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(en) Canada, Quickie G8/20 reportback

Date Tue, 29 Jun 2010 10:56:21 +0300

I just got back from Toronto G8/20. The protests were invigorating, spirited and meaningful. It reminded me of RNC 2004 with an organized activist base (including a bicycle collective loaning out bikes) and creative tactics. Below is my very brief synopsis. ---- There were smaller protests during the week. ---- The march on the 24th was a large protest march concentrating on womens issues, indigenious issues and the like. Cops in riot gear lined the streets and did some smatching and grabbing for no reason. ---- The Toronto CM that Friday night was very calm. It was a long long ride and the regulars said that the police were more polite than usual (sometimes they harass riders and issue tickets like NY). The cops however are on bikes. There were at least 100 people on the ride.

Saturday was another march called "To the fences" The march tried to get to the fence only to be beaten by cops with riot shields.

There was a sizable black bloc contingent which did their thing. Some cruisers were left in the middle of the street by cops and those were torched. There were cops in riot gear standing back and observing. The media ate up the cop cars being torched.

I ended up in Queens park (sort like like Washington Sq. park) and a bunch of protesters were milling around. Queens park had been designated as an gov't sanctioned gathering space for demonstrators.
As people were standing around, police lined up and started to move people away from the entrance of the park. Then they started to fire teargas and rubber bullets. At one point, they charged with horses and one person was trampled and then grabbed and arrested by cops.

Saturday and night the arrests began in earnest. Houses were raided. (some were raided earlier as well). People were arrested walking on the street on suspicion of being an "anarchist" because they were wearing black or had a backpack. On sunday morning, there were about 200 people doing jail solidarity. They were boxed in by cops and fired upon with tear gas and rubber bullets at point blank range. Then they were all arrested. Journalists were also arrested.

I rode with the bike bloc on Sunday afternoon. It was about 1000 people and harrased by bicycle cops. We rode out to the jail solidarity. After a standoff with cops, they did let us stay and they began releasing people little by little in the early evening.

When I rode back from jail solidarity, a street block was cordoned off with 1000 people inside boxed in by cops. From what I was told, it was just a march and the cops boxed people in and detained everyone in the area for hours in a t-storm before arresting them. The police in turn were surrounded by angry Torontonians who were shouting derogatory remarks at the police and outraged by cop tactics. Unfortunately, the anger wasn't strong enough to block cop vans which coming in as backup.

In all about 900 people were arrested and held in a makeshift facility at the Toronto film studios. (conditions were deplorable). I'm not sure of the charges.

Today there was a demonstration at police HQ.

More info can be found at the g20 canada mobilize website.
Despite the cop repression, the energy and determination as well as the organization was a beautiful thing to behold.

And, it wasn't a million degrees out either. (ugh, this heat...)
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