On the front lines at the G20 - Macleans.ca
 

On the front lines at the G20

Images of violence, as striking as they may be, are not the whole story


 

I’m standing next to a nice young woman at the corner of Pape and Eastern as she calls her friend to explain how she is almost 100 per cent sure that she is going to be arrested, along with the 80 or so people still gathered with her on the street corner. I am certainly included in that number. She is trying hard to sound calm about it but there’s an edge to her voice. It’s really hard to know what is about to happen next. But I agree with her. It looks awfully likely that I’m about to get arrested.

Related: Violence and chaos in Toronto

Campus under siege

Saturday morning I started my day by addressing a room full of student leaders in Calgary. That’s an entirely different story, but my plane landed in Toronto around 9:50pm and from that point forward I’ve been on a mission to get the story of the G20 from the ground level. In my original coverage of the G20 I was most concerned about the “designated” protest site smack dab in the middle of University of Toronto. That site was overrun by police earlier in the day and I wanted to see what it looks like afterward. So that’s where I started.

Just north of Bloor I begin to feel the heavy police presence in the city. They’re traveling routinely in squads of eight. But as an upstanding citizen I figure the easiest way to get started is simply to ask them where stuff is happening. They point me at Allan Gardens, where protesters established a tent city earlier in the day. I thank them and make a note to check it out. Less than five feet away a helpful stranger named Kevin gives me the real story. The next place to be is outside the temporary detention center where those already arrested are being held. And boy is he right–but it will take me a while to get there.

Kevin is a part-time faculty member at Concordia University. He came down to Toronto for the G20 protests and to see his grandmother. These two activities are unrelated. He got his start protesting in Quebec City in 2001 and has stayed interested since. His opinion is that police have done an excellent job of separating and dispersing crowds. He says this with an air of appreciation. There are rules to this game and this far, at least, the police are playing within them. As a result things have stayed somewhat disorganized. But he also feels that the heavy police presence is beyond anything that could be called reasonable and that it’s provocative in and of itself.

As I’m talking with Kevin, another squad of officers have approached from the south and they are escorting a couple of young guys who look awfully unhappy. The two squads merge and they joke about the trouble makers they’ve caught. Now we’re surrounded by sixteen officers in full riot gear and the new ones are eying us suspiciously. We excuse ourselves and cross the street. I can already see Kevin’s point. I haven’t done a thing wrong and I’m already intimidated.

Queens Park north is a mess but it’s no more of a mess than I’ve seen many times. All sorts of things are organized in that park and clean up is always incomplete. I survey the campus for signs of damage and find nothing to speak of. From what I can tell the University of Toronto escaped relatively unscathed. But that doesn’t mean the administration was wrong to close the campus. Even on a Saturday buildings, staff, and any students who would have been around could easily have been caught up in the chaos of the day. Based on events thus far, the university seems to be vindicated.

Just about everyone has moved on from the site but an enterprising man with a shopping cart is collecting bottles and cans to return to the beer store. He’s all smiles and says it’s his second load and that he’s made a hundred bucks today. It’s nice that at least someone is benefiting from this and it’s a reminder that for most people the demonstrations are half political statement and half street party–one where they tend to leave their empties behind. The few images of violence, as striking as they may be, are not the true story. They are just a small part of it.

I realize that if I’m going to find the action it’ll be at Pape and Eastern, where the detention center is located. That’s quite a ways away and transit is questionable. Fortunately I’ve got my bike. The ride across the city at night is hardly safe but there’s a lot of people doing it. Dissent in Toronto generally travels on two wheels. Now I’m getting the nod from folks on the street who accept that I’m out to make a statement just like they are. As I get near the site I manage to join a small band of other cyclists. It’s nice to have some company. There’s safety–or at least a greater sense of it–in numbers.

