Posted at June 28, 2010
I’m fairly mainstream, so this is going to reflect my admittedly mainstream opinions, but here goes my takes on the G20 protests and riots:
- I don’t especially care about the G20. There’s something a mite presumptuous about a group of countries declaring themselves the world’s financial leaders (even if it’s arguably true), and it’s a magnet for all the anti-globalization people.
- Also: locking down chunks of downtown Toronto from the public? That’s just bad. We had security areas here during the olympics, but aside from the viaducts they weren’t too disruptive, and the venues were accessible to the members of the public who’d laid out the necessary chunk of cash for tickets.
- My heart goes out to the protestors. I’m not an activist, but I respect activists, even those I disagree with. I’d rather read the latest missive from Harsha Walia than most newspaper editorials. They provide a vital counterpoint to the increasingly corporate and consolidated mainstream media, and without them Canada would be a much poorer country.
- That said, respect for “diversity of tactics” is shit. I make the distinction between protestors and vandalizing douchebags. Smashing windows and lighting cars on fire makes me want the police to arrest them.
- And the other side: there are reports that the police cars lit on fire were left behind for the protestors to torch. And let’s compare it to Montreal’s hockey riots of 2008, where 14 police cars were torched.
I think that most of the protestors probably didn’t condone the violence. I suspect that if the G20 meetings had gone on for another week, there’d be no repeat because the legitimate protestors would’ve been scared off having any large-scale demonstrations due to the people who would use that as an excuse to start smashing shit.
But there’s no excusing the massive police lockdown. This is almost certainly going to be the defining video of the protests:
- From what I can gather, the video is from a protest on Sunday, not the big one on Saturday. The mass arrests on Sunday are going to have severe repercussions.
- This clearly was the police’s script.
- This article is too conspiracy-theory-ish for my tastes (the boots? Really?), but there almost certainly were police provocateurs in the riots. Just you wait.
Marc: I watched a little news Saturday on the TV; I paid a little attention to the radio on Sunday; Sunday evening I chatted with a friend who lives in the area. So I’m not really that well informed. But this is the Internet! Why should that stop me from having an opinion?
The police did overreact on Sunday: Steve Paikin related some incidents in the Ottawa Citizen, and my friend on the scene saw some as well. Nevertheless, I’m far more upset by the mayhem of Saturday. Who was it that was smashing windows, torching cars, attacking stores, terrifying little old ladies who were trying to make their way down Yonge? While certainly many non-violent protesters were thrown into temporary detention or bruised by batons, how many of the vandals and thugs will actually receive some meaningful punishment, something that will deter them in the future?
Of course the police had spies within the crowd, possibly some even dressed as members of the “Black Bloc”; but to claim that there were « agents provocateurs » is a grave charge. Evidence please?
Any time the police use force on a group, innocent people will be injured. But, before condemning the police, you have to ask whether there would have been more or less violence and destruction had the police not been present — in this case, if they had all taken the weekend off and gone to the cottage. I think the answer is clear.
Krista Legum: Great information :)