Did police stand down during G20 black bloc action in Toronto?
During the recent G20 summit, in which laws were embellished and unrelated items were presented to the public as weapons, more than 700 protesters, journalists, tourists, and residents were detained but not charged in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Detainees were placed in metal cages in a warehouse space, with "logistics" blamed for unsystemic distribution of water. In an open letter, Amnesty International has called for an investigation of policing tactics and detention conditions.
Arresting hundreds of people who have not broken the law poses the risk of a public outcry against the police, and some are accusing the G20 security forces of attemting to manage this risk by employing the "Miami Model". The Miami Model involves manipulating the media narrative to persuade the public that protesters as a whole pose a criminal threat.
Police sources have claimed that G20 security forces were told to do nothing during the hour-long downtown black bloc action. The optics of the black bloc action were subsequently used to characterize protesters as "terrorists" and justify the detainment of hundreds of people who had no connection with the black bloc action and had broken no laws.
Despite the G20 police admitting to misleading the public, no external investigations have been announced by any level of government. Allegations of deliberate police inaction pose a number of importants questions. If the police allowed the black bloc to destroy property, what was their rationale and who made the call? If, as critics suggest, the "Miami Model" was employed by the G20 forces, did they do so to create a pretext for broader police action intended to discourage future protest? Given the lack of criticism of the detainments by the two largest federal political parties, an external, independent investigation is needed to assure Canadians that this style of policing won't become the norm.
Photojournalist Joe Wenkoff details police inaction during the black bloc action.
Jul 1, 2010 at 7:33pm
That was very good. Certainly there was police complicity and possibly active involvement with the black block.
Jul 1, 2010 at 7:38pm
With over a billion dollars to provide security, one can be certain that CSIS and the RCMP infiltrated and spied on all the members of the Black Bloc in order to anticipate their planned activities for many months in advance. With many thousands of police and private security officers on site for the conference, it is highly suspicious that no police were available at the critical moments to interfere with the window breaking and police car igniting activities of the Black Bloc (or agent provocateurs) which were employed subsequently by the government, police and media to tarnish the reputation of all the protestors, to distract the public from the many important issues being debated, to rationalise the absurd $1.2 billion security budget, and to justify the severe violations of civil rights of protestors, bystanders and journalists by the police.
The following account is but one of many that found the absence of police when the window breaking and police car destroying occured to be extremely fishy, suggesting more is at work than simple police "incompetence".
Alongside my neighbours from the Danforth area, I joined the large march on Saturday afternoon on the first day of the G20 Summit in Toronto. We felt proud to be there alongside over 10,000 other Canadians -- women, unionists, students, teachers, people of all ethnicities and backgrounds -- demonstrating our commitment to peace and social justice. We passed by hundreds and hundreds of police without an incident.
Soon afterwards, while catching a meal on the patio at Fran's Restaurant on College Street, we heard glass breaking on Yonge Street, and saw a mob of about 150 coming around the corner, hurling chairs into windows. Someone threw a bottle through a window showering me in broken glass. What was most striking was that there were not any police in sight.
Evidently this group had started rioting on Queen Street over half an hour earlier -- where the police drove one of their cars into the middle of the group then abandoned it. It was soon set on fire -- making a great photo op.
The group proceeded up Yonge Street smashing windows all the way up Yonge Street, at least eight blocks, without being stopped by police.
There were reported to be 19,000 security people on duty, and a senior officer told me they had 7,000 police.
As an academic and an activist, I have participated in numerous demonstrations in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America, and I have never seen such a dereliction of duty.
Normally, there are buses full of riot police right in the downtown core, ready to move at a moment's notice.
The police knew that they should focus their energies on the Black Bloc, especially so late on Saturday afternoon.
But when the rioters came smashing their way up the main street of Toronto, the police disappeared for half an hour.
It would appear that the security forces allowed this riot to happen in order to justify the $1 billion which appeared to have been wasted on security measures in Huntsville and Toronto.
They must not be allowed to discredit those of us who protested peacefully.
We must hold this government responsible for wasting $1 billion dollars on security measures, and then trying to justify it by allowing
David Langille is the executive producer for Poor No More, a feature documentary on Canada's working poor.
Jul 1, 2010 at 10:39pm
It sure seems obvious that they did.
Jul 1, 2010 at 10:47pm
Pure nonsense by the "bleeding hearts" crowd . Many of these hooliganswere known to police & recognized as non-ligitimate protesters. These cowards were removing there black garb & infiltrating the ligitimate protesters in ordinary clothes & identified by photos. Also these same thugs were well organized , moving from location to location , causing the police to constantly break off and rush to the latest disturbance. As for the 20,000 police & security persons & the 1 billion $$$$ cost this is
normal for similar events elsewhere in the world . Too bad if the poor souls were placed in temporary cages & lacked water . They are no better than terrorists whose soul purpose is to create chaos & prevent the perfectly legal protesters from getting there message out , which basically they succeeded in doing . The ligit & innocent protesters were bound to be caught up in these arrests which must delight the thugs , especially when they read articles articles such as this in your left wing tabloid.
