Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Face of 'Peaceful' Activism

Live blogging of G-20 protests (cum riot) at the Toronto Star's site. Who exactly did not see this coming? Especially given that whenever activists -- be they Anarchists, Trotskyists, Eco-Marxixts, One-Worlders, Anti-Poverty agitators, Post-Colonial Jihadists, etc. -- were interviewed (for print or radio), they almost invariably refused to disavow violence as a tactic. Not to tarnish all of these idiots with the same brush, there were a couple of notable exceptions. But still, the live blogging at the Star, and the live coverage on CFRB radio is now revealing a story that most Torontonians feared but fully expected.

From the Star's live blog:

4:03 p.m. Smoke fills financial district
The police car set on fire is slowly exploding now; it is popping every now and then. The mob was trapped on the west, south and north, so everyone ran east away from the car. Smoke is whipping through the financial district.
One woman with a megaphone yelled: ”Violence is not the answer.” The mob is yelled obscenities at her. “They’re no better than the G20,” she retorts.
4:01 p.m. Police wall off intersection
 Police have walled off King and Yonge. The cops are moving up Yonge. Medics are running around, screaming “Is anyone hurt?”
3:57 p.m.
I hear people say we're headed to Dundas Square. Everyone walking north on Yonge St; the goal of reaching the fence has been abandoned, seemingly.

And then there's this revealing description, a little later on:

3:30 p.m. When it turned violent

Groups were still crowded at the intersection of Spadina Ave. near Queen St. W. when protesters began smashing a police vehicle, with an officer inside. Officers scared the protesters away with batons and managed to get the officer out. The protesters continued to smash the vehicle before heading east.

No specific group targeted the police cruiser. Protesters wearing black have broken a Nike business window, and other business windows. There was a discussion and the protesters are now going back to Spadina, most clad in black in gas masks.

Protesters are breaking windows, destroying commercial business windows. They are chanting "against police, against prison." They are refusing photos by media. Nike store window was destroyed. Foot Locker was also targeted.

Protesters are also dragging mailboxes into the streets to block them. It is beginning to get unruly.

The black-clad protesters are leaving independent shops alone. They hit Subway hard, throwing pieces of cement and reusing them again. CIBC was just smashed. Others are tagging walls and moving on. People are blocking cameras’ lenses.

There is a man with a hammer, he is taking out windows.

"Protesters wearing black" and "black-clad protesters" -- where have I heard that before?

Oh, yes. Most recently from Jonathan Kay in the National Post. When revisiting the events of the Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City in 2001. Kay recalls:

Many of the legitimate protesters I interviewed insisted that the Black Bloc was a violent fringe with its own militant agenda. And there was truth to that: As the weekend conference unfolded, I saw that it was the same few dozen black-clad protesters who were throwing bricks at police and generally acting like criminals. But it was also true that the rest of the protesters often acted as the Black Bloc’s cheering section.

Chris Boutet is also live-blogging for the National Post here.

While police have shown considerable restraint, by all accounts, there will invariably be questions in the coming days about whether the police could have prevented any of the damage and mayhem. And there will be questions about arrests that were made (in pre-dawn raids), and arrests that may not have been made during the rioting and vandalism.

As we go through the post-mortem of the G-20, let's spare a few words of contempt and ire for the militant 'black bloc' wannabes, the radical revolutionary poseurs, and their assorted throng of 'cheerleaders' from some of the 'peaceful protest groups'.

*Update* There are now reports (as of about 5:00 pm) that tear gas has been used for the first time in Toronto's history. At this moment it's still unconfirmed.

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