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Montreal citizens protest police actions at G20 summit

Posted by Margot / July 1, 2010

montreal g20 protestMore than a thousand Montrealers marched through the city this afternoon in condemnation of the police actions taken last weekend in Toronto during the G20 summit. Composed of concerned citizens, activists, union leaders, babies, dogs, and the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble (the best damned marching band Montreal has to offer), the group met at Carré St-Louis shortly after noon, proceeded to walk west on Sherbrooke, up St-Laurent to Mont-Royal, then further up St-Dénis throughout the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal. Sure, we screwed up a lot of people's moving day (sorry about that, guys), but this time, it was for something a bit more important.

In case you've been on a camping trip sans iPhone or a darkroom with no Internet access for the past week, some serious violations went down in Toronto last weekend. Peaceful protesters, journalists, and others just out buying groceries were victim to police profiling and brutality, arrested without charge, and kept in holding cells for hours (and in some cases, days). Reading through the accounts of those involved posted to the Facebook group Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20 and on Youtube leaves me with the distinct taste of disgust. Elderly citizens flung to the ground for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gay, lesbian and trans people thrown in the same cell based on their queer identity. Women subject to gender-based abuse, and in some cases, physical and sexual abuse, at the hands of the people who we call(ed) "officers of the peace." One dude was literally (yes, literally) singing Kumbaya as he got clubbed in the back by violent police officers. Freedom of speech? Apparently not.

Unfortunately, what the mainstream media doesn't seem to be addressing is the problem at the crux of last weekend's events: the fact that basic rights, including that to assemble peacefully in a public space and that to express your opinions freely, were not upheld. Police state, shmolice state; this isn't the Canada I was brought up in.

Further, it's not a matter of the violence that occurred last weekend. Yes, there was violence -- including a cop car that was set on fire (though curiously gutted before the incineration?). Still, the fact remains that violence, in many forms, was carried out and proliferated by the police as well. Either way, It's not an "us-vs.-them" debate; they are "us", we should be "them." But when Canadians are too scared (or worse yet, too apathetic) to react against what is a clear violation of rights -- women's rights, queer rights, citizens' rights, human rights -- we've got a serious problem.

A wise man (hi Teddy!) once said that the worst thing you can do is do nothing. And a wise woman (hi Mom!) told me today that one of the most important things is to inform others of what's going on. Sure, the Internet generation is in touch (or at least we'd hope they are), but this is something that concerns everyone -- including those who don't get their news online. Send around links and Youtube videos of the acts of violence perpetrated last weekend, but more importantly, go outside and talk about it.

Because if you're not outraged yet, I have to ask: why not?

Merci à Matthieu Durocher pour le photo

Discussion

12 Comments

Ednonymous / July 1, 2010 at 07:35 pm
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When some self-important parent or welfare supported social twat refuses to leave an illegal assembly, they should feel lucky that all they got was a tap on the back.
Ednonymous / July 1, 2010 at 07:47 pm
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Outrage?

How about rioters breaking window and looting businesses?

What about rioters showing up with bats and clubs?

How many rioters' cars were set on fire?

These useless twats who represent no-one except the bored unemployed can go to hell.
Luc / July 2, 2010 at 10:46 am
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I just find it weird that people are so surprised and outraged this happened during a G20 conference. If I'm not mistaken, it happens every single time the G20 or G8 get together, right? What exactly did people expect this time around?
johnny / July 2, 2010 at 05:52 pm
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im tierd of getting my rights removed under the pretext of my own protection! its time people wake up....y faux qu'on se reiveille!!!
johnny / July 2, 2010 at 05:52 pm
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im tierd of getting my rights removed under the pretext of my own protection! its time people wake up....y faux qu'on se reiveille!!!
gay voice dating / November 16, 2016 at 03:23 am
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and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
totally off topic but I had to tell someone!
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