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article imageG20 protester laments lack of media coverage for peaceful marches

By Stephanie Dearing     Jul 4, 2010 in Lifestyle
Toronto - A person called Prapti sent out an email lamenting the lack of media coverage for the non-violent protests of the G20 meeting held in Toronto at the end of June.
Prapti wrote, "dear friends,
the G20 protest/march yesterday (June 26) was BEAUTIFUL!!! and none of it got covered! Just the violence.
There were people from alll over the world, so many of the other 192 countries represented, unions presented labour rights issues, women standing up for the right to their ovaries, environmentalists standing up for turtle island, etc, etc.
did you know that the sudbruy steel workers have been on strike for a year? A YEAR?
so many issues were held high on placards, so many songs were sung, so many people marched (although there should have been so many more...and there will be, next time).
and not a bit of that got any coverage!"
Prapti went on to say "... yes, there was violence. but it was comitted by less than 2% of the protesters! so what about covering what the other 88% of protesters had to say?
... speaking of violence, the national post covered this story (nicely adorned with pictures of the ideal couple), this is jeddah's old vet, a really kind and generous man. it could happen to any of us."
Prapti was referring to a story published by the National Post in which police raided the home of two veterinarians on June 26. Police had raided their home in error, and the family woke up to find themselves on the wrong side of guns at four in the morning.
Prapti rued the fact that stories significant to most citizens are paid little attention by mainstream media while other stories dominate the air waves and newspapers.
A snapshot of some peaceful protesters at the Toronto G20 protest on June 26  2010.
A snapshot of some peaceful protesters at the Toronto G20 protest on June 26, 2010.
Melanie Wright
Matt Thomas wrote his impressions of aspects of downtown Toronto on June 26 for Xtra!. Commenting on a small group of peaceful protesters who were trying to get past the police and the fence around the protected area where world leaders were meeting, Thomas said "These 30 peaceniks were clearly worth sacrificing the rest of the city for. The nearby grass sculpture on the road that spelt out "NO G20" accented by flowers and a fern from a nearby corporate garden was clearly a sign that this group was full of violent killers."
Thomas had this to say about the burning police cars: "Last week I watched eight police officers subdue a disoriented naked woman at Yonge and Bloor like she was Osama Bin Laden. Now I could see close to 100 riot cops standing idly by while civilians and members of the press, not Black Bloc villains, got dangerously close to a car on fire. Public safety be damned, this was a great photo op and one that would allow riot squads to justify whatever force they used over the next 48 hours. I couldn't even see a fire engine waiting safely behind the massive police lines. Clearly they wanted the car to burn, a car that was oddly stripped of a radio, computer or anything of great value you'd expect to see in a cop car abandoned in the frenzied heat of civil unrest. One protester turned and asked me, "Has the gas tanks exploded yet?" When I realized I didn't know the answer to that surreal question, I slow began to retreat, hiding cautiously behind the CBC News van. After about 40 minutes the cops started to box the crowd in, eventually charging forward creating a mad panic while the car popped and whizzed like firecracker."
The Toronto G20 peaceful protest on June 26  2010.
The Toronto G20 peaceful protest on June 26, 2010.
Melanie Wright
One group which participated in the June 26 People First rally was the South Asian Women's Rights Organization. The group told the Toronto Star they were participating in the rally to demonstrate against being marginalized by the lack of a universal child care program in Canada.
There were many anti-poverty groups participating in the protest. The recent recession has only deepened poverty in Canada and throughout the world for most people while a handful of wealthy people garnered more weath, as reported by Reuters.
Anarchist groups, environmental groups, labour unions, indigenous organizations, immigrant groups, and groups advocating for better rights for the disabled were all participating at the People First rally.
A view of the G20 protest on June 26  2010 in Toronto.
A view of the G20 protest on June 26, 2010 in Toronto.
Melanie Wright
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) issued a press release from its Presdient, Patrick (Sid) Ryan on June 29 saying over 30,000 people had participated in the march on June 26. Ryan said "Our message was clear: we told world leaders—including our own Prime Minister Stephen Harper—to put the needs of human beings and the environment ahead of all other considerations as they deliberated over the weekend." Ryan expressed concern that "... Among the sensational headlines, few stories have focussed on how little was accomplished at the Summits," "... Even less attention was paid to climate change, despite the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Tar sands development remains the cornerstone of Prime Minister Harper’s economic policy to the peril of citizens in Canada and around the world—especially indigenous communities near Alberta’s tar sands." Ryan concluded by saying "All this brings me back to where I started. Thousands of people feel legitimate anger over the failure of the world’s wealthiest countries to address the needs of the planet and its people. Many are angered by the riches doled out to banks, while the rest of us face austerity measures. Last Saturday, young and old alike—as featured in this newspaper—joined a peaceful march, some for the first time in their lives. They did so because they were moved to stand up against injustice. To the thousands of such people who overcame the intimidating atmosphere of Harper’s security apparatus and braved the pouring rain to speak out, I applaud and congratulate you. The next time we march, I invite you to bring even more of your family, friends, and neighbours. Because, when we march against injustice, we also march for our democratic rights. And these rights are far too precious to give up—to hooligans or to Harper."
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