Thread: Only In Toronto, Eh?
06-27-2010, 08:24 AM #1
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Only In Toronto, Eh?
We saw some of this broadcast last night.
G20 chaos as protesters rampage in Toronto Module body
Sat Jun 26, 11:18 PM
By Colin Perkel And Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press
TORONTO - It was a day of unprecedented chaos in downtown Toronto as roving bands of G20 protesters set fire to police vehicles and smashed windows Saturday despite a $1-billion security tab and thousands of police at the ready.
A core group of militant protesters, disguised with dark bandanas, wearing black bike helmets and using what's referred to as a Black Bloc tactic, remained at large after their campaign of violence. Still, police vowed to bring them to justice.
Police in riot gear marched through city streets for hours, pounding their shields in warning as they tried to restore order in a city under siege.
The violence came as leaders of the world's G20 nations met behind the steel and concrete barrier that has earned the city the moniker "Fortress Toronto."
With protesters seemingly running free through the streets, Toronto Mayor David Miller defended how police responded to the splinter groups that broke off from a larger, peaceful protest march.
"A small group of people essentially runs in a deliberate pattern away from that demonstration, a very difficult task to immediately redeploy everybody," Miller said.
"The police have to protect the site where the G20 leaders are."
That appeared to be the strategy, as police held their lines just north of the G20 security zone, metres away from a chaotic scene that saw bank windows smashed with hammers and storefronts destroyed by hurled rocks.
When reinforcements did arrive the protesters were long gone, leaving officers the task of driving back non-violent demonstrators.
"Our streets!" the protesters chanted in response.
As night fell hundreds of protesters mounted a futile campaign. Chanting "To the fence," the group made several attempts to approach the security barrier, but was blocked by riot police at every turn.
Earlier, a newspaper photographer was shot with a plastic bullet in the backside, while another had an officer point a gun in his face despite identifying himself as a member of the media.
The Integrated Security Unit confirmed police fired plastic bullets during the protests.
The chaotic situation saw Toronto police use tear gas for the first time in the city's history, said Chief Bill Blair, who added the city has never seen that level of violence in its streets.
Some 5,100 officers from forces across the province have been tasked with protecting the summit. Security has been pegged at $1 billion.
A thick plume of dark grey smoke hovered above the city's financial district at Bay and King streets after three police vehicles were set ablaze.
When the skies cleared, the damage was laid bare — at least one cruiser was completely gutted by fire and the other two badly scorched. Graffiti was scrawled on bank towers.
Hours later another police car was set on fire — and then another.
The Prime Minister's Office condemned the violence.
"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," spokesman Dimitri Soudas said in a statement.
Miller made his remarks from the Direct Energy Centre, where international reporters covering the summit are stationed.
Four massive screens suspended from the ceiling showed a live shot of Toronto's silhouetted cityscape dominated by the CN Tower, but not a sign of the chaos in the streets.
"That's what they're showing in here?" he wondered aloud.
Police said more than 100 arrests were made, and that tally was expected to grow through the night.
The hospitals on University Avenue, where the march began, and the Eaton Centre shopping mall were put under lockdown. There were reports of looting at the mall, a popular tourist attraction. Downtown subway lines and commuter trains were shut down at the request of police at the height of the violence.
At the Ontario legislature riot police formed a line, three deep and began moving forward en masse to push back the crowd of a few hundred people.
Several times a group of about seven or eight officers would suddenly break out of the line, grab one of the protesters, handcuff them and drag them back behind the line.
The group chanted "shame" and "the world is watching," while police told them it was an unlawful assembly.
Throughout the city officers had corralled groups of protesters, but there was no sign of the balaclava-clad protesters who caused the carnage.
That renegade group of about 50 people left a trail of destruction down Queen Street West in the heart of the city as they targeted symbols of power, authority and capitalism.
Bank windows were smashed with hammers. Rocks were thrown through several Starbucks coffee houses. TV vans were smashed. Mailboxes were flipped and chucked at windows.
One protester threw a pickaxe through the window of a bank tower like a tomahawk as his posse roared its approval.
"Bomb the Banks," was spray painted on walls.
Another protester was seriously injured after suffering a head injury and was carried away by others.
Store owners were moved to tears on the sidewalks outside their vandalized shops, and parents hurried away carrying crying children.
An eclectic group of about 4,000 people ranging from greying seniors to families with strollers and tattooed hipsters had gathered at 1 p.m. to protest the summit. Things turned violent about 90 minutes later when the smaller group dressed in black broke away.