We approach the detention center from an odd direction and it briefly seems as though no one is there. The site is huge and based in an old film studio. We find one young woman, all alone, who has staked out an entrance to the facility. Her name is Caroline and she’s from the University of Manitoba. Her boyfriend was arrested earlier in the day and she’s come to rescue him. She’s joking, of course, but there isn’t much else for her to do. She claims they were protesting peacefully and based on her views I have no trouble believing it. She’s upset at the violence and believes that it has “delegitimized the actual protest.” She finds the police presence to be “insane” but she has no desire to clash with them. She’s quite glad some company has arrived. On a dark night, in the middle of an industrial district, a little solidarity is a good thing.

As it turns out there’s actually a party in full swing just down the street and we haven’t quite found it yet. Another group on foot tromps confidently past us and we follow them. There’s a band with a tuba on the street corner and some dancing. People are having a good time. It’s 1am and we’re making a whole lot of noise. There’s no denying that. But otherwise there’s nothing threatening or destructive about the group.

Jonah is the fellow who seems most responsible for the gathering. There’s no one quite “in charge,” of course, but he seems to know the most about what’s going on. Originally there was going to be a street party around Church and Wellesly but it was called off, he says, because it couldn’t be done safely. The alternative plan, to demonstrate outside the detention center, is apparently something that was approved by the police. I wasn’t there for that discussion so I can’t comment. But the idea seems like a good one. People have friends inside the building who are probably feeling awfully lonely and maybe even a bit scared. Noise from across the street is just a way to tell them they haven’t been forgotten.

Police Chief Bill Blair has repeatedly gone on record as saying that violent elements in the protests are hiding behind “the curious and the naive” to cause destruction and to threaten the G20 summit. By this point I’m surely one of those curious and naive people as far as he’s concerned. Yet I have a hard time seeing what damage we might contribute to–aside from disturbing a few local people in their sleep. And sorry about that, by the way. We are incredibly far away from the security fences at this point. That people bothered to come out this far is a testament to their commitment. There’s no one to threaten and little property to damage. The one time a few protesters begin to move aggressively towards police Jonah jumps in between them and with the firm weight of the crowd backing him up he prevents confrontation. This is a group that firmly wants to peacefully demonstrate. And to dance. As Jonah says, “our revolution includes dancing.”

David is a young guy up from New York University. He came for the event and he’s been going “nonstop since yesterday morning.” He says his weekend has been peaceful and it’s clear that’s all he wants. Nahum used to attend Conestoga College where he was working on a degree in television journalism (he didn’t finish) and he’s got ideas for peaceful protest. He thinks if enough people buy big bags of flour (just $3!) and dump them in the streets the city will turn white. I’m really not sure about that but it’s an interesting thought. And before anyone gets too fussed about the waste of it, consider the nearly one billion dollars spent on security. The friend who is with him thinks a lot of empty boxes on the streets with egg timers attached would be an effective diversion. I guess there are a lot of different views on these things. Sammy, who is with them, feels the protests have been “such an amazing experience” and she “understands where the violence is coming from.” She speaks three languages and is returning to school this year at Cégep de Saint-Laurent.

I’ve talked with a lot of people and haven’t yet managed to find a student from Toronto. Finally, I spot a t-shirt with CUPE 3903 blazoned across it. That’s York University. Jamie, the fellow wearing it, is just leaving. The band has dispersed and the police presence is growing. Caroline is gone too, intending to return for her boyfriend on Sunday. Everyone has to decide just how far they are willing to take the point they wish to make. Those who leave are respected just as those who stay. No judgment either way. The folks who remain are the ones I’m about to get arrested with. They’re decent, peaceful demonstrators, who came to make their point and tell their friends that they care. And we’ve got solid police lines blocking every exit.

This would be a good time to mention that whatever my role in Macleans On Campus, I don’t ordinarily rate a press pass. And I haven’t got one. I’m just another dude in a crowd that’s thinned out a little but is rapidly getting compressed into a very tight space on the sidewalk. Across the street is the media. I mean “the real” media. There are a dozen cameras all pointed at us with news crews just salivating at the potential for violence. When the media first arrived we were cheering them. They offered an opportunity to project a peaceful message and to make the sort of coherent point that’s been so lacking in news coverage. But now they sense blood and they aren’t interested in what anyone has to say. They’re just hoping for some tear gas and would love nothing more than to see me get clubbed on the head. Of everyone here assembled–protesters, police, the “curious and the naive”–no one is more bloodthirsty than the news crews.

