The Public Order Policing of the Toronto 2010 G20

Posted: October 6, 2011 by hgill24 in Cases - Public Order, Toronto G20 2010

The Toronto 2010 G-20 meeting was the fourth meeting of the G-20 heads of Government and took place from June 26 – 27 2010 in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Leaders of various countries including Canada, United States of America, Germany and the United Kingdom were a few of countries of participated in this historical event. This event was significant because some of the most powerful people and leaders were present at one time at the same location.

They were there to discuss progress of financial reform and related issues. The public order policing of the G20 event was the most expensive and largest security operation in Canadian history, costing approximately $1 Billion including security, infrastructure and hospitality. This event relates to police deviance because there were many issues raised about how the Toronto Police used their powers and allegations of abuse of powers.

The allegations revolved around several incidents, including police detention of crowds (including alleged black bloc protesters) unlawful demands for identification from protesters (related to a special law passed for the event) (Wikipedia, 2010 Toronto G-20 Summit).

There is a lot information about the Toronto G-20 on search engines such as Google. Most of the information regarding this topic is negative criticism about the costs and the police handling of the protestors. What makes information relevant to me would be if the information is from a good source and it is consistent and the information between multiple sources is fairly similar and not way off where neither sources are trustworthy. Information that is readily on the internet is mostly from media sites. Information like dates, arrests, costs and damage are discussed in the reports.

After typing my topic into Google, the first result that came up was from Wikipedia. The information on Wikipedia is a decent amount. I can’t confirm how reliable the source is but there is information there and broken down into many sub-sections. The other results on the first page are mostly high end media sites such as CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and CTV; Which I would consider reliable because they are really popular and the public would believe their information over other sources. Big time Canadian newspapers also had this event as front page news (Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun) having events like this in places such as the Globe and Mail makes it available in other places in the world and people in countries all over the world can see what is happening in our most of the time peaceful country.

While looking at the links that from the first page on, all the articles seem as if that they are more focused on the riots and the behavior of the Toronto Police then the actual event which is very significant. The G20 is one of the most prestigious events that any country could host or be a part of. To me that is interesting because there was more talk about the riots instead of this significant event that took place with some of the most powerful people on this planet. I hate to compare this event to a sports event but seems to me to be similar to the riots that took place in Vancouver this past June. The next day after the game, the talk wasn’t about the game or the score it was all about the riots; all major media outlets across the world were talking about the riots instead of the very popular event that was the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. I feel as if headlining news that involves violence and aggressive behavior is more popular to viewers than politics which isn’t really what people want to hear about but when someone is murdered or kidnapped it is more newsworthy and makes a great story.

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Some food for thought for your next post:

    (1) Why was the 2010 G20 an historic event, as you mention? What sorts of decisions are made at these summits? Who gets to participate in these decisions, and who is affected by them? Thinking about these questions will help to provide some context for the events in Toronto – in particular, it will help to explain why there were large protests. Your observation that the G20 participants were “some of the most powerful people on the planet” is instructive here. If the most powerful people were one one side of the fence, who was on the other side, and what can that tell us?

    (2) Language matters. What distinguishes a ‘protest’ from a ‘riot’, and which of these terms describes the events at the Toronto G20?

    (3) You are correct to note that the media coverage of the G20 focused more on the policing of the event than it did on the goings-on inside the conference centre. Do you think that the policing of the event was important and worth covering? Note that the focus on security and policing may have drawn attention away from the ‘official’ summit activities, but it also drew attention away from the messages of dissent come from the protesters.

    (4) Of interest:

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