I witnessed the first violence to occur on saturday just after the People First march turned down Queen off University. Myself and many others proceeded down Queen and turned onto John at MuchMusic HQ, to go to Wellington as was allowed by the G20 themselves, or so their information pages told us.
Before the crowd had progressed 10 feet down John 2 lines of riot police formed to block us, with 2 columns behind them and a firetruck showed up almost instantly. This was at about 1:30-40 on Saturday. Almost immideately the police began to hammer on their shields and march forward, and that was when problems occured.
There was an overweight blonde girl at the very front of the 5 rows of people seperating me from the police. She turned around and started to make her way back, and had already gotten through the first row of people when an officer smashed a smaller girl aside with his shield and struck the overweight girl in the back of the head with a baton.
This was the first violence of Saturday, completely unprovoked and committed against a person who was clearly already leaving. Before long they had beaten back the 5 rows of people and I found myself face to face with the line, which had pretty much pushed us onto Queen already. Myself and those beside me in the line linked elbows, and were ready to hold our ground.
They started swinging again, the line broke, and I was stuck to face 3 officers. I was beat roughly 20 times with batons, and many times they shoved me around with their shields. When I tried to block the batons with the banner I had been carrying, they beat my hands severely and I have difficulty writing with pen or pencil, but that will go away as nothing was broken.
The police forces threw the first stone. They instigated the violence, they purposefully provoked the crowd to anger. To that point I can also testify that there were firetrucks not 2 blocks from the burning police vehichles, but they let them burn anyway. Also there was an almost non-existant police presence on Yonge where all of the damage occured. That was not right, and they should not have been teargassing people at Queen’s Park when they were not doing anything when the violent protests erupted.