• G20: It’s Like The Canadiens Just Won a Playoff Game

    by  • June 26, 2010 • Uncategorized • 70 Comments

    I went out and wandered around during the G20 yesterday. Here’s what I saw

    This is a view onto Yonge and Wellington at around 2PM yesterday afternoon:


    At the intersection of Yonge and Wellington, this fellow told me that there was no access to Wellington unless you had ID permitting you to be there:


    It became very clear after a few minutes of talking to him that this wasn’t the case at all. The police do not seem to have been particularly well co-ordinated yesterday – it was very easy to just walk around individual barricades. I walked north one block to King Street, which doesn’t usually look like this on a Saturday:


    A block down Bay Street and I was on Wellington. That’s the controversial fence there in the background:


    Here’s the sign on the fence. I went to the Jays-Cards game on Thursday night and none of these signs were up. One of my biggest complaints about the whole thing is the law that was passed quietly. I assume the reason that these signs weren’t up then was that the police and the government were trying to keep the law quiet:


    This is looking north, up University Avenue. The police were setting shifting perimeters to try and keep the protestors away from the fence. If the cops didn’t identify you as a potential threat, you were able to move around pretty freely. It was kind of reminiscent of what you read about how hard it is to fight guerilla wars if you’re the superior power. The protestors made it sort of easy for the police by approaching downtown in a large group. If they had moved in in small groups of two or three, keeping some of the more obvious signs that they were protestors hidden, I don’t know how the police could have stopped them from making it to the fence.



    Soldiers on the streets of our cities. In Canada:


    Looking west on King, just east of Yonge. This is while the cop cars were on fire:


    While the police were adamant that I couldn’t walk west on King on that point, they weren’t really securing things. I walked half a block south to Colborne Street, where there were no police, and walked west:


    The police shut down this woman’s hair appointment and closed the salon:


    Two Russian tourists out walking around Toronto with a bottle of tequila. Good guys, who figure that they’re going to get arrested:


    The most intimidating thing I saw from the police was when the riot police advanced. They would beat on their shields with their batons in unison. Definitely not something I’d want to be on the other side of:


    At the intersection of Bay and King:




    CIBC’s unfortunate new motto:


    Arrests on King Street. The girls being arrested said that they were arrested because they refused an order to move.


    I zoomed in on the placard in the back of the unmarked police van. It looks to me like it’s a statement of rights of persons arrested, I guess to make it easier for the police to advise them of their rights?


    After going home to watch the Ghana-USA game and charge my camera battery, I went out again. We quickly happened across a deserted Terroni, which has good food. So we stopped and ate.


    These people had umbrellas in a convertible. They don’t seem to get how convertibles work:


    The police were using Greyhounds to shuttle the riot crews around. I observed a lot of unmarked, unlighted police cars running red lights, which struck me as awfully dangerous:


    It’s hard to tell what this vehicle is but it has mesh wire for windows and is completely unmarked. I’ve never seen anything like it:


    This fellow, who I think was OPP, was taking pictures of people observing the police. I’m a little troubled by this – he clearly wasn’t filming any trouble, just taking pictures of people who happened to be there observing. One wonders what sort of files the police build and whether the pictures that they take will be shared with other police forces outside of Canada:


    The police have rented a lot of vehicles for this. Judging by the driving I’ve seen, if you rented a vehicle to the police, they probably took at least that much value out of it. Lots of vehicles getting driven very hard. Also, the location of stickers has been unfortunate:


    I have to admit, as someone with a UofT Scotiabank loan, I’m sympathetic to these people:



    But then the bastards went too far:




    One other point – I’ll probably write a longer point about this at some point but the police pretty obviously infiltrated what was going on. I observed some persons who I can only assume were police, at the northeast corner of Bay and King, stowing protest flags in a police van. They were dressed like protestors and had nothing on them to indicate that they were police, something that everyone else I saw had.


    70 Responses to G20: It’s Like The Canadiens Just Won a Playoff Game

    1. Mike W
      June 26, 2010 at

      I wonder what Taylor Hall would think of this…

    2. June 26, 2010 at

      Look at that bourgeois pig on her cell phone. Doesn’t she know that CAPITAL KILLS!?

    3. June 26, 2010 at

      What did people expect anyway? They held a summit of the Americas in 2001 in Québec City and the RCMP and Sureté du Québec ended teargassing half of downtown (where the summit was held).

