G8/20 Rioters Take Toronto

Toronto was a scene of chaos on Saturday, June 26, as an estimated 10,000 protestors against the G20 summit meeting marched through the streets.  While it started peacefully, riot police were deployed after some rioters began breaking windows, burning cars and vandalizing property.   The police used tear gas for the first time in the city and arrested at least 600 protestors, causing the Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair to express his extreme disappointment with the event.  “I am profoundly disappointed in the criminal acts which have taken place,” he said, “We have seen windows broken and police cars burned. It is very regrettable that such vandalism and violence could not be prevented. I want to assure you that the persons responsible will be held accountable.”  The G8/20 summit cost $1.1 billion, $900 million of which was to pay for security, and further costs of damages have yet to be assessed.  Protestors had called for “1 billion for education, not fortification” in response to the outrageous cost of hosting the world’s leaders at the summit.

Yet the visuals of the event show striking similarities to the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, Washington in which police were brutally violent with innocent protestors.  There are reports that protestors who remained peaceful in the streets were subject to tear gas and rubber bullets.  In a statement headed “THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE,” the Ontario Anarkismo group, Common Cause reported that on Sunday morning”protesters sitting in the streets this morning at a jail solidarity rally were subjected to violent baton attacks, snatch squads and rubber bullets by the Police.”  The latter was denied by the Chief of Police.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said free speech is a principle of our democracy “but the thugs that prompted violence earlier today represent in no way, shape or form the Canadian way of life.”  Meanwhile, Toronto Mayor David Miller put the blame on a small group of “thugs,” who would be held accountable for their actions.

The “thugs” seemed to target U.S.-based stores such as Pizza Hut and American Apparel, where they broke the windows, dismembered mannequins and threw feces inside; they also vandalized banks and small-businesses and stores.  The protestors were also successful at shutting down public transportation in the city, although the G8/20 meetings still took place.  Yet for Canadians, the protests gave them an outlet to address serious issues the country is facing.  Toronto protestors grasped the world stage and used strategic violence to garner public and political attention worldwide.  Other protests in response to the G8/20 meetings took place in other major international cities.  Protests like these are a reminder of the importance of free speech and the right to assembly, yet also a grave insight into the state of the current political climate and social unrest taking place around the world.

One Response to “G8/20 Rioters Take Toronto”
  1. Pennywisdom says:

    It’s all just spectacle with no content.

    “That’s my new desktop picture, right there.”

    What doe he think makes that desktop space available besides the multinational cooperation and exploitation of resources that the meeting was meant to preserve?

    The Indivisible Individual

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