Police are issuing their final ultimatum. They’ve determined that grounds for arrest are present. No word on quite what those are, but it’s clear they mean it. In the crowd the mood has shifted. Folks who were defiant when lines were formed across the street are assessing the merits of arrest and realize there’s little to be gained from it. But there’s also a skittish fear now. Police are insisting that we leave but there’s no exit available. There’s no way any lone protester wants to approach their lines but if we move as a group it will provoke confrontation.

Jonah brokers a deal and a hole forms in the western line. We’ll be allowed to leave, or so they say. Jonah can’t contain his skepticism, reminding everyone that police have lied once already (promising that protest, here, would be tolerated) but he adds that he 100 per cent believes that they really will arrest everyone. He’s got a point. Protesters link arms in ragged groups so that no one has to approach police lines alone. I join a couple of strangers and we walk out together, past police with their shields and their batons. A few threw minor taunts at them. I may have done so myself, if “try not to hurt anyone” is a taunt. At this point in the night it’s hard not to say something.

Leaving the site of the demonstration and near mass arrest, I find Janice who’s also from York and pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies. She feels the police presence has been draconian and excessive, and “really nothing something [she] would want to see in Canada.” She sounds disappointed and I can’t blame her. Ramsey, the fellow with her, cites police intimidation and bullying at this and other protest locations and praises the restraint of protest leaders such as Jonah. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a lot more tolerance and leadership emerging from amongst the protesters than from the police. I think it’s cultural. Before things got really tense there was a pretty chill police officer in from Peel Region who was chatting with us. He wouldn’t go on record and looked uncomfortable when his colleagues came over. That sort of thing isn’t encouraged.

There’s nothing for me to do except go home. I walk my bike past knots of police officers who make no attempt to hide their contempt for me. This morning, less than fourteen hours ago, I was delivering a keynote address to student leaders halfway across the country. Now I’m just inconvenient rabble on the streets of Toronto.

On the way out my new friend Maxim Winther, who biked in with me, offers to send me his photos of police lines for my story. His photo accompanies this article.


 

On the front lines at the G20

  1. Those policemen are heroes. I understand that you were on the other side of the line and that’s why it may seem excessive but after watching hours of footage I understand why police would be angry to see even peaceful people with no purpose down there. They NEED to be down there and have that authoritative presence. They are facing group of impossible people who are so selfish and unconcerned of others that they are ready to destroy anything that gets in their way. And you wonder why the police don’t applaud you for sitting out there with people partying in the streets? Really what do you expect? Should you even be out there?

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the coverage but at this point I am sick of seeing a bunch of people down there for no reason who are just impeding the cops’ ability to get to the criminals who are wreaking havoc on my city.

    I feel the same way as you, the city is my home (I am a student at U of T). I am devastated at what is happening down there. I see pictures of places where I’ve shopped and dined and buildings I recognize, and it’s so difficult to watch everything being ripped apart by these idiots.

    So at this point, I am equally as angry at those lingering bystanders. The ones who flood the streets just to catch a glimpse of the action. The people who were just shopping and then decided to join in for some fun or those people just camping out and partying. I have absolutely NO respect for those people. If you don’t have a legitimate cause and are not a police officer, you should NOT be down there. You are fueling to the fire. The police are absolutely right to say that the anarchists are hiding behind the curious and naive. They’re using YOU to shield them and you are enabling them to accomplish their goals. YOU ARE GETTING IN THE WAY and CONTRIBUTING TO THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR CITY. I have the highest respect for those police officers. They are defending their city and their home and showing such restraint while doing it. Yes they are intimidating but they are being completely reasonable. They offered you the option to leave and you left! Why are you complaining? They were perfectly dignified! Did you get arrested? No? Then don’t go out of your way to say that they’re being too forceful just because you are the one in the wrong.
    That being said I do appreciate your coverage and all the news and media that is present but I can’t possibly even count the number of people with news cameras in downtown who were just there for coverage and footage. It’s infuriating to see people walking around with cameras just letting it happen because they want to catch it on tape instead of actually stopping those people.

