Monday, June 28, 2010

What Actually Happened at the G20 Protests

2010 June 28
by Ian Welsh

There’s been a lot of crying about “thugs and anarchists” in Toronto. I live about 4 blocks from where some of the vandalism occurred, though I wasn’t there at the time.

As best I can tell, what happened is that for about an hour, the Black Bloc protesters clearly and visibly prepared for action, with both the police and other, non-violent protesters able to see they were doing so. The number of Black Bloc vandals seems to have been between 50 to 100, certainly not more than 200. (The police had 20,000 men.)

The police actually withdrew, leaving behind police cars for the Black Block to torch. Which they then did. The Black Bloc then proceeded up Yonge street (the main north/south street in downtown Toronto), vandalizing as they went, and eventually many headed over to Queen’s Park, the Provincial capital. Two hours after the first violence, the police finally take action, ensuring that there are plenty of videos of police cars burning and vandalism that would not have occurred if they had taken action earlier.

According to the police, rather than confront a maximum of 200 protesters, they withdrew behind the barrier around the G20 meetings and let them vandalize downtown Toronto for 2 hours.

At the end of the day the people who matter never even saw any protests and the 1 billion dollar police presence and suspension of civil liberties was “justified” by vandalism and burning police cars.

Simply put, the police decided that they couldn’t spare say 2,000 out of their 20,000 men to stop 200 vandals. This was a deliberate decision to allow downtown to be vandalized.

I leave it as an exercise for readers to decide if this was a matter of incompetence, or if it was a deliberate strategy. And if it was deliberate strategy, just what they were trying to accomplish with their strategy.

Of course, along the way Canadian Civil Liberties observers were arrested as well, and protesters were not allowed to see lawyers.

I am ashamed to be Canadian today, and I am ashamed of my governments, at all levels.

some comments:

anderson permalink

It would not surprise me in the least to learn that the so-called vandals were false flag cops. And this would not surprise me, because Canadian cops (specifically Quebec Provincial Police) have been caught doing this not so long before, or rather, they were caught attempting to do something like this before.

“Police came under fire Tuesday, when a video surfaced on YouTube that appeared to show three plainclothes police officers at the protest with bandanas across their faces. One of the men was carrying a rock.”

Indeed, these were only the cops that the protesters had discovered. No one knew, and the cops certainly did not admit, just how many cops might have been so anarchically armed and costumed.

False flag cops have been a feature of political landscapes for decades. And they are there for a number of reasons, long and short term: to delegitimize protests generally, i.e. always make them look violent, and to delegitimize the particular protest and, more importantly, to provide the pretext to start the crackdown and arrests.

  • 2010 June 28
    Ian Welsh permalink

    As I understand it they moved out from the cover of non-violent protesters for quite a substantial period of time.

    I suspect that the businesses vandalized do not think that letting them run amok for two hours was the preferred solution. Nor was then cracking down on clearly non-violent protesters who had no black block amongst them at all.

  • 2010 June 28
    JustPlainDave permalink

    We have a different understanding then. I debriefed with a number of friends and professional acquaintances who were there and they were unanimous on their accounts of how these guys operated. They had well thought out and executed TTPs - they suited up and changed into “colours” while in the crowd (with an organized outer screen providing cover for them), pulled their action while surrounded by other demo attendees (pretty commonly being accompanied by organized teams to watch their back and actively attempting to prevent other attendees from getting video/stills of the operators that would result in viable ids) and changed back into civvies either in the crowd while screened or after exfil from the demo.

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