6.24.2010

paranoia strikes deep: g20 "security" insanity in toronto

Canada has gone insane.

In Toronto, the two massive security fences and multiple road closings keep the downtown tied up in knots. Helicopters circle overhead all day. Activists are being visited by CSIS and undercover police.

This week we were all shaking our heads at the news that trees are being removed because they might be used as weapons! Trees! But the trees have plenty of company - bus shelters, newspaper boxes, garbage cans and bicycle rings have all been removed, too. And the paranoia catches on. Some Tim Hortons locations have removed metal napkin holders from tables.

I caught a glimpse of CP24 the other day - something I rarely do - and their promo for G20 coverage includes a brief image of an angry mob of protesters, someone throwing a flaming projectile. Where is this happening? Certainly not at an event that occurs in the future. Is it footage from another G20 protest? Is it from Canada? Who cares. Just throw in some sexy action footage, add a little more scare into the mix.

Downtown office workers are being advised to "dress like protesters" so they won't be hurt. There's irony for you. More like, dress like protesters so you're more likely to be detained and harassed. It's protesters who need to protect our ear drums from LRAD sound cannons and our lungs from tear gas. Maybe protesters should try dressing like Bay Street lawyers to protect ourselves from the cops.

A few weeks ago, 20 protesters gathered to highlight excessive police tactics. Police outnumbered them two-to-one.

Spend a billion dollars on security, and if nothing happens, say the money was well spent. Spend a billion dollars on security, and if there's an incident (whether actual or manufactured), and say the money is well spent. Either way, our own money is being wasted on war toys and security theatre.

Then I see progressive Canadian bloggers who live in the GTA debating whether or not to join the protests, and I see how effective the scare tactics are. The people who run Canada and Toronto want to scare us into staying home, and apparently it's working.

Believe me, I have no great wish to be tear-gassed or have my ear drums blown out. But most demonstrations are peaceful, and there's no reason to think Saturday's march will be any different. Let's recognize this for it is: intimidation. They're trying to keep us home, and to keep us quiet. I'm sorry that for so many people, that works. Fortunately, for many people, it makes us doubly determined to be seen and to be heard.

19 comments:

L-girl said...

G20 road signs

deang said...

That is brilliant. With all the repression already going on, you'd think they wouldn't allow something like this. I mean, those signs could be used as projectile weapons by evil protesters, y'know.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the link to the signs!!

Love'em...I'sharing on FB.

redsock said...

... those signs could be used as projectile weapons by evil protesters ...

There are rumours of some groups planning to attack police with projectile vomiting.

Everyone wanting to protest will have to have all of their fingers cut off to avoid sticking them down their throats.

L-girl said...

If we could protest Harper through vomiting, we'd all be bulimic by now.

John F said...

As you say, L-girl, the message is clear: we serfs should huddle in our cottages while the lords of the realm discuss lofty matters.

L-girl said...

John F, well said.

impudent strumpet said...

From the last paragraph here:

"Don't forget that we are hosting the G20 in Toronto on a Saturday and Sunday," said [G20 Director General Sanjeev] Chowdhury. "By and large, the downtown core is empty. It is pretty much business heavy. That was one consideration when we chose the location."

This thing is being organized by people who think downtown is empty on weekends! WTF?

La Sentinelle said...

"the After Downing Street" blog just posted this:

US Peace Activist Arrested for Going to Canada for Lunch

Tighe Barry from Code Pink has been arrested in the US in the past for nonviolent peace activism. Now he's tried to go to Canada from Detroit for lunch and he's being held in Windsor Jail for ... what? Tell the US State Dept to get him out: 1-888-407-4747.

I feel sorry for you all in Toronto. We went through the police state control here in Saint Paul, MN during the Republican convention in 2008. Amy Goodman was arrested and many other journalists, too, for no reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope and pray that none of the stuff that happened here happens in Toronto.

Nitangae said...

WTF indeed, Ignorant Strumpet. Did they fly this clown in from Phoenix? Alternately, perhaps Harpercons are like Bishop Berkeley - since they would never go downtown except on business, and so never seen anybody downtown on Saturday and Sunday, they assume that there is nobody downtown at all.

L-girl said...

Sentinelle, I hear you. We went through it with the 2004 RNC in NYC. Massive "pre-emptive" arrests, spying, police brutality.

Thanks for the heads-up about the Pink.

L-girl said...

Hi Nitangae, I assume that's just an honest mistake on Imp Strump's name. :)

L-girl said...

You have no rights, starting now.

L-girl said...

"By and large, the downtown core is empty. It is pretty much business heavy. That was one consideration when we chose the location."

This thing is being organized by people who think downtown is empty on weekends! WTF?


Seriously. I work in the downtown core on weekends. At 10:00 p.m. I walk from King & Bay to Union Bus Terminal and the sidewalks are crowded and busy. There's a lineup for all the GO buses and they are packed.

L-girl said...

Nothing spells police state like reporters being detained.

La Sentinelle said...

Oh my goodness, L-girl. This is breaking my heart to read what is going on in Toronto. It's the same MO as what they did here in Saint Paul for the Republican Convention. Journalists detained, protesters arrested for no reason, other folks arrested just because the cops felt like it and yes, there was one huge fence all around the Xcel Energy Center where the convention was , too. Where I live was right on the border of the security perimeter and EVERY night for over a week there were helicopters flying all over the place, so, try sleep through that ! There was every kind of police car from all over the USA here, too. It felt like one big Gulag for a week. Unbelievable.

impudent strumpet said...

It's busy enough that you've always got multiple eyes on the street on a Sunday night (you know, that day when shopping closes at 5 pm and lots of people have to work the next morning) after midnight but well before last call. A friend whose workday starts at 5 a.m. (before the subway starts running) tells me there's always multiple people around then too.

Nitangae said...

Sorry impudent strumpet - no offense taken, I hope.

I have a tendency to stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and this is made worse by all the crazy blog names (of which mine is one)

impudent strumpet said...

@Nitangae: No worries, I didn't even notice. People get it wrong all the time. It's especially funny when they think "impudent" is how you spell "impotent".