G20: Thank God it's Monday!

zacharrests.jpgPolice arrest protesters. (Zach Bussey)

By Zach Bussey, G20 citizen blogger

zach52.jpgThe G20 in Toronto was an eye-opening experience I honestly hope we never have to be put through again. I was scared for the city, for the general public and my own safety. I watched enough videos from other G8/G20s, talked to enough reporters who were in Pittsburgh and London, and read enough about what could and/or would happen to be prepared.

During the protests, I carried a change of clothes from head to toe, a bottle of baby shampoo to dissipate tear gas on the skin and eyes, a small bottle of apple cider vinegar to protect my mouth, nose and lungs, and four litres of water to drink and wash with. There's no mistake about it, I was nervous being down there.

The lead-up to the summit and subsequent violence taught me that sometimes mainstream media doesn't get the story 100 per cent correct. When the media reports a left turn, it's possible the correct story is a right turn followed by a left turn. Take everything with a grain of salt. I'm glad the invention of social media is starting to be utilized to its potential and really want to single out the CBC for getting on board and providing citizens on the street with a voice through blogs, Twitter and photos.

zachethiopia.jpgProtesters champion change in Ethiopia. (Zach Bussey)

With regard to the police, individually, I want to express thanks to each and every one of you officers. You had a tough job to do and individually you did a great job. You need to follow orders for your safety and for the safety of Toronto. While I don't agree with some of the orders you were given by superiors, I think you all acted appropriately with the tough task at hand. Yes, some things could have been handled better. Yes, some things were handled (in my eyes) wrongly. Yes, some things were handled very well. I think for the majority of you, you handled yourself admirably and commend you for it.

To the peaceful protesters, you should know I heard you and many others did too. I heard about poverty and agree it needs to be addressed and stamped out. I heard about climate change and think you made some good points. I heard about water, absolutely, it should be a right for every person in this world. I heard about Ethiopia and think what's happening there is horrendous and needs to get more attention. I heard you. WE heard you.

This was a great experience for me and I want to thank the CBC for the opportunity and especially Amil Niazi and Kim Fox for letting me blog in my own voice and style. Their passion and dedication in providing citizens with a voice needs to be recognized in more than just the thank you I can offer. But thank you regardless! I also want to single out Kyla Kryski  for letting me use her place to charge my phone when it was dying and change out of my wet clothes. Without her help, I wouldn't have been able to continue coverage on Saturday.

Most of all, thank you to the readers! I hope you found lots of valuable information and perspectives here from all the G20 bloggers and CBC reporters. If you want to continue the dialogue with me personally, I'm on Twitter and you can view my personal blog.

Thanks again and all the best!

Related: Meet the team