Jul 2, 2010 at 12:31am
The green light given to the Black Bloc to rampage reaks fully of Montebello agent provocateurs...
stage a violent, firey photo op justifying the billion $ security bill, meanwhile discredit genuine protestors and have the mass media CENSOR footage of the arrest, abuse, encaging and mistreatment of hundreds of innocent citizens...
Police Manufacture Pretext for Oppressive Conduct
Jul 2, 2010 at 12:39am
As a special Canada Day gift to us all in Canada today, the first ever mainstream media article exposing a stand-down order to facilitate a false flag operation has appeared in the Toronto Sun this morning, with Joe Warmington reporting that "there was "a clear order from the command centre saying 'Do not engage' ", referring to the covert official allowing of the protected "Black Bloc" to rampage through 24 blocks of downtown Toronto breaking store windows and burning police cars to provide the pretext for the later assault of the peaceful protesting citizens on Saturday June 26, 2010
("Cops had hands 'cuffed - Could have moved on Black Bloc anarchists - but brass ordered them not to.")
Jul 2, 2010 at 12:51am
Black Bloc Vs Manifest Destiny of Canada
The country is shocked a riot broke out. The Black Bloc is us/you. The Black Bloc, the thousands of protesters, the violence at the G-20, the fence, the diversity of tactics – that’s all the fault of the grown ups. I think they're to blame. They've helped create a democratic inequity. They taught their kids to not vote, to not participate in council meetings, to not learn how to talk back to authority, to not join Riding associations. They taught their kids to unwittingly conspire against democratic methods. See, kids under thirty simply don’t vote, 80% of them don't vote. In fact hardly 60% of the entire population voted and it’s a phenomenon that’s spreading throughout the Western world. I don’t know exactly how we filtered democracy out of our children’s lives, how we deal with it in schools and at the kitchen table is a mystery. We taught them language, reading, how to find work, how to ride a bike, how to cook a meal but you didn’t teach them how to be a normal citizen. This action of not voting creates a massive political cleavage between desire and reality. It is an unsympathetic ghetto creating an imbalance that is without just order, clear thought or any sort of mutual harmony. Voting and democratic participation is the fishing rod that is a significant part of what creates the path to a future that isn’t scary, that doesn’t have five billion dollars worth of prisons on the horizon, that doesn’t have to worry about agents of influence because the agents of influence should be a greater percentage of the population being active in the Canadian landscape. What is your idea of the manifest destiny of Canada?
Jul 2, 2010 at 8:17am
We saw similar treatment of Olympic protests here, when police allowed a small number of protesters to smash windows downtown, then announced to the media that the Olympic protest movement had been "infiltrated" by "criminal elements" - thus invalidating any further protests against the Owe-lympics as "criminal". This style of policing is already the norm.
Jul 2, 2010 at 9:53am
Bona fide, sincere anarchists, bona fide anarchists riddled with agent provocateurs, or fully formed creations of CSIS (as some claimed on another thread)...
...at the end of the day it doesn't really matter which of those it is. The Black Bloc tactic allows the State to control the narrative.
Why would you continue to use it? How many own-goals will you score before it sinks in?
As it stands, the anarchists seem more committed to tactics than issues.
Timothy Webster Green Party Candidate for Richmond Delta
Jul 2, 2010 at 10:17am
Calling public participation asking for an independent investigation into:
- G20 planning. 1.1 Billion dollars is lot of money and is roughly equal to the 2 percent GST reduction.Why was the recommendations of Toronto ignored. Security at the CNE could have been obtained at a fraction of the cost? A military base which includes security could have been used with open land for demonstrations with very few targets for vandalism.
- G20 1.1 Billion spending requires a detail financial audit. The G20/G8 was budgeted to cost under 200 million. This difference represents an enormous mismanagement of public funds.
- Confusion and than an order by high command, telling officers to stand down and not to stop vandals, even though they had more than sufficient personal and equipment
- Ineffective administration of the G20 security and planning. Why was a high command order required to NOT engage vandals? Videos show that most were by standers and very few vandals.
- Why did police deceive the public about the public works laws? Action must be taken when police do not honestly execute laws and regulations. This police corruption.
These problems cross multiple levels of government, police and security services. Which have failed to protect and serve the Canadian public to various degrees.
This requires an independent investigation. Given that these problems cross multiple levels of government and police, I strongly suggest monitoring the independent investigation committee by international monitors who will publish at various point of the investigation, with a final full published report at the completion of the investigation.