While waiting at the optometrists for our yearly eye exams, I happened to spy a MacLeans magazine perched on top of a pile of waiting room reading materials. The image on the front cover leapt to my eyes. It was of a young, thin man with his arms raised and his face covered with a WWII era gas mask, standing defiantly in front of a blazing police cruiser. The cover photo was the same as the one above except that the “Canada’s Gross National Product sign had been conspicuously cropped out. The caption read, “Lock Them Up: Why the G20 thugs don’t deserve any leniency“…. I chuckled a bit out loud and commented under my breath “who are the thugs you’re referring to exactly”, meaning that the Police and Security forces brought in could easily have been mistaken for thugs this past weekend.
I thought I’d have a quick read, hoping to find a glimpse of a neutral and balanced examination of the “thuggery” and how the parties on all sides played their respective roles. I expected some criticism of the Police for not using (even once) the very costly water cannon vehicle to at least extinguish the burning wreck of a cop car, let alone blast the so-called Black Bloc anarchists into the next postal code. But, alas, I was sorely mistaken. Instead, I found a rather contrite and slightly apologetic treatise on how the city was man-handled by this relatively small band of anti-capitalists. They certainly packed a rather large punch, media wise, compared to the over 25,000 peaceful protestors who marched down Toronto’s streets over the course of the three days. Not much ado was made of the peaceful protestors, and plenty of the window smashers and car blower-uppers. It hardly seemed a fair analysis, considering that people had reported being harrangued for simply being too close to the security fencing. Surely the anarchists would have had a much rougher time with the police? And yet, by all accounts they did not. So, why now the “off with their heads!” battle cry? It doesn’t make sense to close the barn door after the cows have run away. After reading the article I knew I had to clear up a few points. I just cannot let such blatent ignorance go unchallenged. I’ll do my best to break the article down, paragraph by paragraph to expose the blatent lies and deceptive inferences that imply that a witch-hunt is now in order.
The article begins by saying: “In downtown, Toronto gangs of highly motivated thugs torched four police cars and broke storefront windows of dozens of businesses during a wild spree of G20 violence. Police responded by arresting more than 900 protesters and bystanders.” It should be noted that none of these “thugs” were of the 900 arrested. The author wrongly implies that 900 Black Bloc (and witnesses) were arrested. If this were true you wouldn’t need to find them, would you?
“What took place on the streets of Toronto was indeed a serious situation, yet anxiety over the behaviour of police is wildly overdone.” I would vehemently argue that this is not the case, and I encourage anyone who disagrees to go to Youtube and view footage shot of the various police officers randomly beating people, bullying them, dragging them and of the comments coming from the “innocent bystanders” MacLeans refers to who testify of the deplorable conditions in the makeshift detention center at Toronto Film Studio’s.
“Those responsible for the damage should be the focus of society’s anger. Only the professionalism and preparedness of police prevented circumstances from being much worse.” Excuse me, but 1.5 billion dollars bought a heck of a lot of fence, police and security and equipment to handle the so-called thugs. Why wasn’t it used I wonder?
“Rather than an inquiry, we need further police effort to ensure every one of those lawless thugs is brought to justice.” Well, it seems as if arresting 900 peaceful protestors wasn’t enough, now after the event has long gone, we now need increased police presence to bring the real criminals to justice. An inquiry seems a bit silly, I guess…..(tongue in cheek). I mean, we’re obviously not safe anymore, right? We just need more police and fewer rights and freedoms and we can all sleep better at night.
“Overheated arguments from the CCLA and others regarding mass arrests and claims of police brutality need to be kept in perspective. Many of the complaints seem to involve the quality of the sandwiches in detention. Or that the police banged their batons on their shields in an “intimidating” manner. It’s possible many of those arrested for breach of the peace were not directly involved in any violence. But they were released in a matter of hours. Canadians’ constitutional rights have survived the ordeal unscathed.” I know that one woman would have plenty to say about police brutality. In her ‘testimony’, she recounts how she was grabbed, thrown into a van, sat on by a very large ‘officer’ who punched her and choked her until she nearly passed out, threatened her, deprived her of water, and more. You can read her description of events here: http://rabble.ca/babble/activism/my-experience-g20-detention-centre . As for Canadians’ constitutional rights surviving unscathed… I guess that depends on which side of the fence you’re on. I’m pretty sure the right to peaceful assembly (as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) was certainly scathed for about 900 detainees.
