But there was another message, too, sent through the Canadian police: “If you don’t like it, how about a rubber bullet?” It looks like G-20 countries will deal with opposition to their plans through martial law and police brutality.
I was there in Toronto, where police turned the downtown center into something resembling martial law. The invocation of an archaic piece of legislation called the “Public Works Protection Act” at the G20 site essentially suspended probable cause, giving police the rights of search and seizure to anyone, anywhere in the area. In other parts of the city peaceful demonstrators were charged with “conspiracy to commit mischief” and “disturbing the Queen’s peace”.
Canadians learned that there was no right to freedom of assembly and no freedom of speech as long as extraordinary measures could be rationalized.
If the protest marked a turning point for the city, then it also marked a turning point for the world. If the Toronto G-20 is the shape of things to come, then people faced with drastic reductions in their living standards will be denied their freedom of speech and assembly at the snap of a police officer’s or politician’s fingers.
The firing of those rubber bullets should be a shot heard round the world.
Join us on our
Share this page with your friends
on your favorite social network: