You know, it seems like the best way to avoid being arrested in Toronto this weekend was actually to break shit. They didn't arrest those people. They arrested swarms of peaceful protesters participating in marches like the kind that happen every day, along with whatever bystanders and journalists happened to be around.Watch the video from an 18-year-old non-protester who was arrested on his first day living in Toronto, then subjected to homophobic abuse in the lock-up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntcr5E_LE7M
The problem is, the police were under a lot of pressure to keep control, and the radical protesters werent exactly wearing uniforms to identify themselves. I actually have a measure of sympathy for the Toronto police here, because they were put in an utterly no-win situation, one that was aggravated by a helluva lot of stress all around. I dont think any of us would have taken that job.
It doesn't seem too much of a mystery that when people break things, you arrest them, rather than let them go on freely for ninety minutes at a time. At separate protests, when other people are peacefully protesting, you don't arrest them, and you certainly don't sweep them up into "kettle formations" along with uninvolved bystanders, assault journalists, and keep them in mass lock-ups under inhumane conditions while subjecting them to sexist and homophobic harassment. That's not the sort of thing that just happens because you're under "stress." That is calculated denial of civil liberties.
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but I suggest you try *being* a policeman during those riots, then come back and tell me how easy a job it was. Sorry, but this is a no-win for the cops: if they let the protesters run wild, they'll get slammed by the public. If they try to keep violence to a minimum, they'll get slammed by the public. It's easy to sit there and tell me how bad the pigs are, but I dont see anyone coming forward and telling me what the pigs should have done.
Are you kidding? They should have arrested people they saw committing violent acts, and they should have facilitated peaceful protests and journalism. I know they're capable of the latter; I see it at most of the protests I attend. Even if that, somehow, was too difficult, at the very least they should have refrained from calling arrestees "fucking dykes," mocking the accents of arrestees of colour, and threatening journalists with rape. Those things are very easy not to do.
I'm publishing the comment prior for three reasons:(1) The things he talks about (mocking the accents, et al) are, IMHO, the actions of a very small percentage of Toronto police. The ones I know wouldnt do that kind of crap, and I'm pretty certain that the ones this poster describes represent about as much a percentage of the entire force as the violent protesters did the protest in general. (2) It's easy for the violent protesters to run and hide in a crowd to elude arrest, which doesnt give the police a whole lot of alternatives. If you've done something you know is against the law, I really doubt you're gonna stand there with your arms outstretched and say, "Okay, arrest me!" More likely, you're gonna get your ass out of there. Nor do I see anywhere in this the accountability of the people whose actions force this in the first place. Where is the anger at those who think the destruction of someone else's property is an acceptable form of protest? Where is the ire at those who think such mindless destruction is accomplishing anything at all for the very issues they're marching against? Why are we giving these people a bye and telling the police they're a bunch of reactionary jerks?(3) For an excellent example of (2) above, kindly note that the person making these accusations against the Toronto police force prefers to remain anonymous. That, my friends, is blending in so you dont have to be accountable.If anyone else wants to make these kinds of accusations, have the guts of putting your name -- your real name, not some terminally cute internet handle -- to it. Otherwise, dont waste my time.