Black Bloc is often mistaken for an organization, but it's actually a protest tactic according to websites devoted to the method. Protesters dressed normally infiltrate peaceful demonstrations, then change into black clothing and cover their faces in balaclavas or ski masks.
The uniform look makes it difficult for police to identify who perpetrated an act of violence, such as smashing a window or spray-painting a building. Protesters can change back into regular street clothing and go unnoticed by police.
James Ruehle, a 49-year-old contractor from Pickering, a half hour's drive from Toronto, saw the burning of the three police cruisers.
Ruehle was stopped in his truck at the lights at the corner of King and Bay streets in the city's financial district as the protesters approached.
Three police vehicles zipped past the line of traffic into the intersection, where they stopped with lights flashing. A group of about 20 to 30 police then began to congregate but an officer Ruehle thought was a police captain ordered them back.
"The cop was yelling at them 'Back up!' 'Put your batons down!'" said Ruehle.
The police in the cars, he said, then amazed him by backing off, leaving the cruisers running in the middle of the intersection with their lights flashing and doors open.
"It was like an invitation G(to the protesters)," said Ruehle.
"One kid with a helmet and a black suit jumps on the trunk lid of the police car and jumps up and down like a madman."
Ruehle said three or four others in similar garb quickly joined in
Anarchists leave trail of destruction
By Toronto Sun staff
Last Updated: June 26, 2010 10:57pm
Click here to watch the videoCop cars on fire and store windows smashed as thugs take over the downtown core.
Hard-core, balaclava-wearing anarchists burned police cars, smashed and looted stores and threw bricks, bottles and bags filled with urine at police Saturday.
Two cruisers were set alight at King and Bay Sts. and another two cars went up in flames on Queen St. near Spadina Ave.
Violent protesters left a trail of shattered glass along Queen St. W. and then up Yonge St.
The stench of their vinegar-drenched clothes, soaked in a bid to ward off any teargas, followed the anarchy through the streets.
Police Chief Bill Blair said late Saturday as protesters continued to trash city streets that 130 people had been arrested and warned his officers would hunt down all the vandals.
He also confirmed that police used tear gas.
Mayor David Miller condemned the “criminals” who vandalized the city’s streets, expressing outrage at the way some protesters chose to make a political statement as world leaders met here for the G20 summit.
“We were concerned about people coming to Toronto to deliberately commit violent acts and I have no doubt whatsoever that this is what we are seeing. Torontonians should be angry about it,” Miller said.
“People who want to deliberately break windows and burn cars. This has nothing to do with protests.”
Torontonians watched with dismay as the kind of fiery violence that has plagued previous G8 summits played out on their own streets.
More than 30 people were arrested over the course of the day-long protest, which began peacefully at Queen’s Park.
But frustrated by an impenetrable line of security forces surrounding the downtown site where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was hosting the G20 summit, activists turned on the city.
Police let them get as far as Queen St. W. and then brought them to a halt.
Skirmishes broke out at several intersections as the officers were pelted with bottles of water, protest signs, urine and manure.
Protesters pulled rocks from gardens and bottles from recycling boxes to use as projectiles.
Some came armed for trouble with bats, hammers, and metal ball bearings.
The TTC shut down subway service on both the University and Yonge lines and told GO Transit to stop trains at the Danforth GO station.
Anarchists from the notorious Black Bloc left a trail of their trademark black clothing along Yonge St., shed to blend in with more peaceful protesters.
Starbucks, Swiss Chalet, American Apparel, Money Mart, all the major banks, TTC streetcars stalled by the protest, media vehicles, and the Zanzibar Tavern and its G-String Summit were all trashed.
Buildings and vehicles were tagged with graffiti ranging from anarchists’ symbols to slogans like, “F*** the rich” and “Kill cops.” Protester Lucy, 24, who wouldn’t give her last name said she was marching for no cause in particular.
“I’m glad Toronto had the balls to stand up and do something,” she said. “I haven’t seen Toronto like this before.” Her view wasn’t shared by many Torontonians.
Comedian Dave Regnier was walking up Yonge St. to eat dinner when people started running past to get away from protesters smashing glass.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said.
Toronto resident James, who wouldn’t give his last name, was riding his Vespa on Yonge St. when people fleeing the violence told him to get off the road. “This sickens me,” he said after surveying the damage up and down Toronto’s main street. “It’s crazy.”
