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'I can't even describe it in words'

Toronto G20 Protests: By the Minute

by Gwalgen Geordie Dent

Illegal Search and Arrest PHOTO Nadim
Illegal Search and Arrest PHOTO Nadim

Queen's Park

I'm late.  Throngs of protesters moving South on Queen.  There's thousands of people here.  Unconfirmed reports that people have been detained from Queen's Park before the march even began. 

A damn fool is risking 'death by yoga' at University and Queen.  We just passed by the heavily fortified US consulate at University and Armoury.  There are hundreds of groups here including many of the big names: Canadian Labour Congress, Amnesty, a couple COmmunist Parties, the UFCW, Greenpeace, CUPE and a host of other smaller groups.  It's amazing: there's well above 10,000 people here.  The largest previous G8 protest in North America was 3,000 people.

Me and a couple of Alternative Media Centre folks run up ahead to try to get to the front of the march.  This involves running full tilt from University Av. to Spadina Av. through the huge swaths of people.  We don't even come close the the front of the march.  We pass the a group of protesters employing the Black Bloc tactic.  They are protesting peacefully.  The police are halting any movement to the South of Queen St. by long lines of cops blocking each street with huge presence of police in the background.

Protesters are breaking off towards the fence at Spadina and Queen. CUPE 1005 Steelworkers are one of the first groups to approach the riot line and confront police.  Thousands of others turn toward the police lines and an immediate stalemate.  Marimba bands and various groups show up. 

Montreal riot police show up.  Protesters are throwing flowers at police while the Black Bloc'ers have come and gone without a fuss.  Someone lights a flare creating a lot of smoke and confusing atmosphere.  The police just used tear gas.

People are reporting clashes with police back towards University.  A protester is sporting an arm brace from getting batoned by a cop. Other protesters are reporting beatings from police.  One man had a serious head injury and a lot of blood loss from police beating him over the head.

I start walking back towards Universtiy on Queen but am stopped by a riot line of police protecting a smashed in cop car about 50 meters from Spadina.  Seems like someone has run amok.  There's every kind of police here today.  RCMP, Toronto Police, York Police, Peel Police, and a couple of other cop patches including one that says "POU". The police are holding tasers and have pepper sprayed people.  Someone teels me there is a fire downtown and I steathly make my way through the line.

I'm a little taken aback.  Targetted vandalism is visable all along Queen and Toronto has erupted into chaos. Starbucks, Nike, Scotiabank, TD, BMO, CIBC, Royal Bank all got the brunt of some window smashing and spray-paint.  Not sure if the Canadian banks $125 Billion bailout will cover it.  I'm also hearing reports that the fire was actually a torched police cruiser .  Reports later claim that a number of business have been hit including an American Apparel, a Pizza-Pizza, a Tim Hortons and some small businesses.  There are small bands of protesters EVERYWHERE and handfuls of 100-200 are challenging police at various spots.  No signs of any protester violence.

King and Bay.  The so-called 'burnt out cop car' is being shielded by cops so I choose another route to get a closer look.  I hit another police wall before the cops start moving in on protesters and pushing them back. So I go through a shortcut!  I make sure to thank the police several times for assaulting several people, 100's of illegal detentions and searches and for punching one of my colleges in the face yesterday.  Twice.  As a single guy with a press pass, I move through some nooks and crannies easily.  I somehow end up on the other side of both riot lines.

Well it turns out the report of a burnt and destroyed car was not exactly true.  There were 2 cars burnt and 4 were destroyed.  The cars are totalled and the BMO, Scotiabank and CIBC nearby have been vandalized. 

It's like night and day down here.  I'm on the other side of the police lines and can see bedlam and clashing between bands of police and protesters on many streets North of here.  South is quiet and relaxed.  Many delegate drivers are milling about.  The G20 leaders are living in peace behind their castle walls.  The centre of the financial district is eeringly ominous and still after what I've already seen.

I'm heading North on University with a newly found media partner.  A man is walking South.  He has a small stick (the size of a drumstick), a bell that he's hitting and a bag.  A police officer confronts him but he keeps walking.  The police officer (TPS Constable #2256) starts demanding things and pushing him around saying that he's going to lose his bag.  The man doesn't say a word to him and tries to ignore him and keeps picking up his things which the cop keeps throwing on the ground.  The officer has not charged him with anything or recieved his consent to search his bag (this is commonly known as 'police breaking the law'). As the man continues to be uncooperative, the cop throws him to the ground, sits on his back and arrests him.  I ask repeated times what he is charged with and the police officer tells me "this doesn't concern you." 

Trying to get back to my bike and instead run into 100's of riot police marching and several other Alternative Media Centre journalists.  Another standoff with police.  The Downtown core resembles a decentralized and unfocused riot.  We again thank the police numerous times for for assaulting several people, 100's of illegal detentions and searches and for punching one of my colleges in the face yesterday.  Twice.

We head up to Queens park seeing spoadic vandalism along the way.  Lots of vandalism but no protester violence to speak of.  Protesters are not attacking or using force with police in any way. 

