Monday, June 28, 2010

To the Toronto police.

[This has nothing to do with music, but I'm reeling and need to get this out there.]

This weekend was arguably the worst in Toronto’s history.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper invited the G20 to Toronto, he essentially welcomed black bloc terrorists to come here, too. And come they did, as I saw myself in the many photos, videos, and reports from the scene. (I stayed in my apartment just north of downtown the entire weekend.) With the weekend over, but with my mind still reeling, I have a few words for the Toronto police and the other officers who came from all over the country to “serve and protect.”

Where were you, police, when your cars were set on fire and you let them burn? (You left them unattended on purpose, didn’t you?) Where were you when vandals smashed windows downtown, terrifying customers, salespeople, shop owners, and on-lookers? A friend of mine was on Yonge that afternoon, and saw the aftermath: shocking damage and terrified employees at American Apparel and elsewhere. There were no cops in sight, until he rounded a corner, and there you were, seemingly doing nothing. While you stood around, innocent people were left without protection.

Meanwhile, your offices—trained, armed, and in formation—were marching on peaceful demonstrators in Queen’s Park, right near the official “protest zone.” You were doing the same elsewhere, too, on Saturday. I’m sure some of the protesters were being jerks, but what can you expect? You threateningly surround people, stop them from walking in their own city, and keep so many others away.

Later, Steve Paikin's reporting on the evening happenings on the Esplanade grabbed my (and everyone else's) attention. What on earth was going on with you, police?

And yet Saturday night my main thought was of the terrorists who wreaked havoc on downtown streets. Come morning, and the news that more than 500 people had been arrested and detained, my feelings started to shift. As the hours went by and I watched videos, saw photos, and read tweets and news reports of your “tactics,” I changed my mind about you. It became clear to me that the police, as a group, had become the terrorists. There was no violence anywhere that I heard about. Except, that is, for violent acts you perpetrated yourselves. You amassed in force on demonstrators and “riot tourists” in the east end, the west end, and the heart of downtown. Trained officers were ordered to scare innocent people in ways I never thought I’d see in Canada. For shame.

This week you have a lot to answer for. And no doubt you’ll face legal proceedings, brought upon you by some of the hundreds of people whose civil liberties you took away and the dozens you beat with your batons and wrestled to the ground with inordinate force. People in Canada are allowed to assemble, walk the streets, talk to each other, ride their bikes, and to feel safe and secure while doing so. This weekend, you—by not stopping black bloc violence and by your own horrifying movements—made this city unsafe for the people who live, work, and play in it.


Anonymous said...


gennybeans said...

well said. thanks, jen.

Scott from Edmonton said...

You're a complete idiot. The cops showed a lot more restraint then they should have. I wouldn't have been that patient. I'm all about peaceful protest too, but when you have anarchists and hoodlums buried in the crowd, anonymously - directing crowds from a social media command center it goes past the point of peaceful. Hopefully the outsiders who came to wreak havoc are prosecuted to the fullest extent. I agree with the government that the summit was a success. No bank tax.

If people acted like that when there was no summit, would *citizens* detain and report the thugs? Probably. A group can't just walk down the streets with masks and vandalize, spit on and injure others and get away with it. Open your eyes. Peaceful protests don't include bricks and pick axes.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the Montebello video? Did you see how the boots match up? Same thing this time!

Alexander said...

Scott, it seems like you're the idiot. Were you even there? Did you attend this thing? The police “showed restraint” by allowing the black bloc to break windows, yet assaulting peaceful protestors?

The summit was a disaster because of the police brutality. The whole police force should be publicly shamed and hundreds should be jailed for what they did to innocuous protestors. It was disgusting.

The police didn't mitigate the vandalism at all, they just exacerbated it by being monsters and violating people's rights. The only thing police achieved is that they made the black bloc's actions seem reasonable.

Scott from Edmonton said...

No I wasn't there. I was working this weekend at home in Edmonton. I don't collect welfare and bum enough off of my significant others to visit protests accross the country and cause havoc. Police brutality is a fact of life when you're egging on and acting like an assh*le.

Are you inferring to the anarchists headquarters at the University of Toronto is justified? Sure I understand people will rebel. Did regular peaceful protestors outnumber the thugs 20-1? If you see stuff going down, do you really want to stick around? Because it's justified? Get real. Who was even there? I haven't heard about one peaceful group of protestors sticking up for their rights. Just mayhem.

