This note attempts to explain why the public has become so damned angry with the Police and the government over the course of the G8/20 Summit week. There is much to complain about, including the class-dividing wall in Toronto, and the wars and exploitation that continue to be perpetuated at the hands and bequest of the G20 leaders.
Of course the public has a right to be upset with what they have seen of the rioters as well. Indeed, the police and media ensured you witnessed images of the riots and burning police cars; but there's more to what happened than just that.
98% of the protesters on Saturday during the G20 Summit were very peaceful.
A handful, of about 100, were members of an anarchist squad who were intent on distracting the police in order to break down the giant wall barrier they built through downtown Toronto. The wall, disturbingly, was reminiscent of a Stalinist or Fascist regime. It created Fortress Toronto - a sort of serfdom in a Feudalist society, where only the 'nobles' and class-leaders were allowed in and the peasants kept locked out.
For one, it was very undemocratic to have built such a wall in the first place. But, this note is not necessarily about the wall, per se. It's about the defence of our civil liberties against the police in the wake of the riots that occurred as a result of the G20 being held in Toronto.
This is also about the defence of our civil liberties against hooligans who promulgate violence. Consider that as soon as the anarchists went on a rampage, the police did nothing. They let them do it. We can say they allowed them to do the rampage since they observed it and made no effort to stop it from going on. Why not?? Why didn't they?
Indeed, during the riots, up to four police cruisers were set on fire. However, these were cars that were placed in key intersections, completely stripped of their interiors and weapons. They were decoys, meant to provoke violence. In a city swarming with an army of 20,000 police and security personnel, why was it that they were left unattended and free to burn? Why were agent provocateurs allowed to incite the crowd to destroy them even further? (see video link below).
Then, after they allowed it to happen, they used it as the pretence to begin mass arrests. They abused thousands of people, and arrested 900. These mass arrests basically represent collective punishment. It's like what Israel does to Palestinians. And they were a first in Canadian history.
Then, according to the Toronto Star, they attacked the DESIGNATED protest zone with a calvary of 19 galloping horses, after corralling the protesters into a circle, and ran them over. Admittedly, the police DID give them a few seconds warning to move, but as the Star put it, it was hardly enough time to move. Surprisingly, no one was seriously injured.
THEN they went into a University of Toronto dormitory in the middle of the night and arrested everyone within the dormitory, regardless of evidence. Admittedly, there were bricks and black clothes found in the bushes nearby, but that's hardly an excuse to arrest everyone within an entire building and bring them to a detention centre. It's like bloody Tehran.
Then they corralled hundreds of people in downtown Toronto at Queen and Spadina in a torrential downpour (one of the largest single downpours in Toronto's history), regardless if they were protesters or simply bystanders, and for a good 3 hours did not let them leave or get shelter. They subsequently arrested everyone with no cause.
Then they brought the people to a detention centre where people were fed only 2 small dixie cups of water per day, and only 2 cheese sandwiches per day. People were kept in cells that were made for 15 but they rammed up to 40 people in them at a time. It was like a temporary internment camp in Sri Lanka.
Some of the protesters who were brought into this internment centre were children under 18. And some were female who were subjugated to male strip searchers. There have also been accusations by female journalists of police threating to 'gang rape' them.
This is not to mention all the countless fractures and cuts and bruises they inflicted on hundreds of otherwise peaceful protesters. This is in addition to the countless rights abuses and illegal detentions leading up to the summit, such as my own on the Thursday prior.
Plus, nothing justifies how the Ontario government passed secret legislation to revoke our right to not carry identification, and to be subject to arrest simply for not answering a cop's question.
None of these actions explain or justify why this summit should have happened in Toronto. Nor does it explain why the leaders of the G20 - the group with the greatest ability to end oppression and exploitation, wage slavery, and the unequal treatment of humanity - don't end all these abuses and make things right in the world. (1% of military spending could feed the hungry). But of course, as we know, making things right wouldn't serve the corporate and financial interests they are immediately beholden to.
This entire weekend was morally reprehensible on the part of the government; I will never forget this weekend. I, personally, was violated when I was searched against my will and under protest before the summit even began. Admittedly, I was wearing a T-shirt that read 'Fuck the G20'. However, it is my right to wear a political protest shirt and not be subject to wanton searches. It should be noted that most of the police I spoke to or dealt with - even while wearing the T-shirt - were genuinely very cool and composed, even friendly, leading up to the Summit.
The police became much too abusive however, and broke the trust of the public. They abused their authority and exploited their position of power.
Not to mention, the police had undercover agents there to provoke the violence on Saturday, which, to me, is tantamount to entrapment. And lastly, on the 29th, the police chief admitted that there was no 5 metre arrest and interrogation law - which means that there was a systemic and institutional plan to abuse the public's charter rights. This is all a travesty of justice.
So tell me what's worse: Some broken material objects? Or physical attacks on people and democracy?
If you are in any way enlightened, I hope you'll agree it's the latter.
Here are some links that may provide some light on the issue:
Footage of provocateurs (at least the 2 bald and muscular men)