The Inside Agenda Blog

A compilation of Agenda G20 coverage

by Mike Miner Monday December 6, 2010

Today, Steve Paikin is appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security regarding the G8 and G20 events last June. Here is a compilation of the Agenda's coverage of those events.




Steve Paikin found himself at the centre of the story, writing a stream of Twitter updates from a street protest that ended in a violent confrontation with police on the Esplanade in downtown Toronto that went viral, becoming a trending topic on Twitter in Canada. You can read some of Steve's tweets below, and his blog post about what he called "an awful night for democracy in Toronto." Steve's updates have since been the subject of various news stories around the country and abroad.




The following day, Steve stayed indoors the G20 summit and joined Daniel in blogging and tweeting from there. In his blog, Steve again turned his attention to the previous night's encounter between protesters and police. He found a Queen's Park angle:


Out of sight have been any members of the Ontario government who have much to answer for with what many considered a draconian piece of legislation.


Kate Holloway ran for the Liberals in the 2007 election in the riding of Trinity-Spadina. Her son Sam and Sam's girlfriend were simple onlookers at one peaceful demonstration last night, but got arrested anyway. They spent a night in jail and neither of Sam's parents had any idea where they were.


Kate told me today she is so disgusted with her party's passing this new regulation, she is washing her hands of the McGuinty government.


Daniel Kitts gave his perspective on the previous day's violence, looking at it through the eyes of someone who had followed through the media, but hadn't seen the events first hand:



I think most of us have a tendency to either give the police officers who protect our streets the benefit of the doubt or the protestors who are fighting for change the benefit of the doubt. So most of us have a tendency to look at what happened in Toronto this week and jump to the conclusion that runs closest to how we see those who have the power of the state behind them and those who don't.  When so much emotion involved, we have to be very careful before we jump to the easy conclusion.


Kitts spent the two days inside the fence, following the G20 talks. He wrote 16 posts in the Behind the Headlines blog over two days, including summaries at the end of each day. You can read Saturday's summary here, and Sunday's here.


The Agenda's executive producer, Dan Dunsky, spent part of the day outside the detention centre police had set up on Eastern Avenue, and tweeted from inside an area where police had blocked entrance and people had gathered to protest the previous night's arrests. Those arrested had spent the night in cages, and were released in stocking feet to the cheers of the crowd.


He wrote:


At the temporary detention centre on Eastern Av., the crowd was clearly there for a reason: to protest what they felt was the wrongful detention of demonstrators from the first day of the G20 summit in Toronto. And, aside from some mild taunting of the police ("You're sexy, you're cute. Take off your riot suit"), they stuck to their message.

This was even true when some of those arrested were released. When asked about conditions inside the detention centre, Dana, a university student and the second person let out, began reciting a string of anti-globalization slogans.




At that point, Dan and I met up and headed downtown, where we came across a standoff between a line of police in riot gear and what appeared to be mostly curious onlookers. "Riot tourists," we decided.


Below are photos from the Queen and Spadina standoff, followed by some pictures from outside the Eastern Ave. detention centre.




The rubbernecking at Queen and Spadina soon turned more tense, after the police charged the crowd. The crowd seemed more interested in sticking around to see what would happen than protesting. I tweeted from the stand off, and you can see the feed of tweets here.


It was a weirdly casual crowd, looking much like the crowd you'd find people-watching any other Sunday on Queen Street West. I put down my account of what happened there in the Fifth Column:


Nobody near the police line was chanting. There was only one sign I saw, and I couldn't make sense of it. I honestly think it might have been offering accounting services. Periodically someone would yell, "This is a peaceful protest." Often someone would answer back, "Who's protesting?" Everybody was just staring, as though wondering if there was anything more to the G20.


Absolutely nothing was happening. These were riot tourists. People had just come by to gawk, an exercise in people-watching typical of a Sunday afternoon on Queen Street West. A strange Kevlar twist on the typical weekend fashion parade.


People would take pictures of the line of cops, then other people would push past them to get pictures of their own. With each new layer of amateur photography, the crowd grew closer to the wall of shields. The cop who seemed to be in charge told people in a voice you could barely hear in the open air, over the din of the crowd, not to move closer than a certain line.




Possibly for the sake of something to do, or to underline their harmlessness, someone in the crowd started singing O Canada, and the majority of the crowd joined in.



Take a look at what happened next.



In that post, I tried to collect all of what I had been seeing over the course of the weekend - on the street, online and through the traditional media.


In October, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair joined us in the studio to share his perspective on the events and answer viewer questions about police actions during the G20.



Finally, before the leader's jets touched down in Toronto, the Agenda was already looking at the G20. Below, you'll find a playlist with six videos outlining issues facing the leaders attending the summit, and facing Canada.



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