Politics Sunday, August 1st, 2010

G20 fightback campaigning in London

Since the G20 Summit in Toronto, activists here in London have organized a series of protests against the Summit policing regime. Below there are links to photos — as well as videos, and written background about the protests.  First, here are some points about related campaigning and organizing here in London -

Local activists released a statement about Summit policing and detention conditions in Toronto, and the local climate justice group here has sent out a connected statement about oil and civil liberties.  Through those statements we have pointed out links between London and the Toronto Summit, and we have shown how the G20 police regime is bound up with much wider neoliberalism, fossil fuel systems, and other large-scale problems.

More than anything, activists here have been demanding civil liberties that were attacked at the Summit.

Civil liberties petition signatures have been collected, and a flyer about civil liberties has been distributed here.  We have brought copies with us as we have used a projector to display video footage of G20 police brutality on walls for crowds at public events. Here is a post about the first of those projection protests, at a Canada Day fireworks show.

A legal defence fundraiser music show also was organized at a local arts co-operative here, and some defence funds were collected at a recent rally.

The major common thread across all of this mobilizing has been our condemnation of G20 Summit policing.  Otherwise, our perspectives and messages haven’t been entirely identical.  Above all, we have disagreed about how we should approach the smashing and burning from the black bloc at the Summit. The Toronto black bloc hasn’t received much vocal support from around here, and various locals have condemned them, in one way or another.  We also have had different views about the benefits that may or may not come from a formal inquiry into the Summit policing.  There are people (a small minority, I’d say) who expect such an inquiry to be worthless, but many more people have supported calls for an inquiry.

Questions like those have come up at a couple of discussion get-togethers here. Yet, there has been very little in the way of public dialogue or statements about these issues and events over the past couple of weeks in London, so our disagreements haven’t been lively in public. People still are posting the odd web links though (on Facebook, at least), and a London chapter of Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20 has been formed, so those activists may organize more fightback campaigning. But, since our July 17th rally, there has been a lull in our local campaigning against the G20 police regime. Petitioning at the July 24th queer pride parade here is one exception, and it really is too soon to say what activists here will do in the future, but it does seem as though the campaigning may be tapering off.

In any case, Londoners certainly will be connected to ongoing fightback battles through lawyers, and through professionalized, bureaucractic campaign organizations.  There also will be ongoing links to campaigning from the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, for as long as they are organizing as a post-Summit fightback coalition.

These battles around the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit policing may still be going on years from now — if only the until end of all of the trials, and the legal crackdowns associated with them.

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London rallies after the G20 Summit in Toronto

Here are photos from the series of protests that have been organized in London (so far).  There are videos, written background, videos, and other links on the Flickr photo set pages linked to below, and on some of the individual photos in those sets.

June 30th

Protesting police brutality at the local police station

The local action call-out was titled “All Out Against Police Brutality! In Solidarity with the Toronto 900!”

(That was before we realized that more than 1000 people were arrested.)

Common Cause called the day of action, and the local protest.

July 1st: Canada Day

“Take back Canada on Canada Day” protest — in a public park, where Canada Day celebrations were underway

During our theatrical protesting that day, we mainly were recreating this scene.  Yet, we had the police outnumber the protestors to show what the streets were like in Toronto during most of the Summit.

July 7th

A police station vigil against G8/G20 police sexual violence in Toronto

Our rally revolved around this account of sexual violence from police at the Summit detention centre.

July 17th

Civil liberties rally and march

During this day of action we had a rally at a city hall, before we marched to the police station, where we had a brief follow-up rally.

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