Home > The G-20 Summit In Toronto; Tear Gas, Bee Girls, Fences and Riots
The G-20 Summit In Toronto; Tear Gas, Bee Girls, Fences and Riotsby Open-Publishing - Sunday 13 June 2010
by Spanner McNeil
The G-20 and G-8 Summit about to take place in Toronto at the end of June may have a Quebec City model as its template. I offer it as a historical comparison.
In 2001 the Economic Summit of the Americas was held in Quebec City. Presidents, economists and bag men from over thirty countries attended this third in a series of North and South American free trade talks. My girlfriend, Robin and I and her teenage son Alex returned to Montreal slightly after midnight. We were too groggy and tear gassed out to shower when we got home and slept in our funk. If you were close to us then, you would have noticed a heavy stench of vinegar. I woke with a hand full of film rolls in my pocket and my skin was burning.
Everyone just had to see that fence. The government recently constructed a fence around a ten square mile chunk of Quebec City and said no one could go beyond it in order to protect over thirty heads of state and hundreds of Officials. It attracted radicals like moths. There was outrage. People felt they would just go up there and tear that fence down.
We left Montreal around noon and drove the hundred odd miles up Highway 40 towards Quebec City on a beautiful April Spring day. The hills were lovely. The snows were dwindling to patches. The joy of playing bass came through on the radio with Gorillaz followed by Rufas Wainwright and then Radio Head. As we got close to Quebec City with it’s population of about a half million innocent souls, I noticed that the main generators and electric power installations were completely unmanned, open and unguarded. We were going to lose another fight. We weren’t serious. By we, I mean the collective we of the twenty to thirty thousand people who were going to participate in protesting the Summit over three days from April 20-22. They would demonstrate while feeling excluded and that world leaders were lining each others’ pockets, wallowing in corruption. We parked the car near St. Augustine hospital and walked toward the downtown area where we noticed throngs of people walking along the sidewalk carrying signs and wearing interesting clothing. We followed the crowd.
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