G20: The revolution will be televised (on YouTube)

Last week, social media demonstrated that Toronto is a quite a plugged-in city: Twitter, Flickr and Facebook quickly confirmed that an earthquake had happened before any news media could get it out. And this weekend, Torontonians did an outstanding job of documenting the G20 protests and altercations. Here are a few items that made an impact on me.

THE BEST VIDEO, DAY 1: This is a well-edited video of the rampage that took place in the downtown core. The videographers at times were able to talk to Black Bloc members about their actions.

THE BEST VIDEO, DAY 2: This video footage went viral yesterday after we Tweeted about it: at the time there were 302 views; by Monday afternoon there were over 200,000 views. The moment captured in this clip — when police decided to charge at protesters just as they were singing the final notes to Oh Canada — has become the defining moment of where the police actions went haywire.

FUNNIEST VIDEO: The Eatons Centre was locked down for a period of time on Saturday while vandals ran amok. But a man who was very intent on shopping felt his God-given right to shop was being infringed upon. His tirade is comical to no end: “How dare you do this to us! Tell us why? We want to shop!” Sadly, the man didn’t think it was that funny. [ EDITOR’S NOTE: this video was added after this post was originally published ]

BEST SERIES OF PICS: Ryan Dury’s series of photos of the mayhem on Saturday are compelling. We only wished our current issue went to pres this week instead of 12 days ago because the above image might have been our cover shot.

BEST SINGLE PHOTO: This photo by Jonas Naimark, taken from high-above the southeast of Spadina and Queen St. W. shows the kettling technique that police use to control a crowd. The only problem with this picture is that no one in the group was caught doing anything violent. All of the people pictured here were detained for hours: they were never told why and were released hours later without any charges or explanation of why they were detained.

You can view the image on Flickr, or take a look at the larger version where you can zoom right in on individual protesters. Police claimed they were donning masks and hiding their identity, yet the photo shows only one person in a hoodie and the rest look like the people you regularly find at this intersection.

What were some of the best videos and photos that you saw from this weekend’s coverage? Share them with us in the comment section.


  1. I think it’s a bit self-serving to imply that your twitter post caused the video to go viral. I’d seen it before you linked to it on twitter from a few other high-profile sources, many of whom I believe we searching YouTube for G20 videos in much the same way.

  2. Michael: I can understand you saying that with us explaining it: our link was #6 most popular link on Twitter Sunday. It was RT’d about 20,000 times that afternoon.

  3. Damn…some of my comments got RT’d about a dozen times and I felt like the king of Twitter…haha

  4. Ryan Dury’s last shot of the guy offering a flower to a riot cop, who bows her head bashfully is ADORABLE. Why couldn’t the whole day be like that?

  5. That Jonas Naimark photo took up most of the top half of the front page of today’s Globe and Mail, and a very similar photo (but uncredited) appeared on the front page of the Toronto section of today’s Star.

  6. We just added another video: THE FUNNIEST VIDEO OF THE G20. It was too good to be just left here in the comment section.

  7. I’ve been wondering if this conviction of the police in the court of public opinion using hearsay evidence and unsubstantiated videos and photos doesn’t represent a bit of a double standard on the part of those trying claiming to value our fundamental rights.

    If those individual who feel they’ve been wronged are truly concerned about a right like due process, shouldn’t it be offered to all parties in this debate…including the Police. Of, if you can’t get around the idea of extending individual rights to an institution…how about just to the officers themselves? If indeed they did act excessively, something which from a legal standpoint is still only alleged, then don’t they deserve their fair day in court?

    I can’t shake the feeling that it’s wrong to demand the defense of one’s rights while at the same time using every tools at your disposal to infringe on the rights of another. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong…right?

    Don’t think I’ll get a lot of traction here, but it’s was buzzing around in my head since the protest last night. 

    Note: I only use the term “hearsay” as a legal distinction, not to dismiss the first hand accounts of anyone out there this weekend. I wasn’t there, so I’m taking all accounts, regardless of the source, with a reasonable degree of skepticism. 

  8. Forming a negative opinion of the police based on incomplete evidence doesn’t violate their rights because they don’t lose any freedom.

    Everyone has the right to an opinion, or at least they did last week.

  9. I’m totally with Marcus Gee on this one:

    I know that this may have seemed like “a world changing event” in Toronto, but, while painful, what happened last weekend is standard fare for any such gathering. At each event, you’ll have Nike-wearing “anarchists” who emerge from their parents’ basements to “bring about revolution” by smashing the window of a Starbucks or a Macdonalds.  You’ll have the standard crew of protesters protesting globalization, “Israeli Apartheid”, and low welfare payments, who will eagerly chant “the whole world’s watching” just like they saw other protesters doing on TV that one time.  And yes, you’ll have police who will tread on the side of authoritarianism over freedom of speech.

    After the charade is over, then you’ll have the cathartic calls for an inquiry into police brutality, which, if it occurs, will publish its report two years later, and which only a small number of people will read.  By then, four more inquiries have been started at the four subsequent G20 cities – also reports that nobody will read.

    As a Torontonian currently living outside of Canada, I can promise you that world has taken only minimal notice on the protests.  Some important decisions were taken, while other major issues (such as climate change) were left totally off the agenda.  For me, that’s the bigger story here – and for the world.  That’s what the discussion should be about – the G20 is a critically important forum for the world, one of the few forums where major world issues can be addressed effectively.  Are we happy with the outcomes of the meeting itself?

  10. @Darwin…right you are. Like I said, it’s a brewing thought. Let me try this: Having the opinion doesn’t indeed rob anyone of anything. But if you broadly disseminate that opinion, mightn’t one be injured? I think that holds in a libel case, but what about this one where there’s still so little hard evidence of wrongdoing.

  11. I think there is quite a bit of evidence of wrongdoing.

    There where several mass arrests during protests where there where no reports of violence from the protesters, mainstream media reports on the scene, people who where just walking by or even police. Arresting peaceful protesters is a serious violation of Canadian’s rights.

  12. TGD: ‘At each event, you’ll have Nike-wearing “anarchists” who emerge from their parents’ basements to “bring about revolution” by smashing the window of a Starbucks or a Macdonalds’

    This is perfectly encapsulated by the photo that the Globe ran of a shirtless rioter whose Calvin Klein underwear waistband is visible.

  13. Antony: We already sent the new issue to print before the weekend :S

    Larry: That video is good too, that’s the kind of action we should have seen more of over the weekend.

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