      Ever since Seattle 98, that’s what happens when they hold that kind of conference in a big city and yet, they keep doing this.

      The people and mayor and businessmen of Québec City all agreed, it was a mistake to accept hosting such an event and they won’t ever do that again.

      It’s sad, really, that nobody in TO tought of asking those people why they said that on record before saying yes to that summit.

    4. lowetide
      June 26, 2010 at

      Well that’s what happens when you buy a Ford.

    5. Mike W
      June 26, 2010 at

      I love how the “Black Bloc” is just 18-23 year-olds that look like the dogmatic, dim-bulb douches I went to University with. There is literally no articulate message, so it’s really just Habs-fan-esque vandalism more than anything.

      Want to end violence? Spend a part of that 1 billion on reserving all hostel rooms the weekend of G20 and you’ll have no problems.

      But yeah, terrible idea. These summits need to be semi-remote like Kananaskis. There’s no point in downtown TO at all.

    6. Quain
      June 26, 2010 at

      Yeah, it’s ridiculous that they decide to hold these in places with the most people to agitate. If you’re going to turn Toronto into a police state just hold the damn thing in China or Russia, the laws are already in place and the authorities are trained and ready to go. If you want to stay in Canada, buy a couple acres in the sticks, dig a giant moat, and you’ll probably be fine.

      But, I guess it’s more fun to piss everyone off, let some douchebags blow up some cars, and then shoot some hippies.

    7. Quain
      June 27, 2010 at


      G20 — Why downtown? IT HAS TO BE DOWNTOWN.

    8. MLB
      June 27, 2010 at

      They should be able to hold an event in a city without some moron protesters. Placing the blame on holding this in a city instead on the idiot criminals does not make sense. You’re validating the violence.

    9. June 27, 2010 at

      But it has to be someplace without moron protesters but with a five-star hotel.

      Although I guess if they just put a dome over Lake Louise that would fit the bill.

    10. OilW30
      June 27, 2010 at

      College kids are sad. So much heart. So little intelligence. Go back to the ‘burbs, punks.

    11. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at

      The anarchists would like to thank all the voyeurs who were capturing riot porn all day for providing them with the cover they needed to commit their crimes.

    12. Matt.N
      June 27, 2010 at

      Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

    13. worldofleafcraft
      June 27, 2010 at

      I thought this display of truculence was bcause we missed out on Krill kabanov?

    14. Little Fury
      June 27, 2010 at

      If these meetings of the elite were as much a part of the global capitalist conspiracy as these anarchists say, shouldn’t they be holding this thing on some secret Skull Island?

    15. Quain
      June 27, 2010 at

      I’d find the whole endeavour a lot more enjoyable if they did hold it on some Skull Island with a bald, eyepatched spokesman.

      “Zee council ‘as spokeen! You will pay zee carbon tax or suffer zee conzequences!”

    16. Mike W
      June 27, 2010 at

      I think there legitimate issues (financial reform, AIDs in Africa, global warming, etc) and it makes sense to have protests when world leaders are in one place, BUT…

      I always see images of the usual suspects: mega-granola college kids, tie-dyed Jerry Garcia types, and of course, the minority of vandals. Do I sound harsh? yeah, but this is literally an exercise in PR, or “optics” as they say. If anything, the images only reinforce stereotypes in the mind of average Canadians. Meanwhile, no one is really talking about the issues. It’s facepalm worthy, every single time.

    17. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      Mike –

      A huge part of the reason I’m so pissed off by this is that it was utterly foreseeable. Governments exist to serve people, not the other way around. The government effectively imposed huge violations of civil liberties and chaos on Toronto, for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear to me.

    18. Mike W
      June 27, 2010 at

      Tyler, I entirely agree. But as you say, I guess Harper doesn’t have to worry about losing any seats in downtown TO.

      I’m curious about the “undercover” guys wearing Che Guevera backpacks… what’s the legality of that? To some extent I can see why there might be undercover officers, but on the other hand the RCMP’s track record of undercover officers inciting violence is truly disgraceful.

    19. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      It’s legal as far as I know Mike. You’re right about their track record though.

      One point I forgot to make – the only time I thought security got insanely tight was when the stuff documented by Paikin went down. We circled the entire area and couldn’t get close.

    20. June 27, 2010 at

      Gotta love the “Validatibg violence” bit, MLB. I take it that the fact english is my second language means I’m tone deaf to the sarcasm you are implying, right?

