Toronto G20 Protest Reaction

Oh shit it’s about to get all political up in here.

I don’t broach this subject too often, I think politics are pretty personal.  I also know that my views are different than just about all my friends and most of my colleagues.  I don’t want to argue about politics, I already get too worked up about the Kobe vs LeBron debate.  I wanted to share my views on a certain situation though since I have seen so many facebook status updates about it.  The good ol’ G20.

I think everyone can agree it was a waste of money and Toronto as the host city was one of the dumbest moments in our Countries generally dumb recent history.  That said…I found a lot of peoples reaction to the protesters really worrisome.

I do not condone the violence or destruction that a small minority of protesters took up on the first day of the summit.  I am not here to defend morons.  What I find worrisome was the general population’s disdain for all protesters.  Weird.  From this point on I am not going to talk about the Black Bloc and the violent protesters – I hope they got their heads rattled off jail bars, and are prosecuted.  I don’t even care if the cops got some extra licks in on them.  I also have nothing against the police.  Just like the protesters I am sure there were bad seed police, but just like I will not cast aspersions upon all protesters, I have to do the same for the police.  for the most part they were just following orders any ways.

What I found crazy is that the police were arresting peaceful innocent protesters and even regular citizens on the second day.  Right away people are probably saying “Well why were they there?”  I can answer that two ways.  First, the peaceful protesters were there to get noticed.  it is a huge political event with world leaders, that is when people SHOULD be protesting.  And before you judge what they were protesting, remember there were a high number of different groups there protesting, and I am sure everyone could relate or agree with at least one of them.  That said big scale events will attract protesters because they need the exposure.  We live in a country where people can protest, so when they do shouldn’t be an issue if they do it peacefully (the vast majority did).  Secondly, the citizens were probably there because they LIVE there.  If I live downtown Toronto (and I did for a decade) I am not going to be confined in my house because of the G20.  If I need a bag of milk I am going to the store.  Sorry, but the idea of 20 world leaders circle jerking each other around a million dollar fake lake is not getting between me and  my miniwheats. Where does it say citizens, tax payers, home owners, renter, hell even transients can’t walk around Toronto due to the G20?  It doesn’t.  People who were blocks away from “the fence” were corralled by police for hours and then some detained.  These weren’t violent protesters, these were peaceful protesters and citizens!  If you don’t believe me, turn off Global TVs coverage and check out the user submitted videos that flooded social networks.  Hell, even half the broadcasters who were quick to show the destruction of the first day, couldn’t believe the police action the next day.

Which brings up my next point – the general disdain for any protesters.  People on Facebook with status updates about “finally Police are busting heads like they should” make me sick. Sorry fellas, but I live in Canada we are allowed to protest.  If you want to live in a country that doesn’t allow protest – feel free. I am sure you would be comfortable living in such free countries as mainland China and North Korea.  Just 2 countries that use force to break up protests.

I am surprised people have such a low opinion of protest in general…every single social change of all time has been sparked by protest.  Do you have a problem when black people protested the right to vote?  What about women?  How about laborists who protested for overtime wages, weekends and stat holidays?  Any interracial couples out there who would complain about civil rights protests?  Protest may seem meaningless to you but it has changed the complete scope of our lives. If you don’t have a problem with protests of the past (and how can you?), then why do you have a problem now?  Are we as a society done?  Have we finally reached our apex as a people?  Sweet racism, sexism, homophobia, war and poverty have all been eradicated!  I wish someone tweeted that so I knew!

That is pretty much the end of my rant.  To sum it all up: Peaceful protest needs to be protected and guaranteed.  The police overextended their powers the second day and I assume there will be some inquiry in to see who issued those commands.  He/She should be reprimanded.  If you have a problem with protest then you have a problem with social change.  That is indisputable because protest has been the driving force behind almost all of our positive social changes.  Next time you cheer on the police “busting heads” think about how you would feel if you were peacefully protesting something you believe in – and because some moron beside you threw a rock, you wake up in a holding cell.  Lets protect the people who take a stand, while we stand back and complain from the sidelines.

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