So my security related opposition to the G20 was proved very valid. Things got much worse down here in the financial and shopping districts of Toronto that I even imagined though…
Early in the afternoon on Saturday June 26th, all of the peaceful protests were in full swing in downtown Toronto. Despite having what I was told as 10,000+ police officers in the downtown core, a small group of several hundred protesters managed to break away from the marches and began rioting on Yonge St. They destroyed businesses in the name of hurting multi-nationals, Starbucks were a preferred target. Never the less they destroyed and looted many locally-owned stores like the iconic Zanzibar strip club an independent jewler on Yonge. Destruction was wreaked up Yonge from King to College for over an hour before police showed up. Where were the police? The only police I saw were cop cars on fire… Store after store was vandalized, peoples livelihoods destroyed, all afternoon and into the evening.
To put things in perspective for people: they literally hit every store I frequent on a daily / weekly basis (aside from our grocery store which is a bit east of the riots), and I’d been to every Starbucks destroyed, and there were many… Thankfully the Eaton Center was quickly put on lock down to prevent rioting, and for that I am grateful. Apparently anarchists are opposed to people like themselves being employed in the retail and hospitalities industries, because they surely will cause a lot of closures while places pick up the pieces this week… (Yea, guess what, destroying a Starbucks hurts more than just Starbucks Inc. in Seattle)
It hurts me that people would be chanting ‘Our Streets!’ while trashing my city. That riot was a few blocks from my home, on my street, and along my walk to work. There is absolutely no chance these people are downtown Toronto residents, financial district, south of Lakeshore or otherwise. These are not their streets, they have destroyed my neighbourhood. Many people suggests they were bussed in from long distances, specifically Montreal. (Google and Twitter searches on pro-anarchist hash tags have lead me to believe a lot of this anti-G20/anti-capitalism support comes from there as well, not to single them out though…)
There were more such incidents, specifically one on Queen near Spadina in the evening that involving more torched police cars going unchecked for large periods of time from law enforcement. The area near the fence was completely secure, even over night, but rioting went near unchecked across our downtown core. I am very disappointed in our poor security effort, though it was a near unfathomable task by hosting it in Toronto. See my other article on this subject…
The protesters look mostly like white trash. Lots of these so-called “anarchists” look predictably like angry older teens and 20-somethings. If they have an agenda to push, they are stupid beyond words; but I strongly believe they are just angry kids wreaking havoc by trashing property. What it says about our society I don’t know, but it sure is sad. Thankfully many of these protesters and even the so called Black Bloc protesters were photoed, often changing out of their black masks, thanks to journalists doing their part. Publish all the photos, black list these sociopaths.
Aside from the actual protesters, there were huge amounts of onlookers, who I am also disgusted with. Crowds of people supporting the rioters but not causing damage themselves, crowds of people with cameras (the small DRebel-esque SLRs seemed very popular) and cell phone cameras standing around photoing destruction in the city disgust me. Nobody aside from an elderly security guard seemed to try and stop the rioting. Are we that apathetic as a society? I even saw a lot of people smiling at the chaos, even if they were only there taking photos. That too is sociopathic behaviour, and is disgusting. These people should be prosecuted as well.
Violence went on over night, though nothing as organized. Trains, subways and even most surface transit is closed still. Hopefully today will be better than yesterday, but I’m not that hopeful. I am saddened by the state of society that caused this havoc, and the people too apathetic to do anything but snap photos for Twitter. Now we have massive damage from King to Bloor, pretty much everywhere between Spadina and Jarvis.
Harper government who put the G20 in *downtown Toronto*: Terrible. Toronto police who focused too much on protecting the fence and not the rioting: Unacceptable. The human beings who would destroy other peoples property in the name of a political agenda? The worst of all. You people do not deserve the civil and human rights you obviously take for granted in this country.