This Montrealer has written about the heavy-handed tactics of the police and their acts of brutality. I have even wrote about what I find to be a prejudice against the English-speaking, the racial minorities and police’s rush to draw and fire weapons before calling for back up or negotiating surrender, but when a certain segment of this city’s population behaves in the manner exhibited during the anti police brutality protest I feel compelled to put pen to paper and say what is on my mind.
What disgraceful behaviour, by a bunch of morons. Smashing windows of innocent shop keepers who have done them no harm and for what? What did they prove, other than the city needs protection from them? I do not think that their actions will result in support from the shop keepers, the owners of the cars that were overturned, the police who they pelted with anything they could get their hands on, or the hard-working tax payers in this city who will have to pay for their inappropriate behavior. So what was the point to this senseless violence and mayhem?
This adolescent, counter productive, senseless violence seems to be rearing its ugly head way too often in this city and unprovoked. When we win hockey games we see it used by some as an excuse to break the law, to destroy what other people have worked so hard to achieve and for what? The answer is to steal, to cause diversion so that these morons can lute and break the law. These morons are only out done by the idiots who really went there to protest police brutality, but got caught up in the frenzy and started breaking the law to protect the crooks and vandals who were being arrested rightfully by the police. With a full-scale riot in progress the scene is set for police action and the threat level to the officers, private property and the citizens of this community demands action from the police to put the riotous behaviour down. With the support of the city, it’s citizens and now the media the calls goes out to put down the protest by any means necessary resulting in injuries to both guilty and innocent of wrong doing, violent and non violent protesters and even innocent bystanders and passers-by.
As riot squads move in and toxic sprays are used on the guilty and not guilty alike no one is thinking police brutality and there is little sympathy for the protesters, in fact there is a sense of anger being directed at the protest, the protesters, and the organizers of the protest. If the cost to the city could be measured in overturned cars, broken store front windows and looting not to mention the police costs it would be bad enough, but the costs will not end here.
It will not end there because those looters and vandals will be seeking their day in court. They will shout from the roof tops that they are innocent and did nothing to deserve the aggression that the police unleashed on them. It will take weeks, months, even years to get to the bottom of it all and the cost for all of these trials and prosecutions will be born by us the tax payer, because a certain element of our population thought it would be cool to show up at a legitimate protest and use it as an opportunity to break the law for fun and for profit.
There is a mistaken impression out there that the police are there to be our friend, to be liked and unless we threaten them physically that we can spit on them, approach them threateningly, curse them to their faces and they should by law just stand there and take it; this is a falsehood. They are not trained to be our friend, they are trained to approach us as the enemy, to be on alert at all times and to approach those that they are told are or could be breaking the law as suspicious at best and dangerous always. Every stone thrown at them from somewhere in the crowd, pulls the drawstring on the bow tight, every insult and push, nocks the arrow, until finally someone whether it be the police, or a protester / agitator pushes too hard and the situation erupts and people are being hurt, property is being damaged and nobody seems to be guilty of releasing the first arrow.
I am no stranger to protesting, marches and rallies; I grew up in an era that saw one every other day from everything from civil rights to the war in Vietnam, with every university campus boycotting, or protesting one thing or another. With each protest, each march and every rally came the responsibility of the organizers to keep the protest safe for all and confined to the context of the law. A protest trying to draw attention to a cause can not afford to have its message sabotaged and up staged by looters, vandals and thrill seekers. So to have a rally, a protest to denounce the brutality of the police only to have acts of violence and breaking of the law come from your side makes your argument seem moot.
I think that the press coverage spoke to this point and proved that the only message that got out is that everyone was tired of this sort of thing happening. The protest and the legitimate protesters got slammed in the media, slammed by the mayor and slammed by the citizens that will have to pay for the clean up. I remember leaders of civil rights protests telling all that no matter what happened, no matter what was done to them that anyone participating in the protest or march would do nothing violent and any who could not comply were not welcome. They had their own security and the rules of the march were enforced by the protest security and in this manner the protest and the coverage of it stayed focussed and on point.
If you give the press the opportunity they will go for the riot, because it will sell more ads than a peaceful demonstration. It is imperative that organizers of protest keep the protest within the law and weed out the trouble makers who would bring unwanted bad publicity to their cause. The police are there to enforce the law and once it has been breached by one or a thousand they will move in and take whatever steps it takes to end the protest and this usually means a warning and then shortly followed by toxic sprays being sprayed,violence and arrests.
I think that protesters have to do a better job of separating themselves from the vandals, thieves and stone throwers if they want the support of their fellow citizens and the media focus kept on them and their cause. It is not good enough to say that those people were not in our group. The protester must also remember that they are guaranteed the right to express their displeasure with the government, or workplace, but they have to do it in an orderly, peaceful way that does not violate any laws. I am not saying that the legitimate protestors were guilty of committing these senseless acts of violence and vandalism, but I am disappointed with organizers who seem unable to control their protests. It escapes me how one can march to end police brutality and every year have this type of behaviour become what is to be expected? I think if the organizers of this protest cannot get it together than this protest needs to end.
Having said all that I have said is wrong with the way protesting is happening today I think what we as Canadians are seeing is a growing frustration and lack of confidence with the governments of Canada at all three levels, federal, provincial and civic. The cuts to services while taxes continue to rise does not help. The over 10 year freeze to salaries in most jobs and pay cuts in the others; rents sky rocketing, gas prices off the charts and the general cost of living expenses paid out each month more than the average persons take home pay has the majority of people at wit’s end. I think that the young people of Canada know that not one politician, not a single political party is willing to do what it would take to make things right for Canadians. Oh they talk and they pass laws and amendments to laws and they throw a few poor people or fragile people in jail. But the political will to stand alone for what should be equality for all in all things is not there and so at least one protest a day and the cops are sent out to do their job. Whether it is a cop pushes a student 1st that gets the riot started, or a bottle or rock hitting the riot cops shield that gets the riot started it could all be avoided if the government returned back to a time when the governments of Canada thought their job was to serve the best interests of their people and to fight for the best quality of life for its people. When serving your people meant trying to make sure that everyone had a place to sleep at night out of the elements; that nobody especially a child went to bed hungry. That every child had a chance to get an eduction equally as far as they wanted that education to go, back to a time when all levels of government worked to ensure that the quality of life of their citizens was the best in the world not settling for being better than most. Russia has a vote to see who runs that country, but it is not a democracy and the governments of the so-called democratic states need to understand this. If the only form of democracy is an election and then all democratic principles and laws are put on the shelf until the next election then what we are living is a lie, a sham an affront to democracy and you will get what you see in the streets today a frustrated, angry population that will do just about anything to get back at a government that they think does not care and is laughing in their face.