Toronto went off this weekend! The G-20 summit was held there, so some angry Canadians converged on the city to protest, burn and loot. Who are these violent anarchists? They came in from Quebec, naturally.
Over 600 people were arrested this weekend for wreaking havoc on Toronto, but who was behind all of the sinister, anti-capitalist violence? The Black Bloc! And most are probably French Canadian, too. At least according to the Toronto Star:
On the streets, Bloc members appeared organized: They used code words to pass along directions and, as their rampage came to an end, they formed a tight huddle, changed into street clothes and carefully dispersed into the crowd.
As many as 1,000 Quebec protesters made the trip to Toronto, at least 75 of whom have been arrested, some for allegedly being involved in Bloc vandalism.
The strength and tenacity of the Quebec element in the G20 protests is not surprising. The province is an incubator of ideas relating to anti-capitalism, anarchy and the like. In Montreal, relatively small Black Blocs regularly make their presence felt during an annual march against police brutality.
Quebec: Anarchist incubator. So we've figured out that most of the sledge hammer-wielding crust punks are French Canadians. But Canadians are supposed to be nice, so they must be drawing their inspiration from somewhere else. Ah yes, Cold War era Europeans.
The Black Bloc tactic — both in name and form — is rooted in the violent battles anti-nuclear activists had with police in West Germany during the 1970s. During the clashes, the so-called Autonomen dressed in black, wore helmets and obscured their faces.
Unlike the Dutch anarchists, who focused on combating the police, the target of contemporary Black Blocs are symbolic properties: banks, Starbucks, police cruisers and equipment.
"The express purpose of this march was to embarrass the security apparatus," said one man minutes after the Bloc had disbanded.
And the Black Bloc's tactic of embarrassing the police worked. The head of the Toronto Police Association, Mike McCormack, told the Globe and Mail, "You see the humiliation on the officers faces when this stuff goes on in their city. My members are completely devastated by that." Victory is sweet for the Black Bloc: Some shit was burned, Starbucks destroyed, and a lot of stolen electronics are making their way back to Quebec.
[Image via Getty]