    It was almost like a stage, a movie set where these people were the stars and everyone around them is their audience. You add to their confidence. If everyone stayed away and let the police round them up, we wouldn’t have to worry that our beautiful city is being destroyed.

  2. Well said Ashley!

    Interesting that G8 leaders are for the most part are democratically elected. Black Bloc members, anarchists and violent protesters are not and they are given far too much attention.

    Police asked the crowd – including mob tourists – to go home.

    Did Jeff’s earlier version of his article not include suggestion that he too may have been heckling police?

  3. “Did Jeff’s earlier version of his article not include suggestion that he too may have been heckling police?”

    It did indeed, and I’m editing it back in as we speak. I don’t mind stylistic intervention into my writing, but the truth is the truth. At that point in the night, as I’m passing through an aisle of armed and armored storm troopers in genuine doubt as to whether or not I’ll make it through safely, all I could think of to say is “try not to hurt anyone.” If that’s heckling then I did it. And it may have been.

    For those who think I’ve somehow got a skewed version of things just because I actually mingled with protesters, I’ll urge you to actually go downtown and see for yourselves. Yes, I know that Police Chief Bill Blair has urged otherwise. You know what? Screw that. You say you’re sick of seeing the violence and burning police cars on the news? I’m bloody sick of it too, because it’s only one relatively small piece of the truth and yet it’s all anyone sees. And on the basis of that perspective you presume you know all you need to.

    For God’s sake don’t let the cameras – which are compulsively aimed at anything bleeding, burning, or shouting – dictate your impression of the truth. I generally respect police officers too. But my respect for the service they provide doesn’t amount to a blank cheque as soon as things get tough. The genuineness of their service and the reality of our civic values are tested exactly when things get rough. So please, don’t tell me they’re heroes just because the television has scared you into the conviction that any amount of force they might use is justified. See and judge for yourself.

  4. The thrill seeking vandal/cowards that have done so much damage in Toronto are in stark contrast to our brave policewomen and policemen who have performed admirably under very difficult circumstances.

    Only cowards hide their faces behind black masks.

    Genuine Canadians should help the police in every way possible to deal with these thugs. Getting these vandals off the streets as quickly as possible was important.

    Jeff you describe the gathering at the Toronto detention centre “as non-violent and as peaceful as any action on the streets could be.”

    You also wrote, “I’m left wondering what could possibly be done differently.”

    Let me suggest a few things.

    You might consider leaving promptly when police ask you to leave an area of conflict. Stay away from a volatile place where some violent people are being brought into custody.

    Don’t be part of making a lot of noise at 1 am. Refrain from taunting police. Refrain from blocking a bike path

    Upon arrival in Toronto you chose to go straight into to a highly volatile situation, very late at night. You were in part, a mob tourist.

    In your own words, “Kevin gives me the real story. The next place to be is outside the temporary detention center where those already arrested are being held” and you also wrote “I realize that if I’m going to find the action it’ll be at Pape and Eastern, where the detention center is located.”

    You wrote “It’s 1am and we’re making a whole lot of noise. . . . a few protesters begin to move aggressively towards police . . . We were loud. I’ll give them that. And it was 1am.”

    Of the nearby media you wrote, “But now they sense blood and they aren’t interested in what anyone has to say. They’re just hoping for some tear gas and would love nothing more than to see me get clubbed on the head. Of everyone here assembled–protesters, police, the “curious and the naive”–no one is more bloodthirsty than the news crews.”

    You also wrote “Police are issuing their final ultimatum . . . Police are insisting that we leave.”

