Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The prawns are here!

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Striped prawns in season. Buy them live, boil them quickly, and savour the exquisite flavour - sweet, succulent meat, wonderful texture. Delicious. Just be careful when you're peeling - the shells have spikes and barbs, and can make short work of tender fingers.

DF

Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 Summit - Toronto Protests Part V

The police presence on Saturday was enormous. I've never seen so many uniforms, ever. There were officers from all over the country, and as the day wore on, the police began getting more and more aggressive. Pretty soon, they were forcefully clearing the streets, hammering their batons against those plexiglass shields and chanting Move! Move! Move! Move! Not something I ever expected to see in Toronto. And certainly never imagined University Avenue to be utterly empty. Fortress Toronto indeed.

So, what was accomplished? The peaceful protests provided an opportunity for a few losers to act out, ruining what was otherwise a positive exercising of democratic rights. It's a shame - I'm sad to see so many businesses suffer because a few jackasses thought that they were making a point by smashing windows and spraying graffiti. As I walked north on Yonge up to Bloor, I saw smashed storefronts everywhere. Did they really not anticipate this kind of vandalism, inevitable among inner-city scum who fancy themselves as activists? Since when did wanton destruction pass for activism? You want anarchy? Go to Somalia, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to be some pirate warlord's man-bitch.

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DF

G20 Summit - Toronto Protests Part IV

This was a tension filled last few hours for me, the episode that rattled me the most. I was beginning to head home at around 8:15, when I saw thick black smoke rising from Queen Street. So, of course I ran straight towards it. At Queen and Spadina, another squad car had been set on fire, and it was burning hard as I arrived. A burly line of riot police was in place, holding the crowd back. There were no protestors here - only a rowdy group of drunkards looking for trouble. One repeatedly cursed at police, giving them the finger. As the two rows of riot police began beating their shields and pushing everyone back, about 10-12 horseback police trailed behind. Suddenly, without warning, the middle of the police line opened up, and the horses charged at us. I was in the first row, shooting photos - I immediately turned and ran, passing under some scaffolding on the sidewalk. Surrounded by horses, I managed to run out into the open. As I turned, I saw the horses pin the guy swearing at police, and two officers dragging him away. Not 2 minutes later, the riot police began charging the crowd. At that point, another idiot threw a full water bottle at police, from well back of the crowd, before running away. It was time for me to go. This was clearly escalating, and I had no intention of being arrested merely for being at the scene. I walked about 12 kilometres back to Yonge and Bloor, the closest subway station that was still open. Made it home at 10:30, tired, sore and a bit shaken, but otherwise alive.

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DF

Sunday, June 27, 2010

G20 Summit - Toronto Protests Part III

After hearing about the 2 squad cars being set on fire in the heart of Toronto's financial district, I ran over to Bay and King. Along the way, I saw smashed stores, vandalized banks, broken glass everywhere - things were getting ugly. A riot squad had formed a line at the intersection, blocking the large crowd as two police tow trucks came to remove the charred remains of the squad cars. A cheer rose as the cars were towed, with one scraping its rear bumper along the pavement. The police were definitely on edge here - one officer repeatedly yelled Stay back! as the men advanced, with a few shoving protestors with their shields. CNN was on-site, as well as a few Japanese reporters and a local journalist as well, reporting on her phone. Protestors made light of the situation, joking to police that they were Being very naughty and It is time to commence the New World Order. The entire financial district was slowly being shut down, and as I continued east, all the streets going southbound were blocked. They were taking no chances of the crowd getting anywhere near the fence. The horseback police were leaving a trail of horse manure - one hooligan tossed it at the police line from well back of the crowd, eliciting shouts to Stop it! For the most part, the crowd was well-humoured, and peaceful. No major altercations, as the cowards who caused all the trouble had long ago fled back into the sewers.

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DF

G20 Summit - Toronto Protests Part II

As the crowd continued marching down the streets, they were met by a police line on Spadina and Richmond. The police never explained why the protestors were not being allowed through - at the time, it was very peaceful. Spirits were high, but it was only later that I realized that 2 squad cars had been set on fire in the financial district, and police were tightening access to key intesections. My first time staring at a riot squad. Full riot gear on, they're certainly intimidating. The gas masks and heavy batons only add to the nightmare. The rallies at the back of the line began breaking up, perhaps heading along other streets, perhaps going home. The point had been made. Of the few that remained, there was singing and dancing, but no amount of coaxing would elicit a reaction from the police. One overzealous officer shoved anyone within half of metre of his shield, but the police response was otherwise subdued. I left after 45 minutes, as the officers were content to simply wait out the crowd.

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Stare into my eyes

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DF