      Other than that, as I said when the Pouliot-Latendresse trade went down: principles are nice, but at some point you have to look at track record.

      The Harper GVT / G20 pulled a Pouliot, if you ask me. Holding those summits always ends up in a tear-gas drenched mess, wether you hold it in Seattle, Toronto or somewhere in the rockies. Didn’t they hold something there a few years back, with some RCMP dude being coined Sgt Pepper for his antics?

      My point is, if you want to make a statement about those protesters being granola fueled zealots, you have a better chance doing it if you have them crawling trough a moat in the middle of nowhere. Shutting down downtown Toronto with a lady kicked out of a hair salon is just noise and you end up looking like an ass.

      The Pouliot-Latendress thing doesn’t hold, but man I am pissed at that trade so I’ll milk it for all it’s worth.

    21. lowetide
      June 27, 2010 at

      Mr. Harper is a great Prime Minister. He has given Canadians everything we want. He’s a strong international figure, and is a calm, influential voice both in Canada and on the world stage. He’s a giver.

    22. June 27, 2010 at

      Paikin’s twitter feed has been fantastic. Makes me wonder if any journalists or lawyers are getting arrested on purpose to see what’s going on on the inside.

    23. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      @Andy: I can’t speak for other lawyers but I don’t think it’s worth the hassle. It’s been chaotic enough outside that I have no doubt it’s a shitshow inside.

      mclea: I didn’t provide anyone with cover. I’m not sure how you can conclude that people taking pictures were providing the vandals with cover. The cops were simply not inclined to go after them yesterday.

    24. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at

      Twitter’s reaction to Paikin’s feed stole the show. I’m still trying to rap my mind around it.

    25. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      What was wrong with it mclea? Paikin says he saw cops beating a journalist and that even the cop who was escorting him out of the area said that they were out of line. I was a block away while that was going on and it was unusual – the cops established much tighter security than they had elsewhere. The protestors also looked, from my vantage point, to be peaceful.

    26. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at


      I’m not accusing you of anything. But it was hard not to notice that the majority of the crowd was spending all their time taking pictures. Sort of dilutes the purity of the “protest”

    27. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      I wasn’t out there protesting. Truth be told, I probably agree with our PM on a lot of economic matters, if he was speaking honestly and not politically. I was there to see what went down. So were tons of others. There was a huge group of people protesting who weren’t there to take pictures though.

    28. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at

      I appreciate the benefit of Paikin’s perspective coming into the public view. But I do take issue with how quickly people started spreading it as gospel just because it confirmed what so many many of them wanted to believe: that the police posed some sort of illegitimate threat.

      I’m not going to pretend to know what happened last night, and quite frankly I don’t care. But a do know that Paikin was more inclined to exaggerate his experience then he was to diminish it.

    29. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      How do you know he was more inclined to exaggerate his experience than downplay it? I mean, I genuinely don’t know how you can know that. He has a good reputation as a journalist and it’s a plausible story – I’m pretty certain something unusual was happening there because of how the security was different.

    30. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at

      Nice series of pictures.

      I haven’t been paying very much attention to this, mostly because it’s so predictable. A bunch of know-nothing knee-jerk campus radicals living on daddy’s money can’t think of a better way of sticking it to the man than by smashing up a Starbucks, so they do. Their bullshit justifies the excesses of the law & order, wannabe American types (be they voters, politicians, or cops), who then react in the traditional manner, civil liberties be damned. It’s all so tired and boring: I’ve been watching this same script play out since 1998, at least, and I dislike both sides equally.

      Mclea: all backpedalling aside, you really don’t think people should be out taking pictures? Everyone should stay home and assume that because the situation’s in the government’s hands, everything’s going to turn out fine?

    31. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      Pete –

      I pretty much agree with you entirely. With that said, I think it’s time for the Canadian government to explain why we do these things in large cities. Summit of the Americas in 2001, APEC in 1997 and now this – how many times do we need to get cities busted up?

      Whether the vandals ought to be doing this is, in my view, entirely beside the point. They do, so the government should act to limit the exposure of the every day citizens to this stuff. It seems to me that the two options are either a) a complete suspension of civil liberties and the imposition of martial law or b) building a facility on Baffin Island and holding international conferences there. It seems to me that the latter is a pretty obvious solution.

    32. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at


      You understand that people go out to these things for the same reason they went to the streets of Vancouver during the Olympics. And for the same reason they hit the streets of Montreal after their playoff wins?

