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The Real Protestors of Toronto G20

So Tommy Taylor, who wrote the harrowing account of his detention, posted a video on his facebook of the cop cars getting torched at Queen and Spadina. It is really interesting to watch as the so-called anarchists, who torched the cop car, are dressed like American tourists. The group at the end sure looks like cops, but hey, they could also be disgruntled Republicans.

What caught my attention in this video was not the supposed undercover cops, but the appearance of “The Dude” otherwise known as “Crazy Yoga Guy”. This guy is one of various characters that will be engrained in internet culture due to memes, which will undoubtedly continue long after people forget about the injustices that occurred this weekend.

The two characters that I believe will go down in internet history are “The Dude” and “Zombie Police Lady” (AKA Scary Cop Lady).

“The Dude” was obviously looking for attention as he started his day perched on a statue.
"The Dude" looking for an audience

He then got into the unlocked cop car on Queen and Spadina.
Officer Dude

The Dude was then rescued from near destruction by a good samaritan.

Poor Dude!

The Dude was not very popular and my friends cheered when he was arrested, but I still love you Dude!

The other real star of the G2 was “Zombie Police Lady”, who was a plain clothes police officer wielding a baton at the crowed at Queens Park.

She is actually far more popular than Dude and already has numerous memes dedicated to her.

Here she is superimposed on a bottle of vodka.

One of the best meme's of Zombie Police Lady

Here she is next to Chuck Norris

Texas Ranger Zombie Lady

My personal favourite is this passionate one from the facebook group dedicated to her

Even zombies can make love

I am just waiting for Bravo to create a show with these two, hey I would watch!

More Things to Think About

June 30, 2010 1 comment

A few days ago I questioned why the police stood by while the black bloc commited acts of vandalism. I have now seen a video that conclusivly shows that, in at least one incident, there is an undercover cop dressed as a black bloc member. Does this mean I think it was the police who commited acts of violence? No, but this video raises many questions.

One is if the police were undercover in the organization, then why could they have not done more to stop the violence?

If we are to believe the pictures shown in this video, it seems there may have been some undercover cops commiting acts of vandalism. Could this be true? And why would the police utilize such tactics?

Categories: Musings, Politics

Toronto G20: Kafka Style

June 30, 2010 2 comments

I am still in shell shock regarding the events of the weekend. I realize that in many parts of the world, widespread state violence is the norm, but I am of the privileged class and have never been subject to it before. Yes, when I was younger I was in some protests opposing the Iraq war, where things got pretty heated with the cops. I also accidentally got stuck in an anti-Bush protest in Rome where the crowd was tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, but this pales in comparison to what Toronto turned into this weekend. I saw people indiscriminately arrested and beaten by the police, 500 (the detention at Queen and Spadina has now been estimated at 500 people) of my fellow citizens detained for three hours, citizens illegally searched and over 900 people arrested and put in cages.

Some of you may know that Canada was once subject to terrorist groups. One of the worst of these terrorist groups was the FLQ, which was a group consisting of French separatists. In the 70s the FLQ detonated 95 bombs in Quebec and even kidnapped and killed the Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. The War Measures Act was enacted and 497 individuals were arrested, about half of the amount arrested in Toronto over the weekend. I don’t know about you, but I think the FLQ was a little worse than the 50 or so 16-year old vandals. It is crazy that police arrested more people during the G20 protests than the October Crisis. Also, the leaders of the FLQ ended up getting sent to Cuba to chill on the beach, and were never subject to the conditions of the Toronto detention centre.

More reports are coming out every hour regarding police abuses and how those arrested were treated. One of the most disturbing is Amy Miller, a journalist, who accuses police of threatening to rape her.

One of the most compelling accounts, I read, was a note on facebook by Tommy Taylor who got arrested. Like many Torontonians, Tommy wandered around the city during the G20 (our mayor, in fact, told people to go out). He happened upon the peaceful protest at the Novotel, where Steve Paiken valiantly tweeted from, on Saturday night. Tommy and his friends stayed to sing John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance when the riot police boxed the crowed in. Tommy stated that numerous people, who were not part of the protest, were boxed in, including a couple leaving dinner at the keg and people walking home from work. Tommy was subject to dehydration, starvation and abuse at the detention centre. He gives a very even handed account, and even states that many police officers were upset with their orders (though “I was just following orders” is not an excuse in my book)

Tommy and his girlfriend Kate about to be arrested

Please read his account here

I was crying when I read this and I do not know how anyone could support the measures taken by the police after reading Tommy’s account.

Many people have a hard time questioning the police because they are supposed to be there to protect us. Before the G20 debacle, I had great respect for the police (I even very briefly dated a cop).

I have now lost a lot of confidence in the police force, and as Naomi Kline said “Don’t play public relations, do your goddamned job!” There was no reason the police could not have stopped the black bloc (they were getting paid 1.2 billion dollars). It disturbs me that, according to Kline, they were sending out press releases while the black bloc was destroyed Toronto, stating that the violence demonstrated why the 1.2 billion dollars was necessary.

I don’t doubt that most cops are good people, but I have a big problem with spending so many of my tax dollars (1.2 billion) on overtime and weapons of destruction, only to have my city turned into a war zone.

I urge everyone to contact the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller (mayor_miller@toronto.ca), Your MP
and MPP
and insist there be an independent inquiry.

