Perception Is Reality

Guest Post – G20 Weekend: A Civil Society Failure (Part 2)

Posted on: November 3, 2010

(This is a guest post by Scott that continues from June 29th)

After they had charged about 25-30 feet, they stopped and held the line. The crowd started signing ‘Oh Canada’ and sat down in the road to protest the charge. What happened next, made me want to stand up and fight. As soon as we were done singing, the police charged at us again. Some of them even used their shields as offensive weapons. Theres a difference between using a riot shield as a tool for crowd control, and using it as a battering ram.

(videos follow)

To me, this was an aggressive move. One that came very close to starting a riot.
Human nature is such that one can only be pushed so far before eventually, the person pushes back.
I could sense this in the crowd because everywhere they went, there was a roadblock of police, not really letting them go anywhere. After that, I decided that I had seen enough and should probably not test my luck. So that concluded my G20 weekend.
Now thats what happened, but how do I really feel about it? How do I feel about the Police’s lack of presence on Saturday, and the over-presence on Sunday? How do I feel about the suspension of civil liberties? Well, I’m not sure to be honest. I have been on both sides of the line (I worked crowd control for Caribana 2006) and I know that when you get your orders, you don’t question them, you follow them. Thats all the cops on the front line were doing. And for the most part, I commend them. Crowd control is NOT an easy job to do. Especially when there are crowds in the masses they were in this weekend. But at the same time, I am of the mind that at one point or another, a line has to be drawn and public order has to be maintained. But that point should only be after civil unrest has occurred. Had they decided to suspend civil liberties on Saturday during/after the violence, I would have been okay with that because civil unrest had broken out, and that tactic would have been needed to ensure that order would be continued once it had been maintained.
I feel like the various Police departments went a little bit too far.
They were there to keep the peace, but sometimes their actions caused people to get agitated.
Some of the arrest methods were just wrong. Having the line swell with officers, and then have 15-20 dart out like flies, cover a protester and drag them back behind the line. It was aggressive, scary and sometimes caused people to panic, which in turn caused others to panic. The hardest part about being in a situation like that, is that I sometimes deal with men on a daily basis, giving my occupation. So I know how it is from a police perspective.
I  definitely do not agree with the draconian style of policing on Sunday. We are a country that has a constitution based on certain liberties. Liberties that make this the greatest country in the world. Liberties that make many immigrants leave their homelands. Those liberties were removed. While I understand the reasoning for it, I don’t agree with it. I saw protesters walking by with signs, signs which were broken while they passed by police.
Even out of the bad, I did find some good.
I talked to people who I’d normally pass on the street and not give a second thought. Although a lot of their stories were sadly the same with feelings of police oppression, but for the weekend, it felt like my opinion matter to the people around me and they going to make sure my voice was heard. It was a pretty good feeling.
I saw a lot of things this weekend. Things I never in my wildest dreams think I would see in my lifetime. I’m glad that I was there this weekend, because it was an absolutely incredible experience. But I pray to God that I never have to see this in my home again.

(Afternote: After the part where the cop told me to ‘get bent’, i should of mentioned that we were on Queen Street West, in front of the courthouse, 5 blocks north of the Restricted Zone)


4 Responses to "Guest Post – G20 Weekend: A Civil Society Failure (Part 2)"

It was done by back hand some one.

It’s great to see good information being shared and also to see fresh, creative ideas that have never been done before.

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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