Ignore this post. Well read it anyway and get a sense that I was pretty lulled by the media that yes bad things happened, but they happened to the right people. After reading about how Blair lied about the 5 metre zone outside the fence (and apparently all over Toronto in some cops’ minds), I think both anarchists and police are douchebags.
You might have heard that there was a big summit in town with everyone getting angry and pissed off for some reason or another. If you were in Toronto this weekend you were either a cop trying to maintain the peace with extra super-cop powers added on, or you were an anarchist using Black Bloc tactics to get your message across, whatever that stupid message may be (well done boys and girls!) or you were like the majority of us, curious, on-looking, wondering how much our liberties were being eroded, worried the protesters are right but at the same time, thankful there are draconian dragoons whisking nere-do-wells behind the black wall of Kevlar amour, quickly subduing the rabble and carting them away.
Because this is the internet, and because I NEED TO EXPRESS MY OPINION, here’s my thoughts on the weekend:
I think the cops did an excellent job, right up to Sunday night. They might have been rough on some people, and they might have clubbed innocent journalists, but considering their job was to keep calm, follow orders and intimidate the wrong-doers, I think they did that exceptional job, judging by all I’ve read/seen on TV. I do say “up to Sunday night” where things turned bizarre. I’m referring to the corralling of a couple hundred people at the corner of Queen and Spadina, holding them tight for hours in the pouring rain and then releasing most of them without explanation. Police later said they suspected anarchists being amongst the crowd. From many sources who were inside the corral, including a Globe and Mail journalist, it seems 90% of the crowd were people just observing, innocent only for watching a small group of protesters doing their thing.
Reading various reports from journalists and regular people alike (and attempting to remove the hyperbole) I still get the sense that the police (or the people who instructed the riot cops) over-reacted. Extra, super new rights-stripping law in place or not, I got the sense that someone jumped the gun or fell asleep at the wheel in this particular police action. The intimidation got out of hand, which led to the cops waiting it out and releasing the crowd (after some purely Kafkaesque dialogue/actions).
After all is said and done, the best quote from the whole shebang comes from Christopher Bird and Christopher Drost, reporters for Torontoist.com who were on the ground during the Saturday Queen Street cop car buringin (emphasis mine):
In the exterior lobby of the Queen and John Starbucks, a group of protesters formed a human shield covering one of their own, who was apparently getting bandaged up after being struck in the head by cops (according to the group). The protesters got loud when an Italian reporter tried to take shots of the man, demanding their privacy. “You don’t have a legal right to privacy,” I pointed out, and the protesters rightly responded that “this isn’t about legal rights, it’s about being a human being.” And you know, that’s totally fair. What I should have said: “If you complain about being made the centre of attention when you’ve come out expressly to attract attention, you’re an idiot.”
In my opinion, the cops were utterly transparent in their handling of all things public. They may have tried some fearful intimidation on innocent people but they didn’t try to hide it – you got caught in their web, you paid the price. Inversely the anarchists hid behind masks and terrorist-like actions and cry about their freedoms. Irony all around, my friends.