I would also urge people email Bill Blair a message calling for his resignation, as it has now come to light that the police lied to the population and did not have the right to search people without a warrant outside of the security fence. Here is his email (officeofthechief@torontopolice.on.ca)

Police State

June 28, 2010 6 comments

I used to be fairly involved in political issues, but decided against doing much for the recent G20 in Toronto. I had some bad experiences this past year at school, and now would rather communicate with people rather than take part in divisive events. For the G20, I actually wanted to hear what the leaders had to say. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset about the 1.2 billion dollars it cost to hold the G20, and I was concerned about holding it in downtown Toronto, but I had a “wait and see” attitude going into the event.

On Saturday I decided to go shoe shopping instead of risking the rain at Queens Park (yes I realize I am a very frivolous person), but I had numerous friends at different points in the downtown core, either taking part or watching the mayhem.

My family was actually at Queen and Peter eating lunch at where the so-called “black bloc” ran amuck. Apparently there really wasn’t very many of them, and they were mostly kids. The most disturbing aspect of the mayhem was the police stood by and watched it happen.

My beautiful sister eating lunch while riot police watch mayhem on Queen St.

This occurred at almost every point the destruction occurred:

James Ruehle, a 49-year-old contractor from Pickering, a half hour’s drive from Toronto, saw the burning of the three police cruisers.
Ruehle was stopped in his truck at the lights at the corner of King and Bay streets in the city’s financial district as the protesters approached.
Three police vehicles zipped past the line of traffic into the intersection, where they stopped with lights flashing. A group of about 20 to 30 police then began to congregate but an officer Ruehle thought was a police captain ordered them back.
“The cop was yelling at them ‘Back up!’ ‘Put your batons down!'” said Ruehle.
The police in the cars, he said, then amazed him by backing off, leaving the cruisers running in the middle of the intersection with their lights flashing and doors open.
“It was like an invitation G (to the protesters),” said Ruehle.

I have no proof that anything nefarious occurred, but as I tax payer I want an explanation as to why these cars were left unattended.

I was reminded how Quebec police were caught being agents provocateurs at the North American Leaders summit in Montebello, and I also want assurances that did not happen here:

While some police officers abandoned police vehicles to the “black bloc”, other began to violently suppress a rally in the so-called “free speech zone”.

At Queens Park they also indiscriminately arrested a CTV News producer Farzad Fatholahzadeh who was visibly wearing media credentials.

Farzad was held in abhorrent conditions (he stated he was not given water for hours), where he witnessed injured people not receive medical attention.

Farzad was not the only journalist targeted by police, Steve Paikin from TVO, witnessed fellow journalist Jesse Rosenfeld get punched and arrested by police.

There is also this video of another journalist Jesse Freeston punched by police.

The last straw, for me, was watching what occurred Sunday night at Queen and Spandina. Police corralled 250 people (some who were just waiting for the streetcar) and detained everyone for 3 hours in the rain without cause or explanation. This was a travesty and made me disgraced to be Canadian.

The Police have a lot of explaining to do!

Categories: Politics, Rants Tags: , ,

Surprise!

Guess what is on the first page of the BBC website this morning?

Bff's

Clegg and Cameron have reached a deal!

According to the BBC website the Liberal Democrats have agreed to 6 billion pounds of public spending cuts, scraping the “mansion tax” on properties over 2 million pounds, a cap on non-EU immigration, and renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. In return, they will have 5 spots in the cabinet (including Deputy Prime Minister for Clegg) and there will be a referendum on the voting system. I guess Clegg really is the UK Obama!

Musings on the UK election

A story that has intrigued me over the past week has been the outcome of the British election. It is striking the similar electoral situation in both Canada and Britain. The British election in many ways has mirrored Canada’s most recent election.

Both the Labour and the Liberal parties were mired in scandal and both electorates decided to split the vote leaving the conservative parties with the ability to form minority governments (the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are currently working on a deal in the UK). It also appears that like the Liberal Party, the Labour Party will be catapulted into a leadership crisis, as it was announced today that Gordon Brown will be stepping down.

In my opinion, the major issue in both the UK and Canada is the lack of a viable left (not dissimilar to the situation in the United States). The Labour party is technically the most left wing of the three major parties, but New Labour has largely aligned itself with the ruling class, not just with its foreign policy (supporting the invasion of Iraq) but also with its domestic policy. The Labour government supported has largely supported “big business” and cut social programs. The Labour tenure has overseen an increase in the divide between the rich and the poor in Britain as according to Sunday Times the 1,000 richest have increased their fortunes by 30 per cent under Labour, the largest surge on record.

While both the Conservative’s and Liberal Democrats have criticized Labour’s stance on Iraq neither have made the war a major issue in their campaigns. The so-called alternative, the Liberal Democrats have a fairly moderate platform (more can be found about their platform here http://network.libdems.org.uk/manifesto2010/libdem_manifesto_2010.pdf) and the platforms of all three parties are not very different.

The current debate seems to be surrounding electoral reform, and this is the major issue the Liberal Democrats are pursuing in their role as “king maker”. I am all for proportional representation instead of the antiquated past-the-post system, but find it somewhat troubling that this is the only platform initiative that the Liberal Democrats are pushing the Tories on. The Tories have offered to support a referendum on the matter in exchange for Liberal Democratic support in forming a government. I predict there will be a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition formed in the next few days, and we will see few policy changes by this government.

I think the only solution to this problem is to vote for pop sensation Craig David as new Prime Minister as his solution is to freestyle political policies while cruising in his whip.