SOME PICS FROM THE TORONTO G20
Considering the events that unfolded at the G20 in Toronto this past weekend--cop cars set ablaze, smashed windows, looting, rioting, bloodied faces, tear gas, rubber bullets, legions of apocalyptically clad riot cops--and the fact that it is now going down as the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, with roughly 900 detainees held under "G20 law" in a make-shift jail where news of conditions seems to get worse as more information is leaked from the recently freed, my brother's lucky that all he came away with were a few lousy photographs. I had a talk with him about his weekend.
VICE: Hey Bub, so, first, why'd you want to go down?
Carl Heindl: Because I knew the Police were overdoing it, and some protesters and anarchists were definitely going to start shit and that makes for good photography.
Did you notice a difference at all between Friday and Saturday?
Definitely. Friday was just prep I think, the cops were all out in full gear but they were pretty non-reactive and they at least left the media alone. Saturday was a whole other story. I got grabbed and yanked and pointed at, especially when the protesters were making the stand at Queen's Park. The cops would just break formation, grab a protester, a photographer, anybody. Force them to the ground, knee them in the back, cuff them, and drag them behind the lines. The panic made everyone scramble, then the police line moved up and they'd randomly break to grab people again. It was a pretty interesting tactic that created a lot of tension. I definitely got the feeling of being INVOLVED on Saturday as opposed to just being an observer. I got grabbed in one of the random nabs and kind of thrown down. I guess they went for someone else because I got up and just slipped away.
Other than that did you have much trouble? You were running around with some other photographers Saturday, right?
Nope, no more trouble. I think I was a good blend of being bearded and semi-shitty, but also no bandanna, light clothing and a big MEDIA patch on the back of my hat helped. The protesters all told me where they were going, but the cops mostly left me alone as well. I tried to make a point of traveling alone so I wouldn't get stuck anywhere, and also for mobility...but Saturday I spent half the day literally sprinting from the Financial District to Queens Park to the Spadina fires with Paul Terefenko from NOW Magazine.
How late were you out?
Friday I was out from two until about seven or eight...that was when a lot of protesters tried to break the march and head south, so I followed them as they rushed cop blockade after blockade to no avail. We ended up on a small side street, before they were forced back north so I split.
Saturday was long. I was out from one until about nine or so both days without food or water or cigarettes, every store along the way was closed. Saturday was hell. After the Queens Park standoff, the protesters reformed and took over Bloor street! They marched all the way past confounded drivers, but my body was kind of failing so I went home.
Let's look at some of your pics.
This was at the pre-march in Allen Gardens. There was no tension yet, everyone was just beginning to notice all the news outfits waiting for trouble--rows of broadcast vans were set up before the protesters even gathered.
Early Friday, no trouble just presence. The shields all varied from the police's original location, I think. For example, the Montreal shields were solid and round shaped. The first thing I noticed was how much gear they had.
Everyone looks pretty fresh here.
Yeah, things were calm. It was early on Friday. They were going real slow.
Do you remember what the predominant chants were?
"This is what democracy looks like. This is what hypocrisy looks like," was a popular one, or "WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS."
This was when we were trapped on a side street. This was the first feeling of the cops really trying to trap us and make us turn around. There were a lot of chants, yelling, and protesters going up to cops in the line saying stuff like "So, can you tell me the legislation that says we aren't allowed to legally protest" and shit to a cold cop stare.
I was just standing by them, not chanting so I joked, "I bet you guys wish they'd just make up their minds with a direction, huh?" He said "Well, they're your guys!" I told him I was just taking photos, he kind of half smiled then I said, "It's hot--you guys are doing a good job running all around," he said thanks man or something. After they pulled back north it just went back to Allen Gardens so I went home to smoke a bowl and maybe finally get some water.
I swear a quarter of the front lines were photographers, a lot of whom would start just taking cop shots over and over when nothing was happening, I think that's how we gradually got on their nerves as well.
Saturday started to feel different as soon as they started to put on their gas masks. One guy with a gas grenade launcher sat atop a TTC box on the concrete median in the middle of the road, playfully aiming it at a protester's face in the second row who was antagonizing him.
The gays! They were so fun! They were playing drums and turned it into a street party. Chanting, "You're sexy, you're cute, take off you're riot suit" while assing up against the shields. I caught a couple cops break a smile.
That guy goes by the name of "Savage Dragon" or something, he's all over Saturday shots. The protest wasn't moving at that point and I got a hot tip about mayhem happening in the Financial District so we moved on and saw that fucker up there. He tried to climb down and broke the "U" in music store.
He kinda enjoyed the attention, and started reaching for the fucking power line. Every time he swayed forward, like he was going to drop and hang from it, you'd hear some curdling scream from the crowd and "Don't do it!" He ended up doing it. Everybody screamed. It held and he swang for a while. I didn't want to grab him to get him down because if it was live I'd be closing the circuit to the ground, I was pretty much right under him.
That's the leftover fire from the police car. We sprinted from way south to west, but were so dead and not fast enough. The cops had already surrounded it. My bike was locked up behind that fire truck.
[About the supposed planted police cars used to incite violence] Everyone who saw them said they were just left alone, unlocked with the doors open, the cops didn't use police cars at all. They moved in unmarked blue vans and buses.
This was at Queen's Park Saturday night, after everyone re-grouped. He was fucking itching to gas us. The protesters were all in fight-flight mode. They'd yell, scream, swear--especially when a fellow protester would get swarmed and pulled in. But as soon as some cops busted the line again all those tough talkers would turn and run for their lives, look back, see that it wasn't them and then kind of move back towards the cops. I saw sooo many faces in full panic, people shoving everyone. Totally loose. The cops won that one.
After the cops pushed everyone out of Queens Park with the rushes and horse trampling, they all moved north through U of T grounds. This guy just sat in the middle of it, "First Fucking Blood." After this everyone re-took the streets again and started the march back to the fence. Then I kind of tapped out because I started thinking about pizza and water. So I headed home after slowly riding alongside them chanting "WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS."
PHOTOS BY CARL HEINDL
INTERVIEW BY KATIE HEINDL
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