      People go out to the streets because other people are out in the streets. And because cop cars are burning. And because somebody broke some glass. And because they can tell their peers that they were there, living raw. Documenting the crowd becomes more important than any political cause.

      Hardly anyone is protesting anything. There is no political purpose for the gathering that Paikin witnessed. People were just documenting other people having an unusually large gathering late at night in Toronto.

    33. noah
      June 27, 2010 at

      like the pictures.

      I was at Quebec City in ’01, and from what I can recall there and from talking with others (including right-wing types) police infiltration of these types of protests is pretty pervasive, and often it seems that the undercover types are the ones inciting violent forms of protest.

      and, a few of the cops I talked to back then (and I’m sure there actually are a lot of cops out there who do want to protect and serve) specifically volunteered to go to Quebec to “beat the shit out of some protesters” – it’s a sentiment I doubt has changed much, unfortunately.

    34. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at

      And just so it is clear, I think it was a terrible idea to invite this kind of mess by holding the G20 in downtown Toronto.

    35. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      Paikin pretty explicitly says it was a protest of some sort, not just a gathering. The cops were largely fine with people who were just standing around. As I understand it, there was a delegation staying at the Novotel Hotel, which is right there, and the cops wanted the protestors there to be gone.

    36. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at

      Mclea: yeah, remarkably, I understand that extremely simple concept. But unless I misunderstood you, way back on comment 11, you directly stated that people taking photos were”providing them (i.e. “anarchists”) with the cover they needed to commit their crimes.” So what kind of “cover” do photos provide, exactly? You also didn’t really answer my initial question directly.

      But for the record I agree with you on comment 34. Why would any city bother with this nonsense?

    37. mclea
      June 27, 2010 at

      Paikin pretty explicitly says it was a protest of some sort, not just a gathering.

      Right from Paikin’s feed:
      @spaikin no signs. no “cause” other than the right to assemble

      Sounds like gathering for the sake of gathering to me.

    38. Showerhead
      June 27, 2010 at

      I was sent the following youtube clip whose aim is to put the media focus back on the peaceful protesters and the issues they raise.

      Watch it and you might agree with my first impression – with all due respect to issues that I do have sympathy for, the video even in itself is boring. I know an actual news story with commentary or interviews would spice it up a bit but I think the irony proves the point – people want to watch the crazy shit.

      With that in mind, and with the fact that police pose as protesters and often initiate some of said “crazy shit”, I begin to wonder if the summit is staged the way it is specifically so that rioters and violence ensure that the actual issues involved don’t get headlines. For example, you all know that there were protesters, some peaceful and some otherwise, but many of the more peaceful folks were there hoping to get attention for a particular cause or global issue. How many can you name?

    39. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      Well I talked to a lot of protestors yesterday. I ended up walking around most of the day with a teacher named Lara, who I blame for me not getting pics of a police car on fire because she was nervous about going down that way in the minutes before it started burning, and she was asking people about their causes. The answers we were getting in return were pretty incoherent. People don’t seem very good at explaining why they’re protesting.

    40. June 27, 2010 at

      A friend of a friend got arrested yesterday for making the peace sign over the ashes of a cop car. He’s still locked up as of right now. My friend was also illegally and forcibly searched today, by police with no identification. They refused to give their names, and when my friend asked why they thought they had reasonable cause to search him, a female cop responded, “I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.” That in and of itself seems like a pretty good reason for people to be out protesting, although neither were. Myself, I like being in a country where “gathering for the sake of gathering” doesn’t get you searched or arrested.

    41. Showerhead
      June 27, 2010 at

      Tyler: well that’s unfortunate. Your story, while helping prove we don’t really know what some of the protesters are talking about, also slightly deflates my impression of the peaceful folk. I hope sample size is an issue and that all of the people you didn’t talk to were well versed, research toting and intelligence having.

      and Andy: that’s embarrassing. Fucking shameful. Again I hope but don’t believe your friends’ treatment is uncommon. I hope they’re OK.

    42. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at

      Sounds like gathering for the sake of gathering to me. And that sounds legal, and completely inoffensive, to me. Well, as long as there’s no major summits or meet ‘n’ greets happening in your town anyway.

      Your views are a little scary.

    43. Showerhead
      June 27, 2010 at


      Someone please find a reason for the incident at the end. I don’t see any.

