Steve Paikin's tweets offer eyewitness account of Toronto police brutality at G20 summit

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      Steve Paikin will never be mistaken for some sort of radical.

      The host of TVO's current-affairs program, The Agenda, has a reputation as a fair-minded interviewer.

      With this in mind, I will reproduce some of his tweets today (June 26) from the G20 protests in Toronto:

      "i saw police brutality tonight. it was unnecessary. they asked me to leave the site or they would arrest me. i told them i was dong [sic] my job."

      "they repeated they would arrest me if i didn't leave. as i was escorted away from the demonstration, i saw two officers hold a journalist."

      "the journalist identified himself as working for 'the guardian.' he talked too much and pissed the police off. two officers held him...."

      "a third punched him in the stomach. totally unnecessary. the man collapsed. then the third officer drove his elbow into the man's back."

      "no cameras recorded the assault. and it was an assault."

      "the officer who escorted me away from the demo said, 'yeah, that shouldn't have happened.' he is correct. there was no cause for it."

      "i can appreciate that the police were on edge today, after seeing four or five of their cruisers burned. but why such overreaction tonight?"

      "the demonstration on the esplanade was peaceful. it was like an old sit in. no one was aggressive. and yet riot squad officers moved in."

      "police on one side screamed at the crowd to leave one way. then police on the other side said leave the other way. there was no way out."

      "so the police just started arresting people. i stress, this was a peaceful, middle class, diverse crowd. no anarchists"

      "literally more than 100 officers with guns pointing at the crowd. rubber bullets and smoke bombs ready to be fired. rubber bullets fired"

      "i was 'escorted' away by police so couldn't see how many arrested, but it must have been dozens."

      "we must make a distinction between the 'thugs' who broke store windows and torched cop cars and the very reasonable citizens who..."

      "...just wanted to remind the authorities that the freedom to speak and assemble shouldn't disappear because world leaders come to town."

      "i have lived in toronto for 32 years. have never seen a day like this. shame on the vandals."

      "and shame on those that ordered peaceful protesters attacked and arrested. that is not consistent with democracy in toronto, G20 or no G20"

      "2. Who specifically gave the order to clear the street? was that decision made on site or by a higher authority?"

      "Does the tor police svc have any evidence of dangerous acts from those demonstrators that forced them to act that way, at that time?"

      "if any journos are talking to the police chief on sunday, those would be questions i'd like answered. ok, that's it. signing off tonight."

      Comments

      40 Comments

      pleb

      Jun 27, 2010 at 3:06am

      "the officer who escorted me away from the demo said, 'yeah, that shouldn't have happened.' he is correct. there was no cause for it."

      - It happened because of a very large inequality in power. Thugs act out when they are aware there will be no repercussions.

      "we must make a distinction between the 'thugs' who broke store windows and torched cop cars and the very reasonable citizens who..."

      - We employ paid agent provocateurs in Canada.

      "shame on those that ordered peaceful protesters attacked and arrested. that is not consistent with democracy in toronto, G20 or no G20"

      - Better wake up soon - you are aware of the size of the jails built - much larger than a handful of "anarchists". If we do nothing this is simply the new "consistent with democracy".

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      Strategis

      Jun 27, 2010 at 4:48am

      This irrational, unwarranted, violent, and illegal activity of police described above is exactly what I witnessed in the WTO Battle of Seattle some years back. This is a consistent pattern, and is escalating with every passing year. The government and police administration obviously want a totalitarian police state where Canadian citizens are too terrified to speak out or assemble, and these groups who are elected and paid to uphold the law, instead show contempt for the most important aspects of constitutional law.

      Subir Guin

      Jun 27, 2010 at 6:19am

      Obviously there are faults on both sides: the police are entrusted with a difficult task; most do their job well, but there are always over-zealous individuals among them, who in the heat of the moment forget about balance.
      I witnessed a comparatively mild demo at Alexander Park two days ago.

      The police presence there was clearly overkill and absolutely unnecessary; from the very start there were seven police motorcycles lined up along the East side of Bathurst. There were at least fifteen policemen on bicycles and more on foot mingling with the assembledc rowd of about 250 - maximum 300 poeple. Next morning Metro reported it as a noisy demonstration -an absolute exaggeration. And no mention at all about the topics raised as different people spoke to the rest of us including media people in the park. There was a Russian journalist there as well.

      My own evaluation of this whole episode, is that the summit could have been held without the need for such costly and elaborate security - the CNE grounds, Downsview were two other options. However our PM does not heed the advice of people who think things out realistically.

      I also condemn those protesters who openly flout their threats of confrontation with police and violence. This only creates impregnable walls of mutual suspicion and between law-enforcers doing their job and citizens.

      Pity we spend time on sorting out violence and vandalism, when this could be better spent on analysing policy issues on the G20 agenda!

      Mariane Cancilla

      Jun 27, 2010 at 8:38am

      The many wearing balaclavas and black who were smashing windows, burning police cars, destroying property were certainly not peaceful protesters ... but criminals committing anarchistic acts so I will call them anarchists. Police were right in clearing the streets and protecting the public from these people. Taking off the balaclavas didn't hide the clothing these criminals were wearing. Too bad the messages from other protest groups were lost in the media attention given to these thugs.

      jansumi

      Jun 27, 2010 at 10:12am

      The demonstrations method of protest has become undermined & co-opted. Agent provocateurs - yes - so the media & legitimate protesters play right into the hands of those who want the message to get lost. Other tactics needed: alternate G20 People's Forums held in parallel, speakers corners on every block, and -- attempts to reach those on the police force who may have no idea whose bidding they're doing...
      Did anybody invite Michael Moore, or even Rick Mercer. Thank goodness Harper's managed to at least $hoot himself in the foot around this one. Hopefully...

      Mike Black

      Jun 27, 2010 at 10:14am

      I am a 54 year old Canadian born, working for a company for 25 years very stable family life...I am totally discussed in the police management of the G20 security...they appear to me to be a bunch of uneducated thugs that are abusing their power and I will never look at a police officer in a positive way from this point on...they have set the public/police relations back to the untrusting dislike for all police. I've have never felt strongly enough to find a need to protest but feel for the first time in my life to drive down town Toronto to voice my discontent in the policing of this event...disgusting ...disgusting...disgusting...shame shame shame

      joker

      Jun 27, 2010 at 11:10am

      Funny how Straegis thinks the police were out of line but not the cowardly idiots hiding their faces and smashing property. What a bunch of losers.

      miguel

      Jun 27, 2010 at 1:02pm

      Riot,n. A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders. Ambrose Pierce.
      Miguel

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      V

      Jun 27, 2010 at 1:16pm

      "Police were right in clearing the streets and protecting the public from these people."

      The public as in the dozens of peaceful demonstrators that were arrested?

      I know they're trying to do their job, it's just a shame they are having difficulty in doing it well. Or maybe I'm just expecting too much?