The protests continued on throughout the afternoon, moving back to Queen’s Park Circle where pepper spray was used to subdue activists just a few hundred meters from the seat of Ontario government.
Later, a large crowd gathered outside the security fence at Bay and Front Sts. and the mayhem promised to go well into the night.
Hundreds of gawkers were drawn into the city by the demonstrations.
With camera phones in hand, they gathered behind police in riot gear and snapped pictures as the officers clashed with protesters at numerous intersections.
“I just came out to see what the fuss was all about and to see how crazy things would get,” said Matthew Marr, 19, a professional dancer who moved to Toronto six months ago from St. John, N.B.
The surreal scene included a moment when residents of an apartment above the standoff puts speakers out their window and blared Bob Marley’s One Love and other peace songs.
At the south end of the security fence, there was little sign of any discontent, aside from a patient Buddhist monk from Japan faithfully pounding a drum.
But about 100 Black Bloc anarchists in head-to-foot black, leading a core angry crowd of about 300 more protesters, failed to heed the messages of peace and soon were seen destroying store fronts and generally creating the kind of havoc they’re known for at G8 summits worldwide.
When the march bunched up at Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave., a call suddenly went out and the Black Bloc could be seen running north through the crowd until they found a police car which they promptly demolished.
Then they took off, breaking windows as they went, until they came across the two cruisers which they torched.
“They’re very organized — it’s almost like a cat-and-mouse game,” one observer said. “They are picking the few weakness they can find in the cops and targeting them and then quickly dispersing so they don’t get caught. They’re definitely the leaders.”
The number of protesters estimated at anywhere between 4,000 to 8,000 was down sharply from many previous summits.
In 2001, a G8 in Genoa, Italy, attracted an estimated 200,0000 protesters — one anti-globalization activist was shot dead by military police, more than 100 people were injured and the damage to the city was extensive.
The U of T’s Ella Kokotsis, director of external relations for the G8 and G20 Research Group, who has attended 15 summits, said this level of violence was not expected.
“I’m completely shocked to see what’s going on right now,” Kokotsis said. “I’m just surprised that it’s happening in Canada, to be quite frank with you, because it’s the kind of activity that we tend to see in Europe or we’re going to see in the United States but not necessarily here.
Kokotsis said 4,000 protesters is a much smaller number than have shown up at previous summits but “it doesn’t mean that they can’t wreak havoc.”
Legitimate protesters who work within the law, who attempt to get their voices heard through less controversial means, may feel that their concerns won’t be heard above the chaos.
“When this kind of thing happens, it just diverts the entire world’s attention to what’s going on in the streets, takes away from what G8 leaders have done ... it’s going to hijack the discussions, the press conferences, by the prime minister,” she said.
“But this is their aim; this is what these types of people do. The eyes of the world are on them so they’re going to do what they can in front of the cameras. And they know that those images are going to resonate around the world. It’s a real opportunity for them to make a statement.”
In the days leading up to the summit, city Councillor Kyle Rae told The Sun Toronto is getting all the pain and chain-link fences of international summitry and none of the spinoff benefits.
“The federal government didn’t ask us if we wanted to host this thing,” Rae said.
“Part of it is them visiting as much disruption and dislocation as they felt they could do. They don’t care for Toronto, Torontonians don’t vote for them and they have just reinforced that for the next election.”
Meanwhile, the G8 meetings in Huntsville earlier in the week brought buckets of federal cash for civic improvements and new facilities throughout the region.
The few protesters who made it to the town offered free hugs.
“Tony Clement isn’t a Toronto MP,” Rae said of the Parry Sound-Muskoka cabinet minister.
“It’s called pork-barrelling, isn’t it?”
06-27-2010, 12:34 PM #2
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Liberal extremist at their best. These clowns make SC and Obama look like they are conservatives. It is sad that the liberal media will not tell you what they are protesting against. There are groups like Greenpeace that are intent on putting mankind back in the caves.
It happens every time. Our leaders aren't too smart. They could solve this problem by having the meetings in a 747 as I circles the globe. Source of the departure and destination are top secret. That way the leftist rebels cannot protest because they won't know where to go.
I hope that the G20 reimburse Toronto. Given the history of these events one has to wonder why any city or country would want to host the meeting.
06-28-2010, 02:17 PM #3
It's obvious you're not well read. The coverage of the rioting (as described in malahat's post) has been on the website of every news organization that reports.
Gawd are you stupid!!Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."
06-28-2010, 03:13 PM #4
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