Queen's Park, the 'designated' protest zone has turned into a war zone.  I'm there about 10 minutes; enough to see police viciously grabbing peaceful protesters, most of them sitting on the pavement and arrsting them.  A staunch standoff occurs with police running out to grab heckling protesters every 30 seconds, advancing to push protesters back and shooting them with hundreds of gaseous tear gas pellets and rubber bullets. A number of these protesters have not confronted police at all today and many of them were not protesting.  Hundreds of protesters are being pushed back. 

I snake through the University of Toronto to find my bike.

Back at the Alternative Media Centre.  We're hearing reports of chaos all over the City.  Queen's park protesters are apparently being pushed back and arrested on mass.  More reports of rubber bullets and violence against protesters.  Updated reports coming in that many organizers have been arrested, searched and detained illegally.  Two Alternative Media Centre journalists have been arrested.  Chicago Indymedia Centre has been denied entry at the border.  Events being planned to help those in jail. Ongoing confontations between police and peaceful protesters. 

Got this message from someone who went to Queens Park:

"My mom, me and my brother we were all at Queen's Park and we just got there 30 seconds before they said move.  They pushed back all of us with their bikes and pepper sprayed us.  They were pushing my mom and me and throwing punches at my brother and they just kept pushing forward and saying "move move move" and not really caring who was there.  I have cancer and I kept saying "I have cancer, I have cancer," but they didn't care, they just kept pushing forward. 

They just said "move! move!"  I didn't provoke anything or say anything.  I wasn't protesting, my brother was before, but I was just curious to see what was going on.  We didn't have time [to move], we did not have any time to react.

We have to be seen by paramedics and stuff.  We're going home soon but we're with paramedics right now.  No one from the police talked to us."

Alternative Media Centre story meeting.  We've got coverage of everything that happened today.  We're hearing rolling updates of a major protest near the security fence with protesters demanding to speak with a leader of the G20.  There's also a massive protest at the Novatel hotel.  Queen's Park protesters have been crushed with mass arrests.  We miss friends and our co-workers who are in jail right now.

Mass arrests of people peacefully protesting at the Novatel hotel.  We're hearing 150 people and 70 people still there. More raids, police violence and arrests of Alternative Media Centre people.  We send them our love.

Still random pockets of people trying to confront the G20. I head to all night reporting at CKLN, with great interviews, music and analysis. 

We're hearing 100's of people rallying on Eastern Av. for jail solidarity are being surrounded by Police.

30 people arrested by police for unlawful assembly.  They were told if they left they would not be arrested, but the police lied.  Thanks.  Police followed and have now arrested a large portion of the rally.  A number of them have been processed already.  Patrick, one of the protesters, is live on air at CKLN and watching his friends get arrested.  Sorry Patrick.

Still reporting...

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Gwalgen Dent (Gwalgen Geordie Dent)
Member since August 2008


1556 words


Thank you Geordie

for reminding us to THANK the security apparatus!

Today I also thanked my parents for their diligent tax contributions toward the security of their children and their children's efforts to make the world a better place.

wow...nice to see your not

wow...nice to see your not biased. I didn't realize alternative media meant you take sides. By yelling at the police, you have obviously shown that you are only using your media credentials to facilitate your one sided reporting.


for doing this

Brilliant Coverage

You make marvelous use of that little notebook, Geordie.





How does destroying business properties contribute to the cause?  Some of these small business owners will not be getting any money for repairs from the G20 summit.  This is why the police have been given 'special' privileges.  To protect property, the G20 summit, and even you ungrateful people. 

I don't disagree with the concept of protest but you people (some of you, not all of you) have given protest a bad name.  You've given Toronto a bad name and I'd bet that some of the damage was done by people that don't live here. 

I agree with protesting something that you feel strongly about but most of the people downtown didn't even know what they were protesting about.  I feel ashamed for Toronto today.



Thank You

Your coverage is very much appreciated. Great job.

I was at the Novatel and slipped out through a back alley with some friends when the riot guards opened fire on us with tear gas pellets. We managed to help two 15-year-old kids who were skateboarding home after watching Toy Story 3 escape. A friend of mine was arrested. The whole scene was a nightmare.  

Completely biased reporting!

Completely biased reporting! As a so called journalist you are supposed to remain neutral and report both sides of the story. You are no longer a journalist but someone spreading propaganda! You are the reason for the big security budget, proving that it was necessary!

Grow some balls and stop being biased!

@Sun, 06/27/2010 - 08:14

@Sun, 06/27/2010 - 08:14 — Vancouver Anonymous (not verified)


It's kind of hard to stay unbiased when police are illegally assaulting and detaining your colleagues and peaceful protesters.

Regarding bias

Those who accuse the reporter of bias are blind to their own bias and the enormous assumptions of 'objectivity'. All media is biased - expecially the corporate media that spins the kinds of bland, one-dimensional stuff that parades as news. There is no escaping biases when you see people being hurt on your streets - anyone with a heart feels for them and will report accordingly. Corporate media brainwashed fools will bark indignantly because you have no idea about the issues at hand, too complacent and intellectually lazy to bother.

