As you know, I spent much of the weekend watching birds having sex. But that wasn’t all I did. I also spent a fair amount of time glued to my computer, monitoring the constant stream of Twitter updates from protesters and journalists at the G8/G20 protests in Toronto. Trying to make sense of it.
At this point, I have far more questions than answers. For example, why did this happen?
Who set the five police cars on fire? With 19,000 cops on the ground, why were they permitted to do that? How did they get such easy access to police cars? Since – by all accounts I’ve heard – the vast majority of the 25,000 protesters were behaving legally and peacefully, why were peaceful protesters and journalists detained while the so-called Black Bloc were allowed to run rampant? Why were people beaten up? Could it possibly be true that detained women were literally threatened with rape by the police??
Now, in the aftermath, it’s all about the battle for public opinion. My political inclinations put me on the side of the protesters, but regardless of where our political inclinations lie, I think we should all want to know what really happened out there. I want a full public inquiry into the events of this weekend. There’s an unprecedented amount of video and photographic evidence which needs to be examined and analyzed in order to provide a more complete picture of what happened. There are thousands of eyewitnesses.
Someone asked me if I always think the cops are in the wrong. No, I do not. But they’re the ones with the most weaponry, armor, power and anonymity. They’re the ones vested with the authority to use that weaponry and power. Power is so easily abused, especially in large numbers, especially under the cloak of anonymity, and probably more so under volatile circumstances. I have no doubt that some police behaved in an entirely appropriate manner, and others did not. Same with the protesters. But the police can infiltrate and impersonate protesters to manipulate the situation (and have been known to do so), whereas the reverse is not true.
Even more important than any individual and spontaneous acts of wrongdoing, I want to know which acts of wrongdoing were part of the plan.