    So Jeff, how can you describe this as “peaceful as any action on the streets could be?”

    Even the departure of the protest group you were in included agitation. You wrote “I join a couple of strangers and we walk out together, past police with their shields and their batons. A few threw minor taunts at them. I may have done so myself, if “try not to hurt anyone” is a taunt. At this point in the night it’s hard not to say something.”

    The police showed restraint, and Jeff and the others were free to leave!

    Jeff, your conclusion “There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a lot more tolerance and leadership emerging from amongst the protesters than from the police.” That Jeff could reach this conclusion after only a few hours in Toronto is, to me, a bit of a stretch.

    The headline for your next piece is “no room for peaceful protest.” Of course there is room for peaceful protest! This is Canada. Use logical and persuasive words.

    Your courage and truthfulness in restoring the missing sentence is admirable.

  5. The whole point, I think, is that you don’t need a reason to be anywhere in public, in regards to Ashley. With no regard to what others are doing, you always have a right to protest.

    An important point made in the article is what the police presence looks like to even an uninteresting person. Nobody seems to be asking why people are violent at these protests. Mix a feeling of alienation from the political system with the lack of response protesters often recieve and a feeling of intimidation felt by people with a distrust of the police met with rows of assault-rifled cops, and you can kind of see how people become violent protesters, even if you don’t agree with it.

  6. So in summary, Ashley, your thesis is that the way to avoid getting in trouble while engaged in peaceful protest is to completely and without objection surrender the right to peaceful protest and assembly as soon as police demand it.

    I thank you, in return, for being honest.

  7. Jeff, I was in the queen spadina protest this evening. It was very peaceful but none ever told us to disperse. They surrounded us from a distance and closed in. We never had the chance to go away peacefully.

    A fascinating thing happened at the shift changes of the riot police. New crews came in acting tough, and by the end of their shift couldn’t look into anyones eyes. The last shift we asked if we could use their riot shields for umbrellas and they looked very conflicted. On the one hand they were told all protesters want to hurt them, but all they could see were people shivering in the rain.

  8. Dear Jeff,
    I really don’t mean to sound critical but then I guess I have criticized. With regard to your comment about renouncing one’s legal right to peacefully protest as soon as police demand it. I wish you hadn’t put it that way but I suppose that is how I feel. The police both know and share our rights to peaceful assembly in Canada so I truly believe that when they ask us to dissemble, they have a reason to request such action. And if you haven’t noticed, I think that the anarchist group was definitely reason enough for the police to want the streets cleared. I did hear people were mistreated and I sympathize because I would never want to put in that situation myself. But that’s just it! I would likely never put myself in that kind of a predicament. When you go out there to protest, peacefully or violently, you assume the risk of being caught up in the mess of people down there. Not everyone has the same objectives as you and when there are thousands of people, some (though a small but certainly impactful group of people) of you will be caught in the shuffle.

    Can you truthfully tell me that while you were outside the detention center at 1am that you didn’t expect ANY altercation with the police whatsoever? Are you saying that none of you had any idea that there was a possibility you would be arrested even though you were demonstrating peacefully? You said yourself that people seemed well connected and well aware of where the ‘action’ is to be found. Would news of arrests not travel? Do people not have cellphones and smart phones now?

    When you go out there, peaceful or not, you should be aware of the risks associated with your actions, and if you aren’t aware of those risks then you REALLY have no point of being there.
    You said that I basically stated “the way to avoid getting in trouble while engaged in peaceful protest is to completely and without objection surrender the right to peaceful protest and assembly as soon as police demand it” and now I have to ask YOU, do you WANT to get in trouble? If not, then dissipate when the police tell you to do so. And if you want to run that risk, do not blame the cops and media for having warned you.
    Even with regards to Brian’s comment above of not being given the option to leave peacefully, by today, one should have known that even peaceful protesters and media workers like that producer at CTV were being arrested for seemingly ‘poor’ reasons. If you did not have the desire to get ‘in trouble’ then you should have stayed away because the police have bigger fish to fry and I’ll bet if you asked them, they would rather not have had hundreds of detainees (most of which were probably just peaceful demonstrators) locked up in that awful facility.

