Bikes as transportation and shields during the G20 Summit Meeting in Toronto yesterday. Hover over the photos for captions and attribution.
Lloyd at Treehugger, of all people, mocks the idea of using bicycles to intimidate protesters. I suppose he wants them to go back to good old fashioned armored riot vehicles with water cannons.
I was in Toronto for G20 and the police force that was shown was completely unreasonable and a waste of money, seeing as they couldn't prevent a few windows from being smashed, and maybe only 1% of their 1,000+ arrests proved to be significant. They mainly wasted valuable resources busting every day citizens. The police unions wrote themselves a blank cheque with our government money. They were paid with our money to keep the public out (in a violent and intimidating matter) of the G20's lavish private party. This is not democracy last time I checked. The leaders of the G20 seem to consider themselves royalty, and the chant from many people in the streets was “off with their heads.”
Intimidated peaceful citizens who came out to show dissent from their government is not acceptable in a free society. Having a safe space to disagree with your government is a fundamental of democracy. The 19,000 cops that were in Toronto (compared to the 5,000 that were present at the London G20) was a sheer intimidation tactic used by whomever was giving orders. The fact that no one is accountable for the orders given is also ludicrous.
Who gave the orders to charge a group of demonstrators who were singing our National Anthem? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qynihO0WFHc, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvXSpnG7E2g&NR=1
This was the real G20. There were over 25K people in the downtown core celebrating democracy. 100 fake anarchists smashing windows took all the attention, so did the staged police cars. I watched one burn for 30 minutes without one cop or fire fighter called in to stop the staged media bonanza.
But- there were too many citizens screaming and yelling at the individual police officers Verbal assault is NOT peaceful protest. If you have anger issues, see a therapist, political demonstrations is not a forum to get your angst out.
Also- I would like to say that in speaking to certain police officers, there is not a way for them to refuse orders, or show dissent to their orders. They cannot disagree with the orders coming from a voice in their earpiece, lest they risk punishment, a possible loss of job, or even worse an alienation from their community of law enforcement.
One police officer told me his group was sent out for 13 hours, and when they returned to their hotel rooms, they were ordered to go out for another 4 hours for no reason, with no way to say refuse the order. I saw on a police officers facebook that she hadn't been fed a decent meal in the 8 days she was on assignment. We had police officers who were tired, taken away from their families, stressed, and under fed. How can we expect them to make rational decisions under this form of stress? Why on earth would a commander subject their troops to this kind of abuse? Why, with rallies of thousands of concerned citizens, and over 1.1 Billion dollars in security spent, with thousands of citizens wrongly arrested, is there no public inquiry?
My city became a police state. My friends were caged in and arrested, and kept out in the pouring rain for 4 hours because of a peaceful demonstration. This happened in the streets I grew up in and love. It makes my heart ache thinking of what happened to my city. I spoke with many wonderful police officers, and I hope the good men and women on our force will speak out on the inside and help eradicate the power-hungry persons who were responsible for this assault on democracy.