Where to begin…
It started out wet and James and I got underway. Our first stop was tent city in Alan Park to photograph to take down of the tents, then we walked to Queens park. On the walk there we were searched, twice. First by Toronto Police then the OPP. I had nothing on me so we were allowed through, though they seemed uncertain about letting me keep my ventilator… When asked why I had it I calmly explained, “It’s only in case you decide to use gas, so that I can keep working.”
Our initial stop at Queens park was short, and we continued on to the corner of Bloor and Spadina where students were gathering. I met up with a few members of CUSA and followed the students back to Queens Park. Then it began.
I have no estimate for the number of people but everyone was there, from labour to free Tibet, to greenpeace and Canadian communists. We followed them for a while and I saw my first instance of police brutality when a girl was viciously beaten for getting to close to the police line. It was confusing because the police issued no instructions other than “Get back!” Despite the money spent on the sound cannon, apparently for the purpose of communicating with crowds, it was never used.
We continued down to Queen and Spadina where the march split. There was a lengthy confrontation with police. Then they started putting on masks. A tell tale sign they were about to launch tear gas. One girl, who was speaking with a friend of mine from the Globe and mail, put on her mask as well and the police grabbed her, held her down with their shields and removed then mask. Then dragged her back behind the line. While I can’t comment on the majority of the 480 arrests being reported I can say this, she had done nothing wrong. She put on her mask as a safety measure and was arrested.
By the end of the day to protestors had pushed back the police line by about 2 blocks. Then they brought in the RCMP and Montreal Police. The Montreal police have a bad rap with regards to riots.
One thing to be said about yesterday, when you box in mass amounts of humans, deny them their right to be heard and arrest them for being safe, don’t be surprised when they get rowdy. The police (ironically) treated people like pigs.
Also, fuck Black Bloc tactics.
TORONTO – Last night I arrived kind of late. Running on about 3 hours of sleep I wanted nothing more than to crash. However, en route from the bus station to the Hostel I ran into a march organized by several groups, including “No One is Illegal,” a pro- immigrant group.
They were on their way to Alan park at Gerard and Jarvis to establish a tent city, intended to be a base camp of some sort. According to a police officer guarding the park, “this is where it will all begin.” When asked about how he felt about the upcoming protests he said, “If they weren’t paying me there’s no way I would be here.”
Welcome to adamdietrich.ca’s unofficial coverage of the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. The following post is a short outline of my intent and a quick journal style entry.
Though I will be posting to several sites (wonderful power of social media) this site will be dedicated to the coverage of the PROTESTS at the G20, as opposed to coverage of the summit itself. Additional protest reportage as well as coverage of the actual summit will be hosted at www.charlatan.ca in the web galleries and national section. There is no content up yet, but galleries will be posted each night.
As for the plan, I will be travelling to Toronto with two of the best photographers I know, Chris King and James Park. Chris secured accreditation for the summit, I applied though was not accredited… As a result he’ll be inside the security zone reporting on the summit as best as possible. On the streets James and I will be covering the protests. The plan is to head to a march organized by Toronto-area students; the march is aimed at promoting post-secondary education as a public service. The march will feed into the “People’s First March” which is organized by the Canadian Labour Council. However, at 5pm the “People’s First March” is supposed to end. There is then an illegal march scheduled to begin immediately after, called “Get Off the Fence,” from what I understand it will be a march aimed at the now infamous “Great Wall of G20,” or the 3m high security fence that runs along King St. That will mark the end of day one for me.
That evening there will be an illegal roaming street party, details have yet to be posted as to its location, however, I intend to find it.
Sunday will be spent recovering from Saturday. Then at 5pm it’s time for Fire.Works.For.Prisions, an anti-prison demonstration organized by seemingly militant anarchists. They have posted on their site that the media are not allowed and that, “photographers will be confronted.” While this is tough talk typically when an organization or group is doing something big and does NOT want media, it means there is something foul at work. I wouldn’t turn my camera away from a cop beating a protestor, like wise I wouldn’t turn my camera away from a demonstrator carrying out actions.
Then I plan to hop on a bus at 9:30pm so I can get back to Ottawa in time to sleep, get to work, and write an exam.
This is my first solo reporting attempt. I will seek to tell this story through video, still images and text while working under the most strenuous conditions I’ve faced yet. It’s gonna be hot, crowded, there will be an obscene police presence armed with: secret legal powers, tear gas, pepper spray, tasers, rubber bullets, a sound cannon a water cannon and horses. On the other side angry protestors and considering the internet chatter they seem prepared. Stay tuned to www.adamdietrich.ca, www.twitter.com/adietrichphoto, www.charlatan.ca and my facebook.
P.S. Cool links that went into the research for this adventure:
– Story from the Hamilton Spectator on one of the organizers behind the anarchist collective Common Cause, very fresh and insightful take on anarchists. TheSpec.com – Local – This is the face of a G20 anarchist
– Alternate media site, Notes from outside the fence: Challenging corporate media messaging | Toronto Media Co-op
– Toronto Community Mobilization Network’s schedule of events Schedule of Events | Toronto Community Mobilization Network
– Suggestions for health and safety Black Cross Health Collective – mofiba
– The blog with F.W.F.P’s statement on the media Fire.Works.For.Prisons — JUNE 27 2010 TORONTO
– Map of the fence area 10-06-11-map.pdf (application/pdf Object)
I know it’s been a while since I posted. Not beacuse I have been up to nothing, precisley the opposite. Anyways the next few posts will be G20 related as I prepare to head to Toronto later this week. I have applied for accredidation for the summit, which would allow me access to the secure area. If I’m able to be accrediated it will mean three longs days of shooting and filing, not just photos but video and text as well. Hopefully i’ll be able to extract something intelligible out of the thousands of angry protestors, $930 million in security investment and three day economic summit.
Anyways, it was nice to hop in a little dinghy yesterday and act like a navy SEAL illeaglly infiltrating some border… Really I was just shooting a Dragon Boat race. I went last year and managed to get one great shot, I went this year and got four decent ones…