Thanks for sticking up for our issues and "making a name for your cause". It could have been peaceful, and could have sent a message worldwide, but face it, this is what we got. Thanks.

Katie said...

To be fair, Scott, the reason you've seen nothing but mayhem is that the mainstream media has focused solely on that mayhem. There were upwards of 10 000 people who WERE demonstrating peacefully on Saturday afternoon. And I mean PEACEFULLY - no weapons, nothing covering their faces, no threatening gestures. I don't think that any of us here is going to change your mind, but at least consider that you're only getting part of the story (see some of the footage here:

Yes, there was vandalism, which is inexcusable. But As Jen and Alexander both point out, the police did little to stop it, which is what they were presumably hired to do. They did, however, round up and detain vast numbers of peaceful protesters, journalists and even some bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And there is no excuse for police brutality. Even if, as you say, people are "egging them on" -- this does not make it ok to use excessive force, and it certainly doesn't make it ok to detain people in inadequate facilities without being informed of their rights, the charges against them, access to a phone call, or access to sufficient food and water.

Scott from Edmonton said...

I guess a lot depends on what you consider "excessive force". Are you going to protect yourself and fellow officiers? Obviously. If police ask you to move out of an area do you stay there simply because a guy in a mask told you to? If they won't move, they're going to be subject to that kind of treatment. Who can't see that?

And yes, I did watch youtube with citizen coverage of the event and some BS that went on, like the infamous national anthem and the police charging. Just because I have a point of view against yours doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about. A real story of the weekend would have been some peaceful protesters holding down some thugs until the police got there to arrest them, since the numbers were 20+ to 1, peaceful to violent. But nobody did anything, that's part of my problem. Do your city and the country a favor and stand up. A real story would have been the feminists making a citizen arrest on some black block gang member. But indtead they'd rather take pictures and complain.

There were 20,000 officers on hand but they can't be everywhere at once. Especially against a crowd of people directed by a anarchist command center. I'm just saying, if you were there, you should have done more.

Myke said...

I'm wishing I WAS there, specifically at one store they targeted, as someone I know was working at the time.

What I would have done-- and I know it's weak to only write about my feelings afterward, but hey, what is emo blogging about anyways?-- is try my fuckin' best to grab one of those masked shits and put a piece of glass from one of the windows in their leg as a reminder of their heroic actions.

And, many sides as there are to this event-- many of them right, wrong, and shades of gray-- the flaming of historyjen right off the top of your posted reply, Scott from Edmonton, is a needless insult and immediately renders your opinion to a certain category: Angry, One-sided, Online Ranter. I'd go so far as to flame you back on this, as you know you will respond to my call-out regardless of my opinion on the events, and so I will:

Why don't you head out of town for a while and see the world? Instead of writing random bloggers off as "complete idiot[s]"?

I know this girl and she seems capable of handling herself in many different faculties quite well. Maybe her opinion on the issue doesn't strike a chord with you, but then, yours quite certainly doesn't align with a large number of people here in Toronto anyways, and I DARESAY they have a much more balanced response to your "perspective from afar".

So, intelligent writing aside, please refrain from randomly flaming your ugly insults on peoples' public wallspaces, legally entitled as you very well might be.

If you wish to continue this discussion in person, or even online, I can be found. I lead a band called The Mod Villains, and live in Toronto myself. Again, I actually know real people involved in this particular issue, so take your theoretical dickslapping, Scott from Edmonton, and shut your mouth.

Myke "I didn't state any specific political agenda as a backup to my childish insulting" Mazzei

Scott from Edmonton said...

If you want to issue threats, I am as equally eager to meet your ass in Edmonton at West Edmonton Mall the largest parking lot in the world and plenty of dirty scrapping places around it. If you're up for that, it proves my point. Unfortunately, you're not going to make a case for morons burning police cars on fire. Despite youtube or facebook video, the people who did that and the people who filmed it should be held responsible for the acts. If you think watching and cheering is not your problem, then you're contributing to the University of Toronto student union safehouse liberal black block movement and should also face criminal charges.

I wish a *real* protestor would have stood up and took down a terrorist vigilante style. Come to Edmonton, because if I don't, others will. Make your statement, but don't be a f*cking idiot. That includes peaceful protestors not listening to police to clear the area.

Myke said...

We all totally agree with the 'make a statement by being peaceful' thing. I don't know anyone that supports the black block or whatever they call themselves. Anyone. Though the cheering at the smashing of stores is sickening... perhaps it can be attributed to the infamous "herd mentality".