    44. JeffJ
      June 27, 2010 at

      “Meanwhile, no one is really talking about the issues.”

      “A bunch of know-nothing knee-jerk campus radicals living on daddy’s money…”

      “Hardly anyone is protesting anything.”

      There are large numbers of non-idiots protesting. Lots of people are talking about the issues – like anything else, it probably depends on the company you keep.

      There are people at the fringes being jackasses, and of course that is what’s being covered. Seems many of the commenters here prefer to dismiss real issues and focus on the jackass fringe and said coverage. Whatever you need to do to get through your day.

      “…building a facility on Baffin Island and holding international conferences there. It seems to me that the latter is a pretty obvious solution.”

      If the G8/20 have to run away and hide from protests, what does that say about the decisions they make at these things?

      “People don’t seem very good at explaining why they’re protesting.”

      I spend a lot of time thinking about these things and if I was stopped in the street and asked to justify my political position on subject X, I’d most definitely come across as a gibbering idiot. In general, people staring down the business end of a global fiscal austerity movement are not the sort of people you would expect to have a set list of talking points at the ready. That goes for these protesters as well as the tea party ilk.

      Thanks for the great coverage, Tyler.

    45. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at


      Clearly, it was because they were gathering for the sake of gathering.

    46. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at

      JeffJ: I’m sure there are many non-idiots protesting, and I realize the idiots get all the press. But what, exactly, are the non-idiots doing that’s meaningful, or even just not counter-productive?

      That’s not a rhetorical question, and I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m honestly interested.

    47. Tyler Dellow
      June 27, 2010 at

      I don’t think “running away and hiding from the protests” says anything about the decisions they make at these things. Ultimately, governments serve people, not the other way around. Where a government thinks it needs to take some sort of action and it has a choice between options that will result in massive inconvenience and violation of people’s civil liberties and ones that don’t while achieving the same end, they should pick the one that doesn’t. Nothing stops people from gathering and protesting those decisions.

      As it so happens, I’m reasonably convinced that there is a concerted effort to break the protests by charging people, getting them released on bail conditions that include avoiding downtown and then dropping the charges at some point in the future. That’s what really troubles me about this – I think you can make a quite reasonable case that Harper, McGuinty, Miller and the cops are engaged in a planned effort to suppress this stuff without regard for people’s civil liberties. That shouldn’t be an end of government.

    48. JeffJ
      June 27, 2010 at

      “But what, exactly, are the non-idiots doing that’s meaningful, or even just not counter-productive?

      Maybe they are counter-productive. I don’t really know. Perhaps they get some people without set opinions on the matter to dig into the issues. My point was that the protest is real and sincere, not just a crowd forming because they see a crowd forming.

      “Nothing stops people from gathering and protesting those decisions.”

      I would submit a third route: there would be far less civil unrest if some different decisions were made.

    49. Pete.
      June 27, 2010 at

      Perhaps they get some people without set opinions on the matter to dig into the issues.

      That’s a valid point, and I hope you’re right; I suspect, though, that most people ignore all this, and most of the remainder are put off by the media’s constant shots of burning cop cars, etc. The majority of these protests, whether well-meant or not, seem to end up as pointless and futile at best, and violent and counterproductive at worst.

      To clarify: I’m no supporter of the status quo, nor an apologist for the governments and corporations that are merrily running our lives while we sit around anaesthetized by American Idol, Prozac, and, uh, hockey. But meaningful protest seems to be in short supply in this country. People prefer to drop pumpkins on cars, wear armbands, and so forth.

      Maybe I’m just cynical. But this kind of thing seems awfully goofy to me. There’s a lot of pointless bullshit floating around. “What are you protesting?” “Whaddaya got?” E.g.:


      Name: Chelsea Flook
      Age: 25
      From: Toronto
      Organization: Rhythms of Resistance Toronto

      Bio: Flook’s claim to fame is getting dragged from Parliament Hill’s Centre Block last October in a climate-change protest to urge legislators to pass Bill C-311, which asked Canada to commit to aggressive greenhouse gas emission targets. She first got involved in protests during high school when the Iraq War began escalating. A new member of the Rhythms of Resistance, a drumming group that plays at demonstrations, she says music can be an important part of protests. “It makes protests more approachable. It has to be fun as well. Not all tear gas.”

      If you had one message for the G20 leaders, what would it be?
      “Do it now or do it later. Just do it. It’s going to happen so do it now.”

