A report from a London based activist on the ground at the G8 Summit in Toronto, Canada.
After London, hot reception for G8/G20 in TorontoTagged as: g20 g8 protests repression social_struggles summit
The G8/G20 jamboree rolled up in Toronto Canada last week. Not to be outdone by the authorities in London last April, over a billion dollars has been spent on security, $4million alone on fencing, and 20,000 cops on duty to stomp on dissent. After the third day of protests on Saturday, the arrest figure stood at around 400. By the end of Monday it exceeded 900 - the highest level of mass arrests in the countries history (but still a long way off the mass arrests experienced in Copenhagen during COP15).
An appeal for support for the G20 arrestees has been made, and there is a call for a solidarity demo outside the Canadian embassy in London this saturday 3rd July.
A London based activist is over there and has been on the streets over the last four days of protests which have left chain stores and banks smashed while police cars burn...
Like the G20 protests in London last April, activists have experienced preemptive raids of homes and convergence spaces in the days leading up to the protests and during the protests themselves. After driving by the Alternative Media Centre several times the previous night, police showed up to intimidate and search people there, claiming they could not be sure that those inside the space had broken in or were squatting. Many alternative journalists have been assaulted or detained. One was arrested for filming police doing searches at a convergence space where many activists were preparing to return to their home cities. Over 200 cops raided the space arrested at least 20 people and trapped more inside for many hours. Twitter was buzzing with reports of severe overcrowding, repeated strip searches and denial of food and water in the massive detention centres set up to imprison those arrested. A prisoner solidarity demo outside on the detention centre was violently broken up by cops firing into the crowd (video/audio). Tear gas and rubber bullets were used againsts protesters who were also charged and herded by mounted police and of course beaten with batons and shields.
The mainstream media has been full of stories about 'violence' by protesters . In one article police justified mass arrests and kettling tactics on the basis of them being caught off guard by the speed of the black block during Saturdays protests. Another article compared the police tactics to those used in Europe during similar summits. Some media covered the summit itself but obviously the paps have had far more fun publishing stuff about people smashing windows and burning police cars .
"Don't believe corporate media hype. The streets of Toronto were full of thousands of informed individuals who care about the lack of legitimacy of the G20, their undemocratic backroom deals, their instance on continuing to privatize the commons and socialize risk. Harper has tried to criminalize dissent by spending $1billion for this summit but lots of people demonstrated today that he has gone far beyond the pale of acceptability - his attempt to peddle his neo-liberal austerity measures to the rest of the G20 in order to pay for the banking bailout will destroy social progress it took decades to build. But dissent is what will save us and I am glad to report that lots of people in this town are not having it!"
"Demo was amazing. Huge, multicultural, labour movements, environmental movements, justice, loads of people from everywhere. Press here is a shit storm. black block are being vilified, lots of broken stuff but no looting - very canadian."
- report from London based activist on the ground in Toronto
Some videos here
- UPDATE cops shoot protester point blank range http://www.thestar.com/videozone/829371--police-fire-muzzle-blast-at-protestors
Audio interview here:
- Eye witness report of police attack on prisoner solidarity demo http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/audio/dru/christoff.mp3
You can expect some good coverage in the Guardian as it has been reported that one of their journalists was assaulted and arrested there - http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/guardian-journalist-assaulted-arrested/3865
- Report http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/27/g20-toronto-protest-riot
- Pictures http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2010/jun/27/g20-summit-protests-toronto
Unfortunately Indymedia is pretty much a dead project in Canada with most of the regional sites now gone or no longer maintained. There is no IMC Toronto but some coverage is being posted to http://ottawa.indymedia.org/ and http://quebec.indymedia.org/en/
- http://ottawa.indymedia.org/en/2010/06/11343.shtml (mp3 http://ottawa.indymedia.org/media/2010/06//11345.mp3)
There is a mobalising web site set up with info about the various demos etc here http://g20.torontomobilize.org/.
Additionally there is a social media aggregation site set up by the Toronoto Media Coop (http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/), pulling in content from youtube, flickr and twitter etc with the tag #g20report see http://2010.mediacoop.ca/.