My G20 Weekend - The Intrepid

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My G20 Weekend

Riot Police at Spadina Avenue and Richmond Street. This particular gentlemen from Barrie starting tapping his feet along to a drum beat that was coming from the crowd of protesters. He stopped after I noticed.

For the duration of the Toronto G20 Summit, I was on the street helping Torontoist provide live coverage (which you can check out here). And boy, was it exhausting. On Monday, my feet still kind of hurt from all the walking.

What I saw over the weekend was, for the most part, fairly peaceful. Police and protesters may not have been bestest buddies, but the majority were respectful of each other.

It's a shame the way things fell apart. This experience could have been a great learning opportunity, for everyone involved.

G20 Toronto Budget VanThe police rented numerous vehicles to help transport officers and equipment, including this Budget Rental van.

G20 Toronto Riot Police Tear GasRiot police at Richmond and John Streets prepare to confront protesters on Queen Street West.

The violence and destruction perpetrated on Saturday by Black Bloc members (for lack of a better term) was heinous, and hopefully the individuals involved will be swiftly brought to justice. Unfortunately, the extreme measures taken by police, including the use of a fictional law to search and detain individuals, will probably mean that many will end up going free. (Lawyers shouldn't have too much trouble punching holes in the dubious arrest procedures.)

G20 Toronto St. James Protesters Police WallThe wall of police the St. James Protesters met at King Street West and Bay Street.

G20 Toronto St. James Protesters Media WallThe media circus the St. James Protesters ran into at King Street West and Bay Street.

The police, well...they fucked up badly. Unnecessary arrests, intimidation tactics, brutal treatment of prisoners, assaulted journalists, kettling—the summit's security forces have a lot to answer for.

The black bloc are not a group of super genius ninjas; they're a bunch of whimpy douches. The fact that more than 15,000 officers couldn't stop them suggests either gross managerial incompetence, or that security forces somehow knowingly let things spiral out of control. Neither of which is acceptable.

Police forces faced an enormous law enforcement challenge this past weekend, but not one that justified suspending the civil rights of everyone in the city.

We need an inquiry.

You can read all of Torontoist's coverage here. (If you're looking for more in-depth coverage, I highly recommend Christopher Bird and Christopher Drost's fantastic G20 Dispatches.) Photos by Stephen M.

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