Sunday, June 27, 2010


You may have heard that this year's G20 meeting is being held here in Toronto. In order to maximally confer the glories of globalization to the populace, they* have designated a section of downtown Toronto as a high-security zone. This involves three-meter-high riot fences surrounding entire city blocks, two deep -- one on each side of the road. Public transport is completely disrupted for the area. This special inconvenience zone even gets its own special law, apparently. The university, which is near the official protest site (but not that close to the actual meeting site), has been completely shut down for four days (including relocating students living on-campus!).

I understand that a bit of protesting is to be expected -- last year's Pittsburgh meeting involved a fair amount of violence, tear gas, and burning cars. (Quickly googling, I see that a police car was involved in some protester action just today -- burning?) But this seems absurdly inconvenient. On the radio earlier this week there was an interview with a man making and selling G20 protest T-shirts, who expected his sales to really pick up as more and more Torontonians are inconvenienced into anti-G20 sentiment. (The security zone includes many downtown offices and condos. Many people, anticipating the difficulty of passing through security checkpoints in order to get to work or home, have simply vacated the city for the extended weekend.)

That seems preposterous -- residents are organizing protests not against globalization, but against disruption of urban life -- but not nearly as absurd as deciding to hold this large, aggravating, super-security-requiring meeting in the middle of a huge city.

This post's theme word: laager or lager, "a camp, especially one protected by a circle of wagons or armored vehicles," or "an entrenched policy or viewpoint," or "to enclose in a defensive encirclement. "

*the Powers That Be

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