On Saturday the Police in Toronto would not defend the property of store owners and others along Younge Street in Toronto.
Two Toronto veterinarians say they were woken up at gunpoint on Saturday morning by police officers who thought they were the anti-G20 protesters who live in the apartment downstairs.
Dr. John Booth said the officers forced their way into their High Park-area home at 4 a.m., turning their home into chaos for about 45 minutes, but were unwilling to show their warrant.
From the publisher of the Toronto Star — some of this is “off” (the downtown core can’t be a “ghost town” nevertheless peopled by “merchants and their staff,” and a sudden concern for property rights is amusing coming from a locus of Canadian urban liberalism/socialism) but even a stopped clock:
Canadian authorities knew that this overweening show of paramilitary hubris would draw the violent dregs of nihilism from around the world. Previous summits offered stark and certain warnings. Given that, the attempt to provide security for the city and its inhabitants has been a sad and disturbing failure.
What is the critical lesson?
Don’t even try to hold international political conferences with this kind of explosive ideological charge in the heart of a major urban centre. You sacrifice either the safety of the politicians or the safety of the city.
The idea that this was an effective way to show off Toronto to foreign guests is bewilderingly stupid.
Canadian authorities created a city no citizen could recognize and no visitor could admire. Then, they allowed a pack of brutes to trash it.
On day one, no one could get arrested. On day two, anyone could get arrested. The crowd was collectively innocent or collectively guilty; individual wrongdoing was virtually irrelevant. This is the logic of a police state.
The cops had a difficult job. Perhaps each situation should be dealt with separately. In my opinion, the way some members of the media (including bloggers) were treated was unacceptable in a free and open democratic country. It’s been going on for a while now but it sounds like it got a lot worse this weekend. Does Canadian law not address freedom of the press?
(Notoriously non-insane but still a liberal) journalist Steve Paikin writes:
The Ontario government, almost by stealth of night, passed a new regulation authorizing the police to act in ways which are inconsistent with our democratic traditions. The government found that unprecedented action necessary to keep the peace, or so it said.
The police, who normally have excellent support among Toronto’s citizens, are facing some appropriately tough questions.
They seem to have overreacted numerous times in dealing with members of the public and journalists. They used too much force in detaining many members of the public, who either were protesting peacefully, or were just passing by at the wrong time.
And yet, they were caught, if you’ll forgive the pun, flat-footed and completely unprepared for the goons and thugs that destroyed so much property on Yonge Street on Saturday. Supposedly, that’s why we spent $1b on security — to prevent this from happening.