or anything like that."

A spokesman for the Integrated Security Unit said early Sunday morning he couldn't confirm details surrounding specific arrests.

With a report from Sarah Boesveld

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