A million sets of handcuffs
Coments on the Toronto G20 debacle
First of all for $1.2B they could have left 50 police cars in a parking lot in Scarborough and invited everybody to burn them and not have any cops downtown and could have saved money.
Second what's so bad about the events of last weekend is the 99.99999% of protesters who were not only reasonable but polite. But there's ample video to show the police acted unreasonably to the point of cruelty one would expect in less civil contries. We know this because it's recorded on video all over town. Many cases of the police shouting "MOVE!" As the crowd goes "Ok eh, like, uh where eh?" as polite as the Dickens. But they had nowhere to go making the cops look not only mean as grade school bullies, but stupid as well.
We've only seen video from protesters. If it were me I'd make sure one in 30 officers were to do nothing more than videotape the actions of the police. Then I'd instruct the police, before they began angrily screaming obscenities into the crowd, to ask nicely. You show me where trying to be polite and reasonable didn't work. This might not work in Chicago or Los Angeles but I'm utterly certain in Toronto the good that people will do as they ask. The cops with video-cams can record incidents where they don't.
Which would at least provide some evidence that some cops acted reasonably. Because all we have so far is lots of video where the police acted like animals using wholly unreasonable force.
and if the police get part of a $1.2B slice of "security pie" (whose security? Clearly not the security of the peaceful protesters who unlike the poeple in the G20 meeting actually paid for these policing services) then the least they can do is make sure they had enough food and water and places to sleep for the people they kept till 4 am without charge. I saw the number of police on the streets and if they can't even prevent their own fucking cars from being burned then the least they can do is act as waiters in prison to make sure at least people had sufficient water and a blanket if their guests, in wet clothing in a severly over-airconditioned building got a bit chilly.
Imagine if the same police tactics that were used on the protestors were used on the G20 meeting delegates: picture the Japanese delegate being late for lunch and asking where the room was of a security member and being told "MOVE NOW, JUST FUCKING MOVE NOW NOW NOW" while in a stunned look fumbled with bad english "argato, where arigatio?" only to be rushed by other police and taken away in a headlock then held against his will with no food in a crowded vomit ridden cell for 15 hours without charge. Now imagine paying for this.
But in a greater sense, hello poeple, use email. Face to face meetings as an affective method of getting anything done are SO twentieth century -> they seldom worked, are horrifically expensive and don't really accomplish that much. Certainly they rail agaisnt the ideas of open government and fiscal responsability.
So while Rome - or police cars - burn, maybe we should sit back and re-think this whole thing. What started as a series of meetings for north American interests - it's come to light that the G20 started when the ministers of finance for Canada and the US just dreamed it up one morning and wrote down 20 names on the back of an envelope of countries they though would do what their business leaders wanted - but without the regulatory checks and balances the UN would afford, the rightful place for this sort of intergovernmental dafting of supernational policy negotiation.
We won't even talk about whether a Federal government has the right to force a city against its will to hold an event of this magnitude and in this wartime environment.
We are taxpayers, and we're paying for a war nobody wants, subsidizing high level meetings for big business interests to aid the transnational destruction of the environment and human values of health and work and then you beat us up when we protest in ways you set down the rules for?
This isn't what we paid for and we will not pay for this. Stop doing this or this party is over and you can all look for new jobs and good luck with that when your resume said you wer let go because you turned a peaceful city into one where it's citizens are not safe from conditions of sexual and physical abuse just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Last year in England a 47 year old man doing nothing more than walking home, got caught up in one of these and died. If that had happened here the tone of events now unfolding would have an entirely alternate set of characteristics. Keep this up, and it will happen though.
Or the protesters would simply increase in size until a million of us will drive the point home more clearly. Do you actually have a million sets of handcuffs?
Richard Sexton, Summer 2010