27 June 2010

I'm going to file this away for future study under "Insurrection, tactics in case of"

That's being presented as "riot police charge and strike at peaceful protesters." That very well be the case. You know I don't have much faith in or patience for militarized police. But we have no idea what happened before this. For all I know the cops had been telling the protestors to clear out for two hours because citizens want to use the road to go about their business and the activists refused to move along. I have no idea.

You know what makes me optimistic about this video though? The lack of discipline in the riot cops. They charge down the street like a pack of rabid Gauls. It's nice to know that when riot cops advance they scatter about like school children instead of staying in formation, shoulder to shoulder, like trained professionals. That's the kind of thing it may come in handy one day to know.


  1. Something to keep in mind - the local fuzz may scatter like Vikings on a spree, now.

    If civil unrest is more than a once-in-a-while kinda deal they'll get better at it.

    Also if the Marines are called in, you can expect more discipline and attention to detail from the git-go.

  2. I wouldn't be stepping to the Marines to begin with.

    The race riots of '63-'77 are probably the only concentrated period of rioting in post-WWII America, and I don't think any cities other than Chicago and NY saw more than one. So no particular police department would have officers who had learned from prior experience to hold a line.

    Anyway this is all idle speculation. Even if I was angry enough for violent protest participating in a riot wouldn't be something I would do. There are far more effective ways for striking out for the same level of risk than casting your lot in with a bunch of undisciplined hooligans.

  3. One thing to consider is that the police shown in this video may not have actually been the core riot squad, given the large number of extra police that were brought in for the event. In addition, this video shows activity that took place the morning after a long day of skirmishes around the downtown core, so the best-trained may have been off duty. Lastly, protecting the detention centre was a tertiary responsibility at best, after the conference site and surrounding area, the airport (since everyone was scheduled to depart that afternoon), and the official protest zone near the provincial legislature. It stands to reason that the police tasked with this spot might be regular cops dressed in riot gear.

  4. All good points, but they're still professionals, and they knew the G20 meeting and the associated rabble was coming to town for months. (Years?) When you have shields and the other guys don't, when you're hierarchically organized and the other guys aren't, when you have even 15 minutes to train as a group and the other guys don't, when you're a professional and the other guys aren't, you should be able to learn and implement a few simple lessons. And lesson number one seems like it ought to be "stay close to the guy next to you instead of rushing around like a barbarian."