G20: Fire, Tear Gas and Rain

28Jun10

Instead of trying to avoid the madness of the G20 in Toronto this weekend, I spent some time in downtown. I was not there as a protester, but as a spectator. I witnessed a police car on fire, and police in riot gear standing firm in the face of taunting protesters.

It was frustrating to witness people who claimed that it was their human right to walk south on University Avenue which was being blocked by police in riot gear. It was funny to witness people with signs stating “I’m bored” or “We want umpires, not a global empire” (referencing the Blue Jays game which was moved out of Toronto due to the G20 Summit). It was sad to see people destroy property, especially in small businesses where you would often see a proprietor looking helplessly at the broken glass and merchandise which they would now have to contend with.

It was exciting and frightening, but it seems that ultimately mother nature, and the incredibly heavy rainfall on Sunday afternoon, pacified the situation. What I missed was the message. Why were the protesters protesting? What was the cause? What was the solution? Many signed proclaimed things like “Down with Corporate Fascism”, and “Fuck the Banks” but I’m truly at a loss as to what these groups were trying to achieve. All of the human effort, the time spent, the injuries sustained, the arrests made, and I don’t feel like I heard what anyone had to say, except perhaps insults towards hardworking police officers.

As I drove back to Waterloo, I was glad that President Obama and Prime Minister Harper didn’t spend the weekend here.

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