“It is necessary to keep the violence that did occur in perspective as well. Recall that when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2007-2008 NHL playoffs, street havoc also ensued. And those Montreal rioters managed to torch or smash 16 police cars. So by at least one measure, the G20 conflagration produced only one-quarter of the damage created by a run-of-the-mill hockey riot. Further to the point, there were no injuries significant enough to mention and the riot earned only modest international attention. This was no Bosnia in the 1990s. It wasn’t even Montreal in April.”….Well, then what’s all the fuss about then, if it wasn’t as bad as all that? The riot earned only modest attention, by MSM (mainstream media) standards because that’s what MSM does, it only shows what it wants too… the people were certainly there along with hundreds of photographers and independant journalists, but most of them were arrested (like Charles Veitch of Love Police fame, Dan Dicks of PressForTruth.ca, and Luke Rudkowski of We Are Change New York, who was denied entry into Canada altogether).
“But consider what might have happened without this massive investment in security. Had the “black bloc” anarchists responsible for the extant street damage penetrated the security fence and disrupted the actual G20 events, the international attention would have been much more significant, and the damage done to Canada’s reputation far greater. Whatever steps the police took to prevent this from happening were both necessary and welcome” Police either politely looked the other way, or weren’t there altogether while all this was going on. In fact, some YouTube evidence exists that police provocateurs were involved in the street damage as was the practice at the Montebello, Montreal SPP protest.
“Beyond the role of the police, however, there’s another reason—largely overlooked—why a major security catastrophe was averted: the global protest movement appears to be losing steam. This statement is assinine, and reflects the complete lack of research done by this publication. The United States Tea parties, the riots in Greece, Iceland, etc.. are exactly about the global protest movement. Perhaps said author, should get out more, or at least watch some YouTube.
The mass of protesters agreed on very little other than a general sense of unhappiness with the status quo, whatever it might be. Issues seen and heard from the crowd ranged from animal liberation to legalization of marijuana to the treatment of homosexuals in Iran. There was no consistent message, other than the minority position on the desirability of broken windows. Only after the fact have protesters managed to coalesce around a common theme of alleging police brutality. Yet it bodes poorly for the future of the protest movement if the only coherent argument it can muster involves the reaction of others to itself.” This argument is like asking which came first the chicken or the egg. It is rediculous to say that 25,000 peaceful protestors who managed to show up on three separate days, have speeches, create placards and signs etc.. failed to show a consistent message. The message is just that.. the people are unhappy. The fact that the author could care less about the small issues as much as the big ones makes him an ignorant idiot. As well, the fact these kind of issues are not MSM fodder, does not mean that those who got arrested got what was coming to them. The people who showed up to protest expected to vent their concerns and feel a part of the democratic system that encourages their right to free speech and assembly without the threat of being arrested or assaulted. I’m pretty sure no one who was arrested wanted their head smashed into the pavement just to make a point. And the future of the protest movement is now unfortunately tainted with distrust of the police who are supposed to be guardians of the public.
The author goes on to state that: “Bringing the world’s major economies back to fiscal balance is crucial to closing the book on the Great Recession. Was this accomplishment, significant though it may be, worth the candle?” I guess my question to this question would be: “Significant for whom?” Who, (if not the people living under the governments represented at the G20, and better yet, those protesting), are the recipients of the gains made at this years conference? Will we, the people, see improvements to our economies? Or will we see a group of corporatists put us all further in debt?
In my opinion, the “roving lawlessness” demonstrated at this years G20 went unopposed. Why? Perhaps it was a “dry run”, a test situation, used to feel the pulse of the Canadian people. We are, after all, one of the healthier economies in these days of economic collapse. The global awakening, as Zbigniew Bryzinski stated, is one of the greatest challenges to the Globalist Agenda. People don’t want their countries turned into corporations, plain and simple. And whether Black Bloc or the guy up the block, we need to continue to say so.
“We feel it is important as well to stand together with the rest of the movement in solidarity and opposition, but at the same time visibly apart in our presence and analysis. It is time we spoke about what we want, both within the anti-globalization movement and to the world at large. It’s time for the world to hear the voices behind the masks.” The Black Bloc Papers (2002)