Thursday, July 01, 2010

What really happened.

Rachel S. returned to Montréal, her actions respected and supported by her network of family, friends and fellow students. She reported what she experienced and observed in Toronto during the g20 events.

But first, a video that faithfully depicts the actions of Rachel and her peers, peaceful activists, volunteers and committed citizens who took to the streets of Toronto, numbering 25,000 and more.

These are the images that the 'mainstream' media chose not to broadcast.

And now Rachel in all her eloquence, powerfully written and spoken.

On Wednesday, while on the way to an environmental justice protest in Toronto, in the lead-up to the G20, I had my first taste of the paranoia and the enormous police presence that has taken over the city. My friend Asha and I were walking with a sign condemning Canadian mining companies, and a light stick we were intending to tape to the sign to hold it up.

We were a few blocks away from the bus station at Bay and Dundas, and still a ways from the beginning of the protest we were moving towards, when two police officers stepped out of an alley and approached us. I transcribed our conversation immediately after it took place; it is as close as possible to verbatim:
Female Officer: Can I talk to you?
Myself: I don’t think I want to talk. Attempts to keep walking.
Female Officer: We’re concerned about your stick.
Asha: It’s for the sign.
Female Officer: I’m not concerned with you, with peaceful protesters. We’re removing it for your safety and ours from other protesters. (Both the officer and Asha are holding the stick at this point, though neither are pulling at it.) We’re not concerned about your sign, you can use something else that can’t be construed as a weapon.
Asha: It’s not a weapon, we’re going to a tour.
(A male police officer who had been standing back approaches.)
Male Officer: I doubt that you’re going to a tour with that sign.
Asha: No, we are. It’s a toxic tour.
Female Officer: We appreciate that but we need to take this. We’ll just keep it for you, we can tell you where it is.
Myself: What can I use to hold up my sign that you won’t consider a weapon?
Female Officer: I don’t know, you’ll have to figure that out on your own.
(Asha and I decide to give up the stick. She lets it go.)
Asha: There goes another civil liberty.
(We leave.)

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