      Do it now, leaders. Do it now indeed.

    50. OilW30
      June 27, 2010 at

      I agree that they should seriously reconsider holding these things in public places, but I also don’t feel bad for anybody who got arrested. Everyone knows it’s going to be trouble down there. Cop cars are burning, for God’s sake! Either stay home or accept what comes.

    51. Mike W
      June 27, 2010 at

      “Either stay home or accept what comes.”

      Up to a point. To expect 10,000 cops that are totally on-edge to discriminate between peaceful protesters and vandals should be easy, but I don’t it’s in their blood to know anything other than authority. That said, some of the credible stories I’m hearing sounds like a tired force that are rounding up the wrong people — as in, literally, people trying to go to a movie or play rugby in their neighborhood.

      Still, I’m not surprised by any of this, which is why most of the blame has to lay at the feet of the federal politicians that thought this would be a good idea (the fact that businesses in downtown basically had to shut down this week was the first clue).

    52. Hawerchuk
      June 27, 2010 at

      Man, this is nuts. We had huge protests in San Francisco over the Iraq War…Thousands of people were arrested, all were released without charges.

      What was the upshot? A handful (or several handfuls) of rogue cops took the opportunity to beat the crap out of people for nothing. Everything was caught on film; the city had to settle; and I pay for this shit out of my property taxes instead of the money going to the school system.

      The violation of civil rights is the gift that keeps on giving.

    53. dawgbone
      June 28, 2010 at

      How about the rights of a business holders to not have their shit destroyed?

      I get the freedom to assemble and all that, but at some point that freedom needs to come secondary to the safety of property and that.

      It’s easy to sit back and point fingers at those over-reacting, but when people start torching police cars, that is a threat.

      And as soon as there is a threat, the police are going to act much differently. Once vandals start doing their thing, I have little sympathy for those caught in the crossfire.

      If you see someone breaking a store window you have a few options, some smarter than others. You can notify authorities and help them find out who did it, you can simply leave the area, you can stick around and watch or you can join in.

      Out of those 4 options, the first 2 are going to pretty much ensure that you don’t end up getting tear gassed. The last 2, not so much.

      And when you decide to head back downtown the day after something like that occurs, don’t be surprised that the authorities are a little more on edge and a little more willing to use the authority that they do have.

      Sometimes common sense needs to come into play.

    54. mcleas@gmail.com
      June 28, 2010 at

      Your views are a little scary.

      I recognize that in every gathering like the ones we saw in Toronto, there are people there for legitimate purposes.

      But there are always people like this:


      I just want people to acknowledge that by needlessly increasing the size of the crowd for the purpose of taking picture, or so that they can pretend for one night that they are living in a Latin American banana republic, that you are facilitating the actions of those who don’t have any goal beyond destroying things and antagonizing the cops.

      Of course the solution is to simply not have these things in dense metro areas so that you don’t invite this sort of mindless confrontation. But if the decision has already been made, I highly suggest, unless you have some legitimate political cause, that you stay home. Because you’re not helping anything by being there.

    55. June 28, 2010 at

      dawgbone – the problem is that last night a lot of the people who were rounded up and held for three hours in the rain (and then released with nothing more than a see ya later) were returning home after the weekend, walking to and from their homes in the area, waiting for a bus, running out to the store, walking their dogs.

      In other words they were minding their own business.

      I understand the cops going after these protestors because there are allegedly black block folks in their midst but there were a lot of people minding their own business who got scooped up.

      Not cool at all.

      Friday evening I was rollerblading home and saw the cops all over a guy who had a beard and a backpack and thus was a suspect I guess. That bothered me a lot, especially when later on I saw the DVP being shut down for the return of McNeil, the guy who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

      And then two more were killed Saturday night.

      Very sad, what are they over there for? What freedoms are they dying for?

      I think the cops fucked up Saturday and then went over the top Saturday night and Sunday. Seriously you let a handful of punks trash Queen Street and do nothing and then spend the rest of the weekend arresting anyone who is on the streets.

      Blair should lose his job for starters. Disgraceful.

    56. Tyler Dellow
      June 28, 2010 at

      @DB – I’m sorry, it doesn’t work that way. My rights go out and do things peacefully aren’t affected because someone else decides to throw a chair through a window.