It seems that you are missing

It seems that you are missing some details. Police were allowed to do searches and detain folks who refused to answer certain questions. Those were the LAWS for the 3 days of the G-8/G-2. It was all over the news!!! So surely, YOU must have know that.
A few bad apples, but there were some. Store fronts were smashed - with people inside! fire lit, homes and businesses vandalized. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who saw their property damaged, or in the shoes of the police.
Just pointing out somethings that may have been omitted.

The law only applies if

The law only applies if someone is within 5 metres (I believe it is 5 metres) of a "Public Work". The security fence was deemed a public work for the duration of the summit. The city streets, and parks, and other places are NOT by definition a public work. The law that was enacted to protect public works, was enacted years ago. Its extension to protect the security fence was enacted very recently, for a period of 10 days.

If you are going to quote the law you should know what it says. I saw the news broadcasts about the law. That's how I know the extent - and the limitation - of the law.

Unjust laws deserve contempt and defiance

Even if the fence limitations are in law this does not make them right and obeyable.

In Germany in the 1930s it was legal to attack people of the jewish faith, with impunity. Does that make it ok to do so?

An unjust laws necessitates defiance and resistance.

The fence law was passed a month ago, in secret, without Parliamentry debate, no one was told of it until one guy got arrested about 4 or 5 days ago and it won't be officially Gazetted until one week, after the G20.

This is a fascist law. It should be defied and condemned.


Answer to those who accuse...

It is easy for you in Vancouver to be critical about what happened in the streets of Toronto this week-end, forgetting all ready how it was in your own streets just a few months back... 

It is also easy to accuse of being biased not being directly involved in the situation.  This coverage is one story of what happened those nights in Toronto, I was not there.  I shall therefore not judge but I think it is great to hear from the insidee and away from the meanstream, brained-washed/washing, media.  To tell a good lie you have to believe it first.


Gangsterism 2.0: Global Government Gone Wild At G20 in Toronto

A part from the article:

"The federal government is spending close to $1-billion on summit security, much of it going to protect delegates and
maintain order in Toronto’s densely populated downtown core.

The price tag for the much hyped-event isn’t the only disconcerting aspect of the government’s protection policy. Gwalgen
Geordie Dent of the news organization Toronto Media Co-op reported last Sunday May 23 that government forces will not be
restrained by the law. If they see fit, they will use agent provocateurs to engage protesters in a violent manner. Toronto
Media Co-op:

The RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit (ISU) of the G20 is refusing to rule out the use of Agent Provocateurs to get
protesters to commit illegal acts, the Toronto Media Co-op has learned. During a G20 forum on April 30th held by Toronto
City Councilors, Constable George Tucker, a member of the G20 planning team responsible for Public Affairs, Communications
& Corporate Relations, was asked if Agent Provocateurs would be used.

He responded: “”I’m not at liberty to discuss security issues in an open format”."

The Toronto G20 Riot Fraud: Undercover Police engaged in Purposeful Provocation At Tax Payers' Expense

Cointelpro, Provacateurs,Disinfo Agents.

Agent Provocateurs Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20 Pittsburgh 2009

Police provocateurs at Montebello Summit?

quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

you claim it is easy for me

you claim it is easy for me in Vancouver to be critical? I have been on both sides.. I have protested peacefully and have also been involved in law enforcement. If you're downtown protesting peacefully and shit breaks out... I would go home and wait for another time to protest. I'm not going to jail because some jackass feels he has to damage other's property and incite riot especially when he can't even give a good response to what he's protesting.

I do not agree with all of the actions taken by police during the G20 but I do not simpathize with people that continued to provoke police, or travel in large groups that could be mistaken as protesters. The police had a tough job to do and with all the confusion I believe they did pretty good. I do not envy what they had to do.

As for "forgetting" what the streets of Vancouver were like a few months ago.. I was downtown vancouver when Canada scored the goal to win the Gold medal in men's hockey. And I stayed there until about 2am before heading home. At no time was there any violence that I witnessed. I remember high fiving cops in the streets! Why would you bring that up?

I have issues with corporate media as well but atleast they try to not appear biased when they report. It's called being professional.

Also I've read all the

Also I've read all the "independant" Internet articles listed above and half of them seem like propoganda put out by people that just want to make the police look bad. For example the article about provocatuers wearing the same boots? They say the photos posted "clearly" prove that they were wearing the same boots as the police. To whoever wrote that article... Go see a doctor and get your eyes checked. The photos post are so dam fuzzy that you can't prove anything! Plus you CAN see that the so-called provocatuers are wearing low cut shoes and the police are wearing high cut boots.

And just FYI... If I wanted to, or any one of you, I could go buy the exact pair of boot the police wear at any decent store. There are store that are open to the general public that supply military and police surplus such as fatigues and foot wear.

There is just as much brain-washing going on from those that support the rioters/protesters as there is coming from the government!

The site for the Toronto local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.