All of the articles surveyed on the day’s protest (of those written today) feature, upfront, the activities of a cadre of Black Bloc political vandals numbering somewhere from 50 to 100 people. Compare that to the rough estimate police on the scene made of the number of marchers, somewhere from 15,000 to 20,000, and you’ll have an idea how unbalanced the coverage of Saturday afternoon’s demonstrations have been. Run those numbers – the ratio of peaceful to non-peaceful marchers was somewhere around 150:1. Given the fact, StatismWatch is just going to run with the most sensational of the articles, that published by Sun Media. Why not? The writing is transparently inflammatory on a rebels-without-a-clue template, features some interesting details, and you’ve been given a drinking-straw sized view of the day’s events in any case. It simply throws the features of the day’s reporting by the mainstream media in its entirety into sharper relief. And the coverage of the mass march of peaceful demonstrators? That’s nowhere to be found. Several letters to the Star pointed this out, but after searching through four pages of Google News, the search was called off. Balanced journalism is missing and presumed dead.
The police brutality later on in Queen’s Park was absolutely astonishing as well, with passerby and peaceful protesters trampled under the steel-shod hooves of police destriers, justified apparently by the search for Bloc members that police say melted into the crowd.
Related: Naomi Klein and 500 marchers crash party at tent city | Protesters flood the streets on first day of Toronto G20 summit | Huntsville G8: Military, locked down security, few protesters | Canada flunks on indigenous rights: G20 native protesters | Marcus Gee: Why the G20 protesters won’t condemn violence | Peaceful protests continue in Toronto as G20 nears | Anti-poverty activists occupy ESSO station during Monday G20 protest — for ten minutes | Toronto activists launch G20 alternative media centre | Ban G20 summit agents provocateurs: activist groups to PM | Oxfam astroturf march leads early G20 protest for bank tax | Activists plan walkout and tent city to protest G8/G20 summits | G20 centre for protesters set to open | Rights group files for injunction against G20 ‘sound cannon’ | G20 activists accuse CSIS of intimidation | Anarchists plan ‘militant’ protests at Toronto G20 | Toronto labour, native protesters ready for G20 demonstrations | Toronto G20 protest area moved to Queens Park | All Toronto G20 protests will be directed to Trinity Bellwoods Park | Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit | Hundreds of Toronto G20 delegates granted diplomatic immunity | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature
The Toronto Sun
June 26, 2010
The streets of Toronto descended into anarchy Saturday as the city’s police chief warned of more mayhem on the last day of the G20 summit.
Hard-core, balaclava-wearing anarchists burned police cars, smashed and looted stores and threw bricks, bottles and bags filled with urine at police Saturday.
Two cruisers were set alight at King and Bay Sts. and another two cars went up in flames on Queen St. near Spadina Ave.
Violent protesters left a trail of shattered glass along Queen St. W. and then up Yonge St.
The stench of their vinegar-drenched clothes, soaked in a bid to ward off any teargas, followed the anarchy through the streets.
Police Chief Bill Blair said late Saturday as protesters continued to trash city streets that 130 people had been arrested and warned his officers would hunt down all the vandals.
He also confirmed that police used tear gas.
Mayor David Miller condemned the “criminals” who vandalized the city’s streets, expressing outrage at the way some protesters chose to make a political statement as world leaders met here for the G20 summit.
“We were concerned about people coming to Toronto to deliberately commit violent acts and I have no doubt whatsoever that this is what we are seeing. Torontonians should be angry about it,” Miller said.
“People who want to deliberately break windows and burn cars. This has nothing to do with protests.”
Torontonians watched with dismay as the kind of fiery violence that has plagued previous G8 summits played out on their own streets.
More than 30 people were arrested over the course of the day-long protest, which began peacefully at Queen’s Park.
But frustrated by an impenetrable line of security forces surrounding the downtown site where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was hosting the G20 summit, activists turned on the city.
Police let them get as far as Queen St. W. and then brought them to a halt.
Skirmishes broke out at several intersections as the officers were pelted with bottles of water, protest signs, urine and manure.
Protesters pulled rocks from gardens and bottles from recycling boxes to use as projectiles.
Some came armed for trouble with bats, hammers, and metal ball bearings.
The TTC shut down subway service on both the University and Yonge lines and told GO Transit to stop trains at the Danforth GO station.
Anarchists from the notorious Black Bloc left a trail of their trademark black clothing along Yonge St., shed to blend in with more peaceful protesters.
