July 15, 2010

OMG-20 (Toronto, Ontario)

I delayed posting this thinking I would have time to re-edit some photos, and maybe come up with some poetic way to describe the hectic weekend of the G20 summit in Toronto. I was wrong. I've been very busy ever since.

Although these were exceptional events here in Toronto, on the world stage, the protests and riots were fairly insignificant. A few police cruisers burnt down, some broken windows... Protesters didn't injure anyone (the police took care of that), nothing compared to what we saw in Thailand a few months ago, or in the Paris suburbs a few years back (when they wanted to increase tax on baguettes if I recall).

I wanted to cover the lighter side of this social experiment. Some protesters dressed like clowns, were actually hilarious:

Or people dancing in Allan Gardens, where a lot of out-of-town protesters (a lot came from Qu├ębec) pitched tents - I guess you can't afford hotels on an activist's paycheck:

The city had been deserted, this is Yonge Street during the morning rush hour:

The bigger story was really the way the police acted. Numbers were humongous; 19 000 officers (Pittsburgh only had 5 000), 1.1 billion for security (60 times more than the 18 million last year in Pittsburgh). And all that just to kick civil rights in the crotch.

Some of my friends and fellow journalists, while wearing proper ID, were roughed up and arrested. At one point I was watching a very peaceful - borderline boring - protest, in the officially designed protest spot - and out of nowhere, police officers in full riot gear would charge the crowd and arrest the person standing next to me, who hadn't done a thing. I could go on and on with example of police fuck-ups - and I'm not one to usually side with low-life protesters.

More so than a few 17-year-olds from Montreal dressed in black breaking windows; the way the police forces dropped the ball on that one is what will be remembered of the G20 in Toronto.

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