To the Editor,
Do Canadian police forces respond equally to right versus left social movement protests, and civil disobedience?
Our media has closely followed policing of the “Freedom Convoy”:
“RCMP and CSIS view a number of activist activities – particularly civil disobedience – as forms of attack. Blocking access to roads or buildings are framed as violence, depicting pacifists as national security threats.” (The Narwhal)
“More than 1,100 people were arrested when thousands of police cracked down on protesters. An alarming number of incidents of illegal arrests, detentions and police brutality.” (CBC)
RCMP deployed surveillance, militarized police patrols, helicopters, drones, heat-sensing cameras and a “media exclusion zone.” Assault rifles were hidden on approach because the “optics” of the weapons were “not good.” Children and elderly could be arrested. “No exception, everyone will be arrested in the area,” necessary for “sterilizing [the] site.” Instructions to “use as much violence as you want” and that “lethal overwatch” (deadly force approval) is required” were issued. (The Guardian)
Wait, my mistake! The above speak to police response to left social movements and protests as follows: old growth forests in BC, the G20 in Toronto, and the peaceful Wet’suwet’en Nation opposing a pipeline through their unceded territory.
Trucker protest coverage appears below:
An injunction initiated by a 21-year-old resident the constant blaring of truck horns, not the Ottawa Mayor or the police. (CTV)
“there are illegal activities taking place … violating Criminal Code and provincial laws,” RCMP. (CTV)
Alberta RCMP referred to soft enforcement including ticketing, “you can’t arrest your way out of the choices that people are making.”(CBC)
Not convinced? Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam has the final word: “If it was a First Nation standoff or blockade, I guarantee you the RCMP would have been in there in the first hour.” (Toronto Star).