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Monday, getting our city back

Spent an hour on the phone waiting for Roger’s Cable this morning, then spent 15 minutes running up and down between the modem and the router, unplugging this and that … but here I am. Too much excitement for one morning – my letter is in the “Star” this morning, and I’ve just called the CBC Vox Box. This is much more citizen involvement than I’m used to, especially before 8 a.m.!

Chief Blair was just on the CBC, saying about the vandalism on Saturday that the police had an impossible job because there were “several hundred” violent protesters “co-mingled” with the others. Without question, the police had a difficult job. But what he said is not true, at least about the anarchists during the march. On the march were maybe eighty people in two big bands, absolutely visible, marching together, dressed entirely in black with bandanas or balaclavas covering their faces – openly Black Bloc thugs, hardly “co-mingled” – they could not have been easier to see. They so frightened me, it was so clear what was going to happen, that I left the march.
Yet they were free to wreak havoc and destroy the city and create horrifying photo ops for almost two hours.
Later, after the damage had been done, they did strip off their black clothing and mix with the crowds. Which led to what happened on Sunday – an innocent if midguided protest provoking indiscriminate arrests and detaining, on the impression the Black Bloc were there hiding among the others. The wrong bunch arrested at completely the wrong time.
On Saturday, either the police deliberately let the chaos run rampant to justify the bloated security expense, which is my theory because I am paranoid and see Stephen Harper lurking behind every tree – or else they are incompetent. I know nothing about policing, but I can tell you that, knowing that violent hoodlums were there specifically to make trouble, I would have had scores of undercover cops dressed as Raging Grannies and in headbands holding Greenpeace flyers, marching as close as possible to the gang in black. And the instant they started to run toward Yonge Street, the undercovers should have been on their tails. Instead, the police were nowhere to be seen.
The whole event should never have happened in the heart of a giant city, in any case. It was Harper’s decision to use the Convention Centre instead of a more isolated and easy to contain site.
Not to mention whether the G20 is valid at all.
And please, I wish the media would stop calling the Black Bloc – no, the black bloc, I will not distinguish them with capitals – “protesters.” They are wretched violent people who want to smash and destroy without reason. They have nothing to do with the thousands of others who care deeply about the planet. The CBC keeps talking about the police sealing off hundreds of “protesters” yesterday. Anyone watching Channel 24 last night knows that the crowd held for nearly 5 hours was mostly bystanders and passers-by.
My son was stopped twice on his way home yesterday and searched by police, because he’s young, he’s very tall, he has tattoos and a backpack. Good thing he also has a sense of humour and is completely apolitical. One of the cops said to him, “You’re a brave guy.” “Why?” said Sam. “Because,” replied the cop, “you have FAGS tattooed on your foot.” Sam laughed. “It says JABS,” he said. “Those are the initials of my best friends. We’ve been friends since high school.” And the cops laughed too. They let him go.
One of the good things about all this was the immediacy – the cell phone videos and calls from the centre of it all. There are no secrets any more.
I must stop. The sun is hesitantly coming out and we’re going to get our city back. It was a terrible weekend.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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