The G8 meetings were held away from any big city, so there was little protest activity while G8 fat cats conferred on June 25-26, 2010, in affluent Huntsville, Ontario. G20 participants in Toronto, on the other hand, were greeted by thousands of activists on the streets.
G20 protesters, in turn, were treated to the brutal hospitality of Toronto police, Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, other cops and Canadian military personnel. It was quite the Bizarro World lovefest, with some 10,000 armed enforcers doting on citizens who were exercising their rights to assembly and expression.
By “doting on,” I mean – among other things – bashing heads, handcuffing and throwing people into vans. More than 1,100 people were arrested.
In one notorious incident captured on video, a bullying cop who was trying to get a man to show the contents of his backpack told the guy to “smarten up and listen,” and then told him “This ain’t Canada right now” and “There’s no civil rights in this area.” As you can see in the video, the bully-cop was accompanied by colleagues who remained disturbingly quiet while he used his size to intimidate a much smaller person and told that smaller person that his civil rights simply didn’t exist at that moment. It was a shameful moment in policing.
Dozens of protesters were injured, and several of them went to hospitals for their injuries. (To be “balanced,” let’s note that dozens of officers reported injuries. I don’t know of any requiring hospital care, however.)
An “independent” (i.e., non-police) investigation of the events of late June 2010 in Toronto concluded that police violated Canadians’ rights and used excessive force. Those conclusions, announced a few days ago, came as no surprise to anyone who was paying attention to the news back in late June 2010. Disciplinary hearings have been sought for some, but it seems few if any officers will face serious consequences for their thuggery. In fact, I’ll bet all of them got pats on the back for a “job well done” right after the summit. Even the aforementioned bully-cop.
Today I’m seeing news reports from Chicago, where a thuggish mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) has pledged to keep order in the streets while NATO officials meet to discuss keeping the world safe for global capitalism or democracy or whatever.
The thousands of protesters in the Windy City can expect roughly the same treatment as their comrades got 23 months ago in Toronto, one supposes. Or maybe a little better – but “better” by whose definition?