Exonerated G20 agitator Byron Sonne defends actions
Protester says he would 'tickle the dragon' again
Byron Sonne, the G20 activist who was cleared on Tuesday of possessing explosives and counselling mischief not committed, told CBC News his time behind bars has not dissuaded him from wanting to "shake" authorities in the name of civil liberties.
In an interview with CBC's Dave Seglins, the 39-year-old computer security expert and hobby chemist acknowledged that his provocative activity — once characterized by him as "tickling the dragon" — ended in great personal cost to him. Sonne lost his home and his wife following his arrest, which came days before the 2010 G20 riots.
Sonne said he was just trying to test security gaps in the billion-dollar G20 summit. Police became suspicious after he took photos of a G20 security fence, purchased a cache of chemicals, and boasted online about ways to subvert security measures. But he dismissed assertions from critics that his behaviour was provocative for police and counter-terrorism officials.
"'Provoke' maybe sounds a bit loaded, but I mean I guess it might be the kind of thing like trying to shake a friend who's passed out on a couch to see if they're awake. You could say I provoked him into consciousness," he said.
"The point was that I've had a growing concern over the better part of the decade over the slippery slope of civil rights, and it's been something that's been thrown into sharp … relief after 9/11," he said.
"What exactly does a person have to do in order to attract that kind of attention? Wind up on a [no-fly] list, attract the attention of intelligence agencies? That sort of thing."
Asked if he would consider testing the system again in a similar way, Sonne said, "Probably."
"I would probably do it a lot more consistently; I'd probably document it a lot more," he said.