I can see the perspective from which you speak... I would be fully supportive of anything the local police force was up to if I worked at a bank, or for the government, which sounds along the line of work you do (and which I only mention based on your mention of the no bank tax issue and general strongly-held belief in the one side of the argument. No trouble there.)

I only have issue with strangers calling others names unfoundedly online, and making sweeping generalizations (not everyone at every rally for every cause is a leech on our taxes!). I make no threats-- far from it; if you do want to connect with me verbally or via e-mail, I encourage it. Perhaps my wording was a tad strong, though I do strongly support my friends.

I leave it as is. I see a mixed issue, where there are no completely divisive rights and wrongs. Indeed, this is what the court system is ideally for. And if there are problems with that-- ah, but that's where those with less [access to] money are more affected, and there are more tiers of wealth in our whole society of people than one might believe.

Myke Mazzei

historyjen said...

Thanks for your comments, all. Discussion is important. I based everything I wrote on the first-hand reports, videos, and pictures I saw. I watched very little traditional news reporting, since I do not have cable TV. Some of what I saw you will find links to in my piece. Everything I read and saw is freely available. I hope people will go learn about what happened for themselves.
The behaviour of the cops---what they did and didn't do---was abhorrent, unjustified, and an important reminder that our rights as citizens of Canada and human beings can be quickly taken away without just cause.
The vandals who smashed up my town and terrorized regular people are abhorrent, and everyone should condemn their actions. I make no excuses for their behaviour and hope the perpetrators and the people who cheered and joined in the smashing are caught and prosecuted.
It is not up to citizens to do what police as hired to go: protect the public. Regular people are not trained or equipped to do such things. Riot cops are. That the latter did nothing on Saturday is astonishing.
Reporters, photographers, and regular people documenting events is crucial, and though occasionally laughable, I think all the people using their iPods to video, etc., did us all an important service. We have much more evidence of everything that happened on the streets because of their efforts.
And etc.

Ryan said...

It is important to follow all sides of the story, and perhaps take time to step back and consider them before jumping in with the most immediate (often emotional) response.

Apply that line of thinking to not only the events of the G20 protests, vandalism, anarchy, and police action, but also to future (retroactive is not possible) planning of such events from our leaders, police, public, merchants, protesters, and anarchists.

Of all the social media postings (blogs, FB, online articles) I've viewed, there is very little, if any balanced opinion and reporting of the issues.

We've armed ourselves literally and figuratively with words, litigation, outcries, video posts, charters, and whatever else is handy. We're divided into camps and I suspect, bunker salesmen might be gearing up for a busy sales season.

Step back, enjoy the weather, enjoy your inalienable rights, read a book, watch an episode of the Office, enjoy Toronto (sorry, I don't live in Edmonton, so can't enjoy the mall), enjoy Canada Day.

And treat people like people, no matter what shoes they wear.

Anonymous said...

It's clear to me 'Scott from Who-gives-a-shit' that you're a dipshit moron. Allow me to explain. Only a dipshit moron would suggest that peaceful protesters, who by their very namesake are peaceful, should bear the responsibility of stopping violent thugs. Only a dipshit moron would suggest that police brutality against peaceful protesters is a fact of life in a country that maintains a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not something you can summarily decide to wipe your ass with because you have a 'I watched CBC on the weekend and now I'm informed' attitude. Only a dipshit moron would further state that the score of security officers couldn't be everywhere at once, when in fact they were nowhere, at all times, except in their rank-file lines mass arresting peaceful protesters and innocent people just walking to their apartments or coming out of restaurants. Only a dipshit moron would see a 1.2 billion dollar price-tag on security and suggest that their complete lack of security for Toronto and it's citizens was a job well done. Only a mindless Conservative-party whore would then suggest that the group at U of T were liberals, AND black bloc - you haven't a fucking clue, as less than a few people were actually retained in custody past 24 hours after that dramatic raid - the rest released without charges. Oh, did I say Conservative whore? I meant to say dipshit moron, but in your case it's pretty much one and the same anyways.

Regardless of what you think of the people who were protesting, they had the right to go there without fear of brutality or unlawful arrests and trampling of their freedoms. The fundamental rights outlined in Section 2 of the Charter can not be violated in our Country. They weren't just violated by the security on the weekend, they were crushed into the earth. If that doesn't make sense to you, then guess what? Yup, that's right, you're a dipshit moron.

historyjen said...


If you are implying that I am not following all sides or am being too emotional, then I take issue with that. I disagree with this implied characterization, if you are referring to me.

