Monday, June 28, 2010

The "Complicity Of The Crowd"

This is my favourite quote so far from the coppers to justify the indiscriminate clampdown on the right to protest. It's by Chief of the Toronto Police, Bill Blair:
“Unfortunately, their criminal activity was made a lot easier by the complicity of the crowd,” he told CP24. “And so we had to contain and control the crowd in an effort to control those criminals.”"

Can you imagine? Mob rule I tell you. These protesters exercising their democratic rights are just animals. We need to box them in, making them sit in the rain without access for toilets for hours and hours on end - because they won't cooperate with our clampdown. I will grant that people who show up to peaceful protests with molotov cocktails are idiots who unnecessarily endanger the safety of other protesters - more, that is, than the belligerence of the police already endangers them - but let's be honest: the idiots are being used as a cover to justify the wholesale suspension of civil liberties. But there's another insidious side to this clampdown: the PR dynamic that makes it palatable to the public. It works like this: permit the idiots to run amuk on Saturday to justify all future clampdowns during the course of the G20. I am deeply suspicious, for instance, that the police left those two cars in the street, completely unprotected, for the sole reason that they would be a magnet for fools to trash (perhaps given a little encouragement by provocateurs? it wouldn't be the first time Canadian police have used provocateurs - the Ottawa SSP demos exposed a couple of rock-wielding, pseudo-anarchist cops). Once you have scenes of "violence" for the media to screen over and over and over and over again (how many times did those damn cop cars burn?) then all the future arrests are justifiable because they will be indelibly related back to those burning cop cars. So, nobody this morning will be shocked to read that nearly 900 people were arrested and held - 900 PEOPLE! - for the crime of protesting. Instead, the average non-political person will simply think "jeez, those people are terrible, they had to arrest almost 1,000 of them."
And Bill Blair's statement says it all - by the mere act of protesting, we are complicit with the acts of a tiny minority.
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