All Along The Watchtower.

There is no getting around the fact that the G-20 Summit happened on the weekend in Toronto.

Photo Stolen from Tim Kennedy Photography
On late Saturday afternoon my tumblr feed was flooded with photos of police cars on fire, police officers in full riot gears, masked protesters smashing shop windows, graffiti saying something vaguely "anarchistic," and other forms of destruction. All this from a peaceful protest? Almost immediately I thought to myself I should be in Toronto to document this. Well at least get a few good shots to maybe sell. I also almost immediately sided with the police in their efforts to control a situation that was almost entirely out of control.

I've been to a few protests in my day. I'm not sure I fully believe in the cause but I was there and I showed my support. (I think one of them had to do with logging in BC which would later be ironic when I started working for a company that logs BC Forests.) Every protest I went to there seemed to be a 5% faction of people who were ready to take it to the next level which became clear when watching the protests in Toronto. Reminiscent of the Anti-Olympic protests in Vancouver weeks before the Games when store fronts and bank windows were smashed in downtown Vancouver. All for something that is happening whether you liked it or not.

I've always felt that you can always make your voice heard but when you start committing crimes (like setting a police car on fire or destroying the window front of an American Apparel) the people who are in a position to listen to you and help you change things will discredit your opinion. Leaving you worse off than when you started.

On Monday evening after getting home from work I saw this 10 minute video posted on twitter. That changed my mind from disliking the approach of those dirty hippy protesters to sympathizing to what was happening to them. It almost seemed like a sci-fi movie where the world is ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship sending out the Thought Police in full riot gear to silence the public. Watching the riot police move in unison, preventing any escape, and closing in on a small group of peaceful protesters. All of a sudden people who don't seem to be doing anything are sucked out by faceless officers and the wall is closed again only to open again to suck out another unsuspecting protester.

If police have the right to do this for this protest what is stopping them from doing this during other non-violent protests, strikes, post bar drunks, and concerts? This is just another strike against something I once respected. Especially in Victoria where police seem to have the authority to take a running kick at you when you are already in handcuffs.

Now I'm conflicted. Who do I believe? What side is right? What side is more in the wrong? I know the truth is never black and white but we always seem hope it is. Or at least I do when it comes to situations like this especially when it is in your home and native land.

Do I question authority or blindly follow what I'm told?