Posted by Richard Budman on Saturday, June 26, 2010 · 1 Comment
Friday was officially the first day of the G8 Summit and world leaders arrived and made the travel north of Toronto to Deerhurst Resort. President Obama touched down at Pearson airport at 9:44 am and immediately boarded Marine One helicopter to Huntsville for meetings with the other G8 leaders.
I decided to visit Allan Gardens where a large gathering of protesters was assembling and preparing for a march. This was a noticeably larger gathering of protesters and police from when I last visited the park a few days prior. This time Toronto police where asking to search bags of people entering the park (including me.)
Media were everywhere. If anything, this might have to go down as the most documented and recorded G20 demonstration weeks in history. You can feel mainstream media is edgy for confrontation. So the slightest hint of any brings a throng of cameras and scrum.
When the protesters finally marched out of Allan Gardens and headed south, the goal of a few to reach the security fence at the south end the city was quickly dashed by a massive contingent of police, most outfitted in riot gear along Queen & University. Of course, this brought to my mind if security and police presence is so overwhelming and able to keep hardcore demonstrators blocks away from the security fence – why did we need such a fortified fence in the first place?
I didn’t actually get to see the minor confrontations between the police and protesters as another job called and I had to dash off, but when I saw the pictures of the demonstrations at College & Yonge streets I couldn’t believe this was my city and I lived just a few blocks away.
There was still other signs of life during Friday of the G20 weekend. Maceo Parker led a spirited set at the opening night of the Toronto Jazz Festival at Nathans Phillips Square. Protesters and police did clash Friday just a couple blocks away from the Jazz Festival at University and Queen.