Judy Rebick, journalist, political activist, feminist writes Toronto is burning! Or is it?
[TVO Host Steve Paikun] added that even though he had reported in many war zones, last night was the scariest experience he ever had.
. . . Police playing politics, justifying the expense and responding to the critiques building all week about excessive and arbitrary police powers. A politicized police force is unacceptable in a democratic society. There are serious questions that must be answered and they have not been satisfactory answered.
People were shocked last night by a city out of control but the Toronto police–without all the huge expenditures, extra police from across the country and sophisticated new toys– have kept the peace in riots with a lot more people and in hundreds of demonstrations much larger and often angry. I disagree with torching police cars and breaking windows and I have been debating these tactics for decades with people who think they accomplish something. But the bigger question here is why the police let it happen and make no mistake the police did let it happen. Why did the police let the city get out of control? And they did let it get out of control. The police knew exactly what would happen and how.
. . . It was a perfect storm. A massive police presence who were primed for “dangerous anarchists” after a week of peaceful protests. No more than one hundred, probably fewer, young men who think violent confrontations with the police will create a radicalization and expose the violence of the state. A new generation of young people who are becoming activists believing they live in a democratic society and are shocked by the degree of police violence arrayed to stop them.
But it is the police that let the handful of people using Black Bloc tactics run wild and then used the burning police cars and violent images as a media campaign to convince the people of Toronto that the cost and the excessive police presence was necessary. They knew what would happen and they knew how it would happen. It is the police that bear the responsibility for what happened last night. They were responsible for keeping the peace and they failed to do it.