Two weeks after a small band of protesters set up camp in New York’s Liberty Plaza Park, deep in the heart of the financial district, our numbers have expanded to staggering numbers. This is true in two senses. Firstly, the size of the New York protest has virtually grown too big for the park – a rumor on Friday that Radiohead would play drew so many attendees that no one could move in the park, and those numbers grew so that yesterday, when no famous band was expected, every inch of the sidewalks all around the park were also swarming. Secondly, the solidarity protests around the country now range from thousands in Los Angeles to hundreds in Seattle to protests yet to begin in Portland. There are even occupations organizing in Tokyo, Sydney, Montreal, Tijuana, Stockholm, Hamburg and at the London Stock Exchange.
Saturday June 26th, as dignitaries were arriving in Toronto Canada for the G8/G20, the streets of the downtown core were erupting in a violent protest. At first it was a fairly passive display, with women’s groups protesting Prime Minister Harper’s failure to include abortion in his presentation about women’s health, as well as various labour groups protesting for workers rights; however, embedded in the crowd was an alleged group of anarchists intent on destruction. They quickly separated from the so-called official protesters and began to break windows and turn over police cars in the downtown corridor.
Toronto is one of the largest cities in Canada and is therefore not immune from protests; what makes this event stand out is the level of violence. In Canada, cars turned over in the street and public violence are a sign of a Stanley Cup loss, not a part of social commentary. Prior to the summit, Harper came under fire for refusing to include abortion in his maternal health initiative in his flagship policy proposal at the G8/G20, as well as the money spent on hosting this international event. Proving that arrogance was very much a part of his personality, Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France declared, “With regard [to] the French G8/G20, even if I can’t confirm the figures that you are talking about in Canada, I can say that in France they will be 10 times less.” Continue reading