  9. Also, thank you ‘Was a sentence taken out of this article?’ I am never usually this bold and I really appreciate the support!

  10. Anyone who destroys other people’s property are wrong regardless of their intention. They should pay for the damage. Who ever litter the streets are not environmentists? They should be shame for themselves. People protest in the name of anti-proverty. Use your money from the plane tickets and donate it the the charity ,. Or use your energy for 1 day to build a house for Habitat to show your support. The opportunities are endless….Yet they prefer to wait till G20 to show their intention and protest. Normal people will not do that. These so called protesters used all their energy to destroy our city. Why? ARe they devils in disguise?

  11. WELL OVER A BILLION DOLLARS WASTED ON WHAT? THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!

  12. No deaths. No major injuries. No buildings burnt down.

    One difficulty for “peaceful protesters” is that there were so many causes represented, overshadowed by the violence, that legitimate causes went essentially unnoticed.

    How many in the crowd were truly “peaceful protesters?” When does a truly “peaceful protester” become part of the mob, or a simply a “mob tourist?” How many were simply “mob tourists?”

    For Jeff to post the following in the midst of a highly volatile situation strikes me as irresponsible.

    Jeff wrote; “I’ll urge you to actually go downtown and see for yourselves. Yes, I know that Police Chief Bill Blair has urged otherwise. You know what? Screw that.”

    I believe Canadian law askes Canadian citizens to follow the instructions of the police in such situations.

    Jeff described a park with lots of litter/bottles.

    Clearly many enjoyed the fruits of “corporate greed” when they drank, and the crowd also abandoned the most basic environmental principals when leaving so much litter.

    It’s in such little things that a “cause” is really lived out with integrity.

    Ashley, you’re welcome.

  13. “I believe Canadian law askes Canadian citizens to follow the instructions of the police in such situations.”

    With due respect, your belief is wrong and you should better educate yourself. If the state wishes to compel obedience from its citizens it can do so by declaring a true state of emergency. Otherwise, suggestions from figures in authority are only that – suggestions.

    We disagree over approach. I can live with that. But please, don’t be in such a hurry to imagine that every time a figure in authority tells you something you have a legal obligation to obey.

  14. In the midst of this sometimes violent situation, in the context of this summit, with violent and active criminals hidding in the crowd, the police had every right – legally – to ask people to clear areas of difficulty.

    Common sense also says that if the police have their hands full with criminals who are causing significant damage – and the police ask others to leave – that people do so, peacefully. To encourage additional onlookers to come to these areas of volatility is, in my view, irresponsible.

    I do not for a moment imagine that every time a figure in authority tells me something I have a legal obligation to obey.

  15. My rights under section 7 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (right to life, liberty and security of person) overrule your rights under section 1 (including freedom of assembly) when the demonstration is not longer peaceful. The police were obligated by section 7 to disperse the mob that threatened the peace, law, order and safety of the citizens in the area. I watched the protest on Queen Street, and I can say as a first hand witness that the protestors cast the first stone and the police responded appropriately.

  16. Let’s back up here. What “Was a sentence taken out of this article?” suggested (honestly, dude, I gonna call you Bob) is that citizens had a legal obligation to stay out of the downtown core, as requested by Bill Blair. What’s happening at the scene of a protest demonstration may be a different matter. But to suggest that there is a law requiring “Canadian citizens to follow the instructions of the police” when asked to stay home, and accept the official narrative of events regarding what’s happening in their city rather than see for themselves, is dangerously naive.

    @Greg – Different discussion point, but I’m glad you were able to see the situation for yourself and form your own opinions about it. That is -exactly- what I was advocating in my comment, and what Bob suggested was illegal.