      I don’t think that the presence of lots of non-violent people had the first thing to do with anything, for what it’s worth. The cops were responding to large crowds, not to small groups of people. A lot of the damage was committed by small groups of people. One would have thought that with a large fence in place, they could have let people approach it, directed that everyone stay five meters away like the law requires and then focused some of their attention on the roving gangs of vandals.

      I was on Bay immediately after the cop cars were burned. That didn’t change anything.

    57. Tyler Dellow
      June 28, 2010 at

      I just want people to acknowledge that by needlessly increasing the size of the crowd for the purpose of taking picture, or so that they can pretend for one night that they are living in a Latin American banana republic, that you are facilitating the actions of those who don’t have any goal beyond destroying things and antagonizing the cops.

      You’re going to need a coherent argument that makes sense then. And, I would submit, that’s not their (or my) problem in any event.

    58. June 28, 2010 at

      Thanks for this, Tyler.

      The anarchists would like to thank all the voyeurs who were capturing riot porn all day for providing them with the cover they needed to commit their crimes.

      Not quite sure how people with cameras are providing cover for crimes, mclea. More likely to give expose them than anything. Crimes on both sides.

      Are you familiar with Peter Gabriel’s Witness? For an overview check out http://icthumanity.com/?p=111

      It seems to me that the two options are either a) a complete suspension of civil liberties and the imposition of martial law or b) building a facility on Baffin Island and holding international conferences there.

      My choice a while back was Hans Island, which would make quite a statement about sovereignty, wouldn’t it? Absolutely nuts to hold this event in a major city; sounds like it inconvenienced/seriously inconvenienced an awful lot of Canadian citizens. And it’s going to cost a pile to clean up, after costing a pile for “security”.

      I begin to wonder if the summit is staged the way it is specifically so that rioters and violence ensure that the actual issues involved don’t get headlines.

      I’ve had the exact same thought, Showerhead.

      Myself, I like being in a country where “gathering for the sake of gathering” doesn’t get you searched or arrested.

      I used to like that myself, Andy.

    59. Martina
      June 28, 2010 at

      Great photos Tyler, thanks for posting them.

    60. Quain
      June 28, 2010 at

      The correct response to anything and everything is to wait in your houses and assume the party escort submission position. Officers will be along at randomly determined intervals to ensure your safety.

      Failure to remain in your homes will result in death and a small fine. You have been warned.

    61. Julian
      June 28, 2010 at

      That unmarked truck picture is kinda scary. I think seeing that parked around a corner would be scarier than the guys in riot gear.

    62. GMB
      June 28, 2010 at

      It’s quite depressing that when looking at these and other photos, I couldn’t help but think “man, I can’t believe they got away with taking photos so close to the protests!”.

      I’m from the UK, you see. Not the best place for civil liberties in recent years.

    63. dawgbone
      June 28, 2010 at

      Tyler, they should be affected though.

      It’s not really that complicated, it’s basic common sense. There were a lot of people downtown who didn’t need to be there and who should have known better.

      In the summer I usually go to the beaches to visit my parents on the weekend. I chose not to this weekend for the simple fact that being down there could create a problem I didn’t need.

      I know of people who went downtown just to see what was up. Why? You know there is going to be protesters and you know that there are going to be idiots who are going to start something so why put yourself in that position?

      I think one of the biggest issues in North America is people go out of there way to put themselves in a position where they can say “My rights are being violated!”.

      Don’t get me wrong, the police can over-react. It’s easy to say they shouldn’t but we don’t do their job. I don’t have to worry about some drunk shanking me because I had to answer a domestic. I don’t have to worry about hearing about looting while seeing a group of 40 people walk towards me. Over-reaction is going to happen when crowds get rowdy.

      People need to be smarter and realize that they are dealing with other people. Not some mythical entity that will take care of them. You mentioned several times that the government should work for the people not the other way around. I agree… but at the same time people need to take care of themselves.

      Your right to a peaceful protest is all well and good, but when things start to get out of hand you have to be smart enough to recognize that and be able to take care of yourself. Sometimes that means packing up and going home and not coming back the next day when you know the police are going to be on edge and quicker to jump to action.

    64. mclea
      June 28, 2010 at

      You’re going to need a coherent argument that makes sense then.

      I’m saying that people who are there only to destroy shit and bait cops into “victimizing” them are empowered by large gatherings of people.

