By Matthew Casey
One thing that is really burning me is that the G20 summit is long over and there are still protests taking place that are demanding an inquest into police actions during the event. In my opinion the police acted appropriately, in fact I thought they showed too much restraint during the riots that took place on Saturday June 26. I watched several videos of G20 protests that took place in Pittsburgh and noticed that police took swift action on the crowds when objects were hurled at the officers or at the slightest hint that violence was about to erupt. This was definitely not what happened in Toronto when the city witnessed some of the worst violence in its history.
On June 26 the police were nowhere to be seen when a number of police cruisers were set ablaze. The police were also very hard to find while members of the “Black Bloc” ran rampant through the streets smashing the windows of poor helpless shop owners stores on Yonge Street and Queen Street. The next day police seemed to be a little more aggressive and I might say with good reason. Yes we may have a right to protest in Canada but the carnage from the day before basically ruined that right for everyone. It was evident that these anarchists (a.k.a. criminals) were embedding themselves within these “peaceful” protests and could cause anarchy again on the Sunday. So I am glad that police took action and nipped all of these protests in the bud. After all, what does destroying a mom and pop shop prove? Nothing except for the fact that you are a criminal and deserve to be arrested.
As for all of the people that were held for just “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”, I have no sympathy for them. They knew that police presence was going to be heavy in the downtown core and that after the riots on Saturday that police were not going to take any chances with anyone. If these people did not want to get involved in the unpleasant situation of being held for hours in the rain then they should have heeded the warnings to STAY OUT OF THE DOWNTOWN if you didn’t have to be there! They should have done what I and many other people with common sense did–watch the action from a news network. Most of the people who were innocently being held were indeed probably not protesters, but they were curious on lookers who just wanted to take pictures of what was going on. I say to them that if members of accredited media organizations like CTV were being arrested and held what made them think that being a “Joe Smoe” would mean that the police wouldn’t approach them? If police were taking in recognizable public figures like Lisa Laflamme then I would have thought that they wouldn’t hesitate to take me in as well.
I’m not saying that the police did everything perfectly as I am no legal expert. But I feel that given the circumstances that surrounded the events I think they did very well and should have definitely done more during the riots to stem the damage that was done to people’s livelihoods. However all of this is now in the history books and hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Maybe we can all learn from these events and be a little wiser if the G20 should ever come this way again–I sincerely hope it never does again!