  17. When I wrote “I believe Canadian law asks Canadian citizens to follow the instructions of the police in such situations” I was speaking about places where there was a safety concern, damage to property, violence and other criminal activity. These were apparently moving pockets. I think my follow-up phrases “areas of volatility” speaking of places “with violent and active criminals” makes that pretty clear.

    Additional mob tourists added into the mix is unhelpful.

    Bob

  18. I completely agree with Greg and ‘Bob’.
    Very basically, if you aren’t helping, you are getting in the way. I’m not sure what the motivation is to whip out the old constitution is, it mostly sounds like people want to be purposely rebellious. Frankly, it seems rather similar to teen angst, rebelling with no cause. To see that you are concealing individuals of possible threat just because you want to stand in a square and block an intersection is quite dangerous and childish. Imagine you’re on the road and an ambulance is trying to get by. Why do we have the legislation that dictates we have to move over to let the proper authorities go through traffic? Because they have larger issues at hand (ie. saving a human life) and if you’re going to keep driving 40 km/hr right in front of them, are you helping or hindering their ultimate cause or should you argue that the streets are free for you to drive wherever and whenever you like so long as you follow traffic signs?

  19. Pingback: Jeff Rybak.ca » Ongoing G20 coverage

  20. As a citizen, I deeply appreciate this sensitive and wry account. It’s without rancour or rhetoric — probably the most balanced piece of reportage that I’ve seen so far on what took place last weekend. As a professor, I really like your writing. As the mother of Jonah, I’m proud to read this telling of the peaceful action that he and so many others took part in.

  21. I think the major problem is that this so called country, is still a colony, stolen from the Anishnaabe ,used and abused, since it has no legitimate foundations like a scorned child.
    Just like the Indian Act was NOT written by Indians..

    And my late father-in-law told me many stories about the Nazi’s in his homeland; the striking similarities to this affront to Canadian Rights is proof positive the police state is in full emergence under this present repressive regime. And the media and government security forces (these guys didn’t look like they be ‘serving & protecting’ anyone but their political masters) carrying on about these so called ‘anarchists’, seems to me to be more of a red herring and a chance to ramp up the exercise of crowd suppression. Watching cars burn while police did nothing seemed like a choreographed move to incite maximum angst within the citizenry to propel crys of Peace Order and Good Government! But I think anyone who believes that 5,100 cops were needed to protect these G-hooligans also believes we are bringing democracy, peace and WalMart western values to Afghanistan. Hmmm I believe it was P.T. Barnum who coined the phrase “..There’s one born every minute!”

    If they were true to their characters, these political hooligans would take cover inside a heavily armed Canadian Forces Base. At least then the fairy tale of democratic rights and freedoms would not need to be lauded then trampled under so much shouting,shield banging Polize.
    Let’s hope Mr. Harper does need any more self agrandizement to support his fragile and obviously brittle ego.
    Swing Heil Baby!

  22. Pingback: Jonah Hundert – “The other fellow in our cage was a diabetic. He was already sick when he joined us, but he was clearly getting worse by the second. We literally watched him fading away in front of us. For four bloody hours we tried to get med

  23. quote – “I’m not sure what the motivation is to whip out the old constitution is, it mostly sounds like people want to be purposely rebellious.”

    Uhm. No. Defying the constitution is a criminal, fascist rebellion against the democractic nation, and it is being committed by the government and police. That’s the whole point that seems to be flying over your pointy, totalitarian head.

  24. Both Mayor Miller & Police Chief Blair held a press conference after the Black Bloc vandalism on Saturday evening and told people that, despite the vandalism, Toronto was open for business, peaceful protest was welcomed and that police would facilitate it.

    Posters here claiming that people should have avoided downtown must also not believe what the police and Mayor say. After several deceptions by Chief Blair about temporary laws and displaying unrelated weapons, perhaps they are right not to trust the word of the police.

    16 police cars were torched & many windows broken when Montreal last won the Stanley Cup & only 16 arrests. Police actions at the G20 in Toronto were deliberately brutal and dehumanizing.