      Now it’s one thing if these crowds were composed primarily of legitimate protesters. Then I would concede that the violence and other nonsense could be taken as an unfortunate by-product of constructive political activism. But I think it is altogether different when the crowds are populated by voyeurs and people who want to see “the scene”, but have absolutely no legitimate reason to be out on the street. Then you’re just creating crowds for the sake of creating crowds, and these crowds, as we all understand perfectly well, facilitate the anti-social behaviour we witnessed on the weekend.

      Colby Cosh and Andrew Coyne have said the same thing on their twitter accounts. I don’t think my views are as fringe as you guys have been suggesting.

    65. June 28, 2010 at

      Citizens of Toronto don’t need “a reason to be out on the street.” I have no problem with voyeurs, gawkers, amateur photographers, or pedestrians of any sort. I have a distaste for the “peaceful protesters” nobody wants to criticize. I don’t think this can be confused with your view, if I understand you correctly.

    66. mclea
      June 28, 2010 at

      Fair point. I didn’t mean to mischaractertize your position.

      But as the crowd grows, the line between the voyeurs, the anarchists, and the “peaceful protesters” blurs, which is a big part of the problem. It’s easier to distinguish between the people who are there to stir up shit and the innocent gawkers, when the innocent gawkers are not there.

      And I understand they are perfectly entitled to be there, needlessly complicating tense situations. I’m just saying they shouldn’t be.

    67. June 28, 2010 at

      dawgbone – I can agree with what you are saying, people who put themselves into a bad position, well, they probably should have thought twice

      but again there were people on Sunday night who were going about their business – waiting for the bus or streetcar, out for a walk and so on

      what do you say about them? should they have locked themselves in their homes? gotten hotel rooms in Markham?

    68. Lindsay
      June 28, 2010 at

      I have less concern over what the cops do violating our freedoms, than I do the jerks who are trashing the place and totally abusing the freedoms we have. It’s amazing how your freedoms don’t get violated if you’re not out looking for trouble ‘cruising’ (as my mother would say) the downtown when you don’t need to be there.

    69. Shepso
      June 28, 2010 at

      Funny you should mention staying at a hotel in Markham, pat. A friend of mine got married yesterday and due to the g20, it was relocated to markham and partially subsidized by the “kind folks” who organized the affair. Beyond the incredible amounts of civil liberties violated over the course of the weekend, people couldn’t even have the wedding they wanted because of the madness. What a waste.
      Great coverage Tyler. Even better photos than what I’ve seen from my friends and colleagues who were in the heart of the protests.

    70. rsm
      June 30, 2010 at

      Not much to add to the ongoing discussion except to say that Major city + GX = fail.

      The lake Toya G8 meeting went off with no major protests because they essentially shut down the entire highway system for the transport legs of the summit, put a police presence at every single significant port of entry to check foreigners, and the locals had more pressing business, like making money off the G8, than protesting. It helps that Toya is on Hokkaido, which is an island, and Japanese police are unfailingly polite, but have massive powers you do not want to be on the wrong side of, all of that on top of the massive inconvenience for protesters to get to Hokkaido at all. Toronto on the other hand is kind of easy to access, and has a lot of the protesters readily on hand.

      @Lindsay: “I have less concern over what the cops do violating our freedoms,” then you clearly don’t understand that you have recourse against the idiots, but no recourse against a bunch of armed thugs without identification.
      You can’t get your freedoms back, you can get a window-pane replaced and recoup your losses via a lawsuit.

      @dawgbone: “Don’t get me wrong, the police can over-react.” I think you added one too many qualifiers to that. There is no ‘can’ about it. In these cases they always overreact, because their preparations are completely wrong, as evidenced by, among other things, Tyler’s most recent post on the ‘show of weapons’ bs as well as just about every major protest over the last decade.
      In Toronto, a lack of initial response, led to an overreaction later. Also, the fact that it’s in Toronto shows an utter lack of coherent thinking by anyone in a position of authority, the police should simply have refused to try to protect the G20 in Toronto, and forced it to be located somewhere where they have the ability to actually manage the situation without coming off as a bunch of armed and unmarked thugs. But I suppose saying ‘no’ is the kind of moral courage most people find beyond them.

      As for the general thrust of the ‘keep your head down, and stay inside’ line of argument. Why should a bunch of assholes (pick your side if you need to) be allowed to inconvenience a city of several million people? Added to that you have the notion that this kind of argumentation is exactly what leads to authorities thinking that their response is somehow justified and acceptable, and that their planning was clever, rather than blatantly moronic. Sweet.

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