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Medics speak out against systemic roots of Police violence during G20

he'll beat you with his magic wellness stick
he'll beat you with his magic wellness stick

The Toronto Street Medics, a grassroots organization that came together to support G20 dissenters with first aid and preventative health care, have published an in-depth response to their experiences on the streets during the G20 convergence. You can read the full article over at rabble


The mainstream media has convinced many to focus on burning police cruisers and shattered shop windows as the key images of the Toronto G20 Summit. What have largely been ignored are the chilling details of police violence on protesters and bystanders: both in terms of direct injuries on the streets and violence in detainment, the effects of which will be long-lasting.

What has also been neglected is the structural violence [1] that will result from the decisions made by the leaders who attended the G20 Summit; decisions that thousands came out to protest.

The Toronto Street Medics is an independent organization of volunteers with various levels of health training. We provided preventative health services and first aid to protesters and bystanders. Such support is not an apolitical act. We saw our actions as enabling others to exercise their right to dissent and we freely provided care to all. For many, this is linked to the principle that health is a human right. For others, this is tied to a commitment to social justice, seeing health as essential for political engagement.

We gave out water and sunscreen, but we also dealt with severe injuries. All of the serious injuries we treated were inflicted by the police. While violence against property received a great deal of coverage, violence against people -- broken bones, cracked heads and eyes filled with pepper spray - has yet to feature prominently in any mainstream media. Our teams of medics witnessed and treated people who had been struck in the head by police batons, had lacerations from police shields and had been trampled by police horses (See examples here, here, here and here).

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