Friday, July 09, 2010

Protesting the G20 Fiasco

The G20 took place in Toronto last week and with it came the expected organized mass demonstrations against globalization and its resulting effects of hunger, poverty, homelessness, and damage to the environment. What was not expected was the mass arrests, including street sweeps that took in people who had nothing to do with the protests. The reason? A few black-clad "anarchists" dubbed The Black Bloc smashed some storefront windows and set a police car on fire. More damage was done in the 2008 hockey riots in Montreal than here, and yet orders came from on high to arrest, detain, and suppress - including in areas designated as free speech zones. Perhaps the most shocking news came from those who were arrested and found themselves in cramped quarters with little food and water, denial of medical attention, no sanitation, and other deplorable conditions.

Vandalism (notice I am saying vandalism - not violence, as inanimate objects, not people were targeted by the Black Bloc) has a tendency to detract from the issues being protested. The media shifts its focus to that, and away from the issues being protested. As well, we heard little about the thousands of people who marched and protested peacefully, without incident.

As an activist, I found what happened in Toronto frightening. We do not live in a police state, yet the random arrests and conditions of the detention brings to mind Big Brother and gulags. With the sheer number of police available, it is astounding as to why the people really responsible for the vandalism were not dealt with immediately. There needs to be an independent investigation into the police actions to find out what went wrong and where. Over a hundred police officers from Edmonton went to Toronto (on our dime) - I personally would like to know what they were up to over there.

On Saturday, July 3, around 200 people took to the streets in Edmonton and marched from City Hall to Edmonton Police Headquarters in solidarity with those arrested during the G20. Here are some photos. As well, here is the video playlist of speeches and music.