G20: A day of chaos

Smoke rises from burning cars as protests turns violent in the Queen and Spadina area. (Zach Bussey)

By Zach Bussey, G20 citizen blogger

zach52.jpgGood Morning Toronto! How are you feeling? A little hung over from yesterday's chaos I bet.

But ultimately, I think it's what we all wanted. We wanted the chaos, we wanted the violence, we wanted the destruction, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that it all came without any major injuries.

You don't believe me? Hmm, OK, let me elaborate.

Leading up to these meetings, the story was the billion-dollar budget to secure the G20 and to secure the streets of Toronto. Everyone was up in arms over it (not literally of course, police secured any arms in the area). Friday, the first major protest took to the streets of Toronto and peacefully moved about the city, then settled back in Allen Gardens to establish the tent city. The story then was, "High-tension moments between protesters and police." Still peaceful, though. Phew!

Then, yesterday, when thousands gathered at Queen's Park and took their voices to the street, the story was, "Everything peaceful. Marching along Queen, going north on Spadina."

This is where I realized how people wanted things to change. I stuck near G20 accredited journalists as they spoke with police. The most common questions asked: "Where are the police saying it might get violent?" and, "Are police dealing with any violence right now and if so, where?"

A downtown Starbucks was damaged during Saturday's protests.  (Zach Bussey)

Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., I heard this same line of questioning from reporters from La Presse, the Toronto Star, CTV, the Montreal Gazette and others.

So when violence erupted, things got good for the media. They finally had something that would sell papers and keep people glued to their seats watching live coverage. The protests became the violence and though this violence was executed by a small group of people (estimates put it at 300-400), they got the airtime they craved.

I'm guilty of this too! I admit it. I took many pictures of the aftermath (and tweeted during it). So I'm not saying I'm some golden boy who's above it. No, absolutely not. The difference is I'm admitting to wanting to see/cover the violence. A controversial thing to say, I know, but there are enough videos on YouTube and enough stories leading up to the G20 that we all knew violence was likely. We were all just waiting for it to happen. Sure we've all said, "Those violent people ruined it for all, I hate them," but secretly, we can all agree, the violence was interesting.

Make no mistake Toronto, we got what we wanted. We're just happy no one was seriously injured in the process.

I do want to single out the Integrated Security Unit though; they did a good job showing restraint with protesters as a whole. I'm very glad there were no major injuries and I want to commend them on a job well done. I personally never felt threatened and while I was scared at times, it was as a result of putting myself in a scary situation (in front of a group of horses, for example). So a big thumbs up!

Related: Meet the team
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