Weekend of weekends (part 2)

Posted on June 30th, 2010 Won't you help brighten a lonely comment's day?

…continued from previous part.

On a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being granola-popping tie-dyed hippies, and 3 being black bloc anarchists, the OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) protesters on Friday would probably rate at 2. Not outright violent instigation, but prepared to throw a few punches.

ocap, protest, g20, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

You may have already seen the video in which John Clarke bluntly states, “they have given us war, we’re looking to give them war back”, and “things are not gonna to be peaceful”. This speech was given prior to the march and these quotes weren’t taken out of context. Mr. Clarke further urged protesters not to be afraid of the police which, during this protest march, made their presence clear.

toronto police, riot cops, carlton street, toronto, city, life

As with many of the G20 rallies, this one gathered at Allan Gardens, apparently a favourite meeting spot for protests because of its centrality to poverty and social justice movements. There was talk of how poorly homeless people were treated in the neighbourhood, including the atrocious conditions of nearby homeless shelter Seaton House.

Shame no one bothered to get my opinion on the area (I did offer). I guess they didn’t really need to hear from people actually living in the neighbourhood (I’m looking at Allan Gardens through my front window at the moment). The fact that my flat backs out onto Seaton House and the fact that my friend has worked there as a counselor for years also didn’t seem to matter. Facts or extensive first-person experiences, apparently, shouldn’t enter into it.

media, interview, protests, protesters, allan gardens, g20, toronto, city, life

But it wasn’t all OCAP; there were plenty of other groups involved in the afternoon’s festivities.

workers' assembly, banner, allan gardens, g20, protests, protesters, toronto, city, life

The most vocal groups at the front of the march spent a great deal of time insisting that they wouldn’t be told to “shut the fuck up” and that they had the right to protest. I tried asking a few police officers if they knew who was trying to get the protesters to hush up but I couldn’t make out their answers over the din.

The marchers were fighting for gender equality, women’s rights, abortion rights, and a number of other rights I could’ve sworn we had here in Canada (white men excepted, of course). Perhaps I’m mistaken.

gender equality, protesters, protests, g20, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

Some of the imagery employed by the protesters was especially poignant, like the adult-sized coffins filled with wire coat hangers used to represent the dangers of illegal abortions. Again, I was under the assumption that abortions are legal here, and I also thought that there were somewhat safer methods to induce abortion, even if not performed by a doctor. But I was loathe to tell anyone that because it was obvious that they put a lot of effort into their displays.

coffin, coat hangers, abortion rights, protesters, protests, g20, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

Among the protesters were the Freedom Singers, demonstrating for their right to, umm, sing. And unionize. They were pretty good, despite the horrible repression they were experiencing.

cupe freedom singers, allan gardens, g20, protests, protesters, toronto, city, life

There were also the anti-Israeli Apartheid people who had identified a number of corporate sponsors as being the cause of the current middle east conflict.

israeli apartheid, g20, protests, protesters, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

One lone frail dissenter stood across the street near the police claiming that Palestinians didn’t exist, because there is no Palestine, and that the protesters were totally off their rockers.

israeli supporter, jew, carlton street, allan gardens, g20, protests, toronto, city, life

A surprising number of neo-Marxists, Socialists, and Communists peppered the crowd, many of them speaking only French.

anti-capitalist convergence, g20, protests, protesters, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

And there were a few people who were there to add some colour to the parade. At least, that’s the best I could surmise.

g20, protests, protesters, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

Continued in next part…

One Comment on “ Weekend of weekends (part 2) ”

  • Stanya
    July 5th, 2010 12:24 pm

    Wow this is awesome. To my mind is comming guestion what was this Summit weekend actually about? It looks like most ot the people didn't really know there is a Summit as their minds must've been ocupied with endless posibilities of protests. I guess they were just using chances and had a fun, they must know that nobody will take them seriously, what a beauty. Did somebody won anything? To me people's stupidity has no borders.

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