Monday, June 28, 2010

Cops attack peaceniks - real perps get away

It's Monday morning and after a weekend spent glued to summit coverage, it now seems like a bad dream. Now that's it all over but the cleanup and the licking of wounds, the dominant image left is that of massive phalanxes of robo-cops pushing peaceful people first this way, then that, banging their shields with batons chanting "move! move!" then charging without warning, a scene that played out dozens of times. There seemed no rhyme or reason beyond a completely arbitrary show of force. This was a spectacle that despite all the high-tech security gear, was utterly primitive and utterly surreal.

The other dominant image, and I suspect the one that will live on as Steve-o's billion dollar photo op, is that of a burning police cruiser, left unattended to burn.

Here's the thing. Cops were deployed to do something they didn't need to do. The main builk of demonstrators on Saturday had their peaceful march and had returned to Queens Park, the designated protest zone. There was no need at any point for riot formations. Ludicrous.  And no need to clear the area, that had been set aside for the use of demonstrators.

Meanwhile, the only real lawbreaking was allowed to take place without a single cop in sight. While the best-equipped police that a billion bucks can buy attacked the peaceful demonstrators, the real criminals were allowed to smash and burn unchecked. There was a chance to apprehend them in the act, as their rampage went on for over 40 minutes. I wonder, would police have let real terrorists get away so easily? It's a pretty significant tactical blunder not to allow yourself the option of detaching part of your force to meet any immediate opportunities, ie perps in the act. It shows that they were completely unprepared to deal with any real threat. Bill Blair has some explaining to do.

As it is, the closest thing Toronto came to terror was at the hands of police: random arrests, beatings, pepper spraying people who were sitting down, and of course their little game of push me pull you. Activists were arrested before the fact. An innocent man was awoken in the night with a police gun pointed at his face. Young people were arrested merely for having gas masks. Others were arrested when they were unable, due to being surrounded on all sides by riot cops, to disperse. Journalists were beaten and arrested. Rights were suspended, not just within the 5 meters of the security zone, but all over the city.

And the real bad guys? The so-called Black Bloc? They were allowed to rampage with impunity. 20,000 cops could not or would not stop them.


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  1. I don't know why people would attack Canadian democracy by calling it a police state when there are other more despicable countries in the world. Those people are anti-Canadic.

    Canada is a wonderful democracy that treats its minorities well, allows for permitted protests so long as these don't disrupt the order and Canadian identity.

  2. Not sure what you mean SD. Toronto was certainly a police state this weekend. They were granted powers of search and seizure akin to the War Measures Act. These powers were only supposed to apply 5 meters around the security fence, but they were applied all over town. You had to show ID, permit the search of your belongings or be arrested. A young woman was arrested on her way into town at the GO station for the "crime" of having a gas mask and held for 12 hours without a phone call. Needlass to say her parents were frantic. This happened time and again all weekend.

  3. I don't think my sarcasm worked this time.

    I think that if we can't fight for other people's rights around the world, how can we expect to fight for our own rights? This was a despicable weekend with cops performing arbitrary arrests, and denying peaceful protesters to assemble.

  4. Ah, thanks for the clarification. :)