Monday, June 28, 2010

New York Times Also Questions Actions of Harper's Storm Troops

The use of police provocateurs are becoming all too common, not only in Canada but everywhere. Like me, the New York Times wonders why vandals acted unimpeded while peaceful protesters felt the wrath of Stephen.

An escalation of aggressive police tactics toward even apparently peaceful protests at the Group of 20 summit meeting led to calls for a review of security activities.

After allowing a small group of people to burn police cars and smash windows unimpeded on Saturday afternoon, many of the 20,000 police officers deployed in Toronto changed tactics that evening and during the last day of the gathering.

There was a notable increase in both the numbers of police officers who surrounded demonstrations as well as more use of tear gas and rubber or plastic bullets. At the same time, there was a visible drop in the number of demonstrators in the city streets.

This wasn't the first time for Canada, and won't be the last unless we demand an independent investigation, and not by the police or the government.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association agrees:

Reporters arrested, CCLA civil rights monitors arrested, over 500 people in detention, police unwilling to provide access to lawyers, cellphones seized, what is going on? Police will say that 4 to 7 police cars were set on fire and that there was much looting and spray painting, pop cans and rocks were thrown and more vandalism was planned at the fence or elsewhere. Is the policing proportionate to the threat?

CCLA is concerned about the conditions of detention: people are being denied access to lawyers, they are unable to contact their families and we have heard that there are no plans for prompt release.

A UK Guardian journalist was beaten and arrested:

Jesse Rosenfeld, a Canadian activist journalist who has written opinion pieces on the G20 for the Guardian newspaper, has been arrested and possibly beaten, his friends and father say. His girlfriend, Carmelle Wolfson, called Mr. Rosenfeld late Saturday night, only to have him tell her he was in police custody at the Novotel, where dozens of protesters were arrested en masse after a protracted sit-in.

“He said, ‘The cops are telling me that they’re going to arrest me. I’ve told them that I’m a journalist, but they’re not recognizing my press badge and they’re telling me that they’re going to arrest me,'” she said. “Then he told me to get on the phone with his editor.”

And this case of mistaken identity while a six-month-old was in the house

A Toronto veterinarian says he awoke around 4 a.m. Saturday to the sight of a gun pointed at him by a black-clad police officer standing at the foot of his bed.

Then, says John Booth, he was told to keep his hands visible and to produce identification, asked questions about a man named Peter he had never met, detained on his lawn in handcuffs for half an hour, and informed he would be charged with the crime of conspiracy to commit mischief — before being released by apologetic officers who belatedly realized he had no connection with the alleged anarchist organizer they were seeking.

I'm with the Star. It wasn't worth it.

Promised a chance to twinkle on the world stage, the centre of this City of Neighbourhoods became a ghost town, an armed camp and a fiery anarchists’ playground. As smoke clears from a G20 weekend that saw unprecedented
mayhem continue Sunday, with tense protests and mass arrests a day after police cars were torched and shop windows smashed, it’s hard to find a Torontonian who says hosting the G20 was worth it.

What scares me the most is that this will happen: a speech made after a violent purge:

"In a few weeks time brown shirts will again dominate the streets of German towns. ... I should like to offer forgetfulness from this moment to all who were in part guilty of this act of insanity! . . . May they all feel themselves responsible for the most precious gift that can exist for the German people: order within and domestic peace."

And not the words of Hitler so much as this:

Correspondents who dashed about Berlin while the speech blared from loud speakers reported that it seemed to be received by the populace with unusual apathy. (GERMANY: Purge Speech, Time Magazine, July 23, 1934)

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