Evidence can be analyzed the moment one has it, as long as one has at least one question in mind to put to it. Emotion does not necessarily negate the truth. I point these things out because it seems you may disagree. If so, I charge you with fuzzy thinking.

I have seen both very good reporting and less-than-stellar reporting. I have seen informed and uninformed opinions galore. I can tell the difference. I have also seen and read compelling, credible evidence: published eye-witness accounts, videos, photographs, and oral first-hand accounts. Every piece of evidence that seems relevant to a given topic should be evaluated and analyzed. I have spent a lot of time doing that over the past week, in my capacity as a concerned Canadian citizen and resident of Toronto.

I will happily enjoy my rights, and hope that they do not get trampled upon. I will not ignore the fact that the rights of many others were ignored, nor will I forget. I believe that writing about this is something I can do to educate people about what happened.

I went to the protest at police headquarters on Monday and stand by almost everything said there. I was appalled to see for myself the massive police presence, and firmly believe---my opinion---that their presence in such numbers and what most of them were wearing constituted a threat to freedom of speech and assembly.

Scott from Edmonton said...

Myke, I see what you're saying. Jen, I apologize for calling you an idiot right off the hop. Anonymous, no matter how you write it - you can't collect welfare and organize looting accross the country and call it peaceful protesting. You can accuse me of watching CBC, get angry at my common sense attitude; I know people were released as soon as they explained they were walking to their car, or whatever. Hey Anonymous, try venturing outside of Toronto for something other than a protest. Take the blinders off so you can see that people actually work for their money and don't expect their taxes to be wasted on criminals who want to take advantage of a situation they can go looting. Try "fix the system" not "fuck the system" for a change.

historyjen said...

Looting is not "peaceful protest." No one (who is sane) would suggest such a thing. There were tens of thousands of protesters out on the weekend, and max 200 rioters.
A great number of people were detained or arrested by police, including a lot of people who had absolutely nothing to do with even protesting. This is a fact.
Take a look at the makeup of the sanctioned protest on Saturday afternoon. You'll see that most participants were simply regular working, tax-paying folk who think the world should be a better place than it is. I think that's great, even though I am a bit more pessimistic than they are.
Your position has no basis in fact, Scott. You are welcome to your opinions, but I won't respect them unless they are based in reality.

Scott from Edmonton said...

Everything you just said, I had already stated. Just because it's been implied that I'm a conservative supporter doesn't mean you ignore what I write and put words in my mouth or jump to conservative conclusions for me - and justify yourself claiming I have no facts? Now that's a liberal attitude! You still don't see my point of view. And I don't have time to go over it again. Go ahead, protest in a red zone in front of a line of cops and take direction from a bunch of masked criminals. See if I care.

Alicia said...

The people who were looting weren't even protesters, FYI. Also, most of the people who were arrested and charged in connection with G20 were students. At least one that I know is a lawyer. Or, if you want to listen to Christie Blatchford, "affluent, mostly white kids with all their teeth." Check her article in the Globe and Mail. If even a conservative columnist can recognize that these people aren't the welfare-leeching people you're characterizing them as, perhaps you should too. Or maybe you're just bent on maintaining your stereotypical idea of protesters?

Also, none of those held on the highest charges were looting, either, as they were arrested in their homes Friday night - before they could even protest. That means they weren't part of the Black Bloc.

Clearly, you're not as informed as you think you are, Scott. You seem to think you know an awful lot about these events for someone who wasn't there and who obviously hasn't been keeping up with the news.

Scott from Edmonton said...

I believe it that there are some snot nosed white kids running around helping/organizing. Prosecute them. If they weren't being supported by their Mom they probably *would* be on welfare. If you go to an event like that, to raise trouble, you should be in trouble. These days peaceful protestors need to be wary of these idiots and do their part to catch them. Look, if someone from a organization in the protest had video for the cops to catch some looters, wouldn't it be a win for the cause? The mainstream media didn't have much to say about any of the organizations that showed up to peacefully protest (that I saw - but hey I don't watch much CBC, or much TV for that matter - so don't quote me on that either). Just cops and looters is what I saw (on mainstream media).

historyjen said...

I have a long list of people that should be prosecuted, and particular protesters who damaged property make up only a small part of that list.

I'm not hopeful that there will be much kerfuffle over this. The people in power just ignore the truth (and the laws) with impunity, and the people of this country are mostly like Scott and not like the rest of us on this comment thread.

It's truly sad/