Starbucks, Swiss Chalet, American Apparel, Money Mart, all the major banks, TTC streetcars stalled by the protest, media vehicles, and the Zanzibar Tavern and its G-String Summit were all trashed.
Buildings and vehicles were tagged with graffiti ranging from anarchists’ symbols to slogans like, “F*** the rich” and “Kill cops.” Protester Lucy, 24, who wouldn’t give her last name said she was marching for no cause in particular.
“I’m glad Toronto had the balls to stand up and do something,” she said. “I haven’t seen Toronto like this before.” Her view wasn’t shared by many Torontonians.
Comedian Dave Regnier was walking up Yonge St. to eat dinner when people started running past to get away from protesters smashing glass.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said.
Toronto resident James, who wouldn’t give his last name, was riding his Vespa on Yonge St. when people fleeing the violence told him to get off the road. “This sickens me,” he said after surveying the damage up and down Toronto’s main street. “It’s crazy.”
The protests continued on throughout the afternoon, moving back to Queen’s Park Circle where pepper spray was used to subdue activists just a few hundred meters from the seat of Ontario government.
Later, a large crowd gathered outside the security fence at Bay and Front Sts. and the mayhem promised to go well into the night.
Hundreds of gawkers were drawn into the city by the demonstrations.
With camera phones in hand, they gathered behind police in riot gear and snapped pictures as the officers clashed with protesters at numerous intersections.
“I just came out to see what the fuss was all about and to see how crazy things would get,” said Matthew Marr, 19, a professional dancer who moved to Toronto six months ago from St. John, N.B.
The surreal scene included a moment when residents of an apartment above the standoff puts speakers out their window and blared Bob Marley’s One Love and other peace songs.
At the south end of the security fence, there was little sign of any discontent, aside from a patient Buddhist monk from Japan faithfully pounding a drum.
But about 100 Black Bloc anarchists in head-to-foot black, leading a core angry crowd of about 300 more protesters, failed to heed the messages of peace and soon were seen destroying store fronts and generally creating the kind of havoc they’re known for at G8 summits worldwide.
When the march bunched up at Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave., a call suddenly went out and the Black Bloc could be seen running north through the crowd until they found a police car which they promptly demolished.
Then they took off, breaking windows as they went, until they came across the two cruisers which they torched.
“They’re very organized – it’s almost like a cat-and-mouse game,” one observer said. “They are picking the few weakness they can find in the cops and targeting them and then quickly dispersing so they don’t get caught. They’re definitely the leaders.”
The number of protesters estimated at anywhere between 4,000 to 8,000 was down sharply from many previous summits.
In 2001, a G8 in Genoa, Italy, attracted an estimated 200,0000 protesters – one anti-globalization activist was shot dead by military police, more than 100 people were injured and the damage to the city was extensive.
The U of T’s Ella Kokotsis, director of external relations for the G8 and G20 Research Group, who has attended 15 summits, said this level of violence was not expected.
“I’m completely shocked to see what’s going on right now,” Kokotsis said. “I’m just surprised that it’s happening in Canada, to be quite frank with you, because it’s the kind of activity that we tend to see in Europe or we’re going to see in the United States but not necessarily here.
Kokotsis said 4,000 protesters is a much smaller number than have shown up at previous summits but “it doesn’t mean that they can’t wreak havoc.”
Legitimate protesters who work within the law, who attempt to get their voices heard through less controversial means, may feel that their concerns won’t be heard above the chaos.
“When this kind of thing happens, it just diverts the entire world’s attention to what’s going on in the streets, takes away from what G8 leaders have done … it’s going to hijack the discussions, the press conferences, by the prime minister,” she said.
“But this is their aim; this is what these types of people do. The eyes of the world are on them so they’re going to do what they can in front of the cameras. And they know that those images are going to resonate around the world. It’s a real opportunity for them to make a statement.”
In the days leading up to the summit, city Councillor Kyle Rae told The Sun Toronto is getting all the pain and chain-link fences of international summitry and none of the spinoff benefits.
“The federal government didn’t ask us if we wanted to host this thing,” Rae said.
“Part of it is them visiting as much disruption and dislocation as they felt they could do. They don’t care for Toronto, Torontonians don’t vote for them and they have just reinforced that for the next election.”
Meanwhile, the G8 meetings in Huntsville earlier in the week brought buckets of federal cash for civic improvements and new facilities throughout the region.
The few protesters who made it to the town offered free hugs.
“Tony Clement isn’t a Toronto MP,” Rae said of the Parry Sound-Muskoka cabinet minister.
“It’s called pork-barrelling, isn’t it?”
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