My inbox this morning is full of emails from friends in Toronto who want to remind me that the Canadian police have a history of building up an enormous security presence for international events and then using agents provocateurs who commit and incite acts of violence, which, in turn, leads to the use of the large police presence to shut down the legit protest.
Here's the details from the Montebello, Quebec NAFTA summit in 2007: Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello: union leader; Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest:
In the footage filmed Monday afternoon, three burly men with bandanas and other covers over their faces push through protesters toward a line of riot police. One of the men has a rock in his hand.
As they move forward, Coles and other union leaders dressed in suits order the men to put the rock down and leave, accuse them of being police agents provocateurs, and try unsuccessfully to unmask them.
In the end, they squeeze behind the police line, where they are calmly handcuffed.
Humberto da Silva from Sindicalista TV notes, "It strikes me that these two cruisers were abandoned exactly where the anarchist kids were headed. There was no threat to the police, and that the riot police were actually present to escort the drivers out of the area when the vehicles were abandoned. I am trying to piece together the sequence of events leading up to the abandoning of these vehicles in an area that was entirely surrounded by riot cops. The individual in this footage I took is wearing what looks remarkably like a tactical backpack, all strapped up. He wore no mask and was trying to incite others to vandalize the cruiser and turn over the other cruiser (which was parked where the pylons were originally placed) which was burned. He struck me as a provocateur."
I don't know if I agree (wearing a tactical backpack is a good idea if you're planning on committing crimes because you're a criminal as much as it's useful if you're a cop or provocateur), but those are some very odd facts in a city where CDN$1B has been spent to make the most airtight police-state in Canadian history.