Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can You Spot The Difference?

Police tactics against the thugs:
I spent a considerable amount of time on Saturday breathlessly running alongside black bloc anarchists, documenting an unprecedented reign of destruction on the streets of Toronto. I saw them congregate and collaborate in the early afternoon hours, hatching a heinous plan that would leave indelible scars on our city, both financial and psychological. I saw them lob rocks at retreating police, smash and burn cruisers, spray-paint numerous structures with revolutionary slogans, and shatter windows with a seemingly insatiable appetite. I saw them target members of the media, myself included, with taunts, sticks and rocks.

What I didn’t see Saturday were any arrests taking place while this violence was occurring. If the security agenda on Saturday was to prevent the black bloc from reaching the G20 Security Fence, it was a success. But throughout a large portion of the downtown core a frightening ‘anything goes’ aura had spread.
Police tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists:
On Sunday, I followed and took pictures of a peaceful march down King Street and up Bay towards Queen, to its final ill-fated destination at the intersection of Queen and Spadina. I saw no one in disguise. I saw no violence, vandalism, or hostility. Smiling demonstrators chanted, danced, and walked together.

The crowd was comprised of the young and elderly, men and women, and families with young children. It was what any sensible law-abiding citizen likely imagined a G20 march was supposed to be --- an expression of solidarity and hope for a better world.

Despite this obvious contradiction, I soon saw riot police closing in. I saw their jet black batons, their massive shields and tear gas guns. I saw numerous arrests being made, and in the end I saw first hand the inner workings of the makeshift G20 prison on Eastern Avenue.

This is how I became a G20 jailbird.
The cops were allied with the anarchists, as both groups justified each others' existence. So, the cops left the anarchists to do their grim work on the downtown of Toronto. On the other hand, peaceful protesters singing the national anthem, was something the cops could never abide. Goddamn hippies.
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