Conflicted over the G20 conflicts

This weekend’s G20 in Toronto saw some of the most astonishing acts I’ve ever seen in my city. My feelings on what happened are quite conflicted and I’m sure many Torontonians are feeling the same.

I’m all for people peacefully protesting for causes they believe in; this is a right we all have, living in a democratic country. At the beginning, many of the protesters were in fact being peaceful from what I could see on TV. If this continued, I’m sure the police wouldn’t have acted as much as they eventually did. It was only when the infamous Black Bloc decided to join in, that everything decided to hit the fan.

It’s now common knowledge that these thugs aren’t there to protest for any cause, but to cause damage and incite rioting. After all of this happened, the police were taking no chances with protesters, blocking them off at all points and trying to disperse them wherever they could. At this point, I fully supported the actions taken by the police and G20 security forces, however it would’ve been much more advantageous to all if they’d stopped them before causing the damage . It’s very easy to judge forces on their actions, but I’m sure it’s much more difficult for them to plan on where/when they’ll specifically attack.

They did step up their take down of others, after the fact, who had changed out of their black garb and into regular civilian clothing. With all the surveillance downtown, many were probably caught and in other seemingly non-violent protests, the police took out individuals they deemed suspicious.

Many say they were attacking innocent people but if they have intelligence that rioters are texting to mobilize troops then it makes sense to take out people texting. I wasn’t there and I’m sure there are those who will disagree with me, but if police are also telling people to repeatedly to back away and they don’t? Well that that also gives them reasonable cause to take action, in my opinion.

On Sunday night there were many people who were held up at Spadina Avenue & Queen Street West for about four hours. Quite a few, even members of the media, were detained or arrested. The thing is, most of these people weren’t protesting anything, but say they were just in the area. The question that I asked all weekend was, if you’re not protesting anything, why are you putting yourself in such close vicinity of the officers who you know are arresting people who get too close? Many people would’ve solved much strife by listening, or just staying home. That being said, many of these people were held in the pouring rain for much of the time and not provided with any kind of shelter – that’s not acceptable. What’s even less acceptable was the fact that after holding people for so long, they eventually let many go since they had no space for them in the chartered TTC buses. It just goes to show they had no legitimate reason to hold them to begin with.

It’s been said many times, but these meetings, where nothing new is apparently done, should be taking place at the UN or on secure military bases, if they insist on having it in a different country each time. The over $1 billion cost to tax payers is ridiculous coming from a summit that is supposed to discuss creating a more fiscally sound world economy. That money, as we all know, could go to countless different causes and make many peoples’ lives better. And what about the cost of repairs to many businesses who have had their facades destroyed and others who have had to close for security reasons? I didn’t have feelings either way toward this summit until it came to my city, but now I wish it never did.

Please check out the Toronto Star’s photo blog on the G20 protests.

%d bloggers like this: