Gracing the grounds that is Toronto's City Hall, which is obviously taxpayer-funded, is a new and lovely encampment, similar to ones we are now seeing springing up across America.
Guests to this new (better) society are greeted in a variety of ways, many of which I quickly became accustomed to.
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Within seconds of our state visit, our videographer was attacked, having his camera smacked and pushed. While that is likely our own fault for having the audacity to film on the most obvious form of public space, we were soon informed that our mere presence in the area was indeed a form of violence, whereas their physical assault was not, due to the fact it was only property damage.
Perhaps more interestingly, while the destruction of property does not seem to matter, our newly un-elected “officials” of City Hall were quick to point out that they maintained the right to deny our access since we were on in fact on “stolen Indigenous land,” which they have recently declared their property exclusively.
Luckily, Toronto City Hall Security would soon come to our aide; while our cameraman was being chased in a circle by more than five individuals bellowing ritualistic chants, security put a momentary stop to it (ignoring me being covered in tarps, likely to conceal any possible crimes).
At that point the city official questioned the cameraman, asking him if he had a permit. Permits are not required for media members to film on such public property, so one can only assume this security guard was asking for ceremonial reasons, stating that we were in the protesters' “occupied space.”
Given that we now knew we were on “stolen land”, I sought out an explanation regarding the crimes of other people's ancestors from 200+ years past.
What I was met with was sweeping generalizations about “white people” and “my people” — when I presented questions regarding the specifics about “which white people” and “which tribes” I only received more harassment, and claims that I was there to antagonize.
It seemed entirely appropriate to them to judge my thoughts, beliefs and motives based off my skin colour; attributing intentions to me that I had not vocalized (which I actually denied), asserting that I was part of particular ancestries or national identities.
Before the rain came, I managed to hear out the opinions of two of their male leaders (women are apparently not allowed to speak in this settlement unless specifically appointed) who claimed I was only going to interrupt. After they explained how my mere presence was disingenuous and they would have calmly spoken to me had I only followed their rules and not brought a camera or microphone, I stated how most protests seek to acquire some sort of media coverage to echo their talking points.
After vocalizing their perceived intentions and viewpoints of mine in a rather cult-like and propagandist manner, I was kindly asked to leave “out of respect.”
I stated that I would first rebuke their nonsensical arguments, do a closing statement and then leave. This was declined and viewed as unacceptable, as any sort of dialogue (which they claimed was their intention) was harmful.
“We're not here to have a conversation,” they said.
Before a storm came in I was once again informed I was trespassing on Indigenous land. to which I remarked "I don't want to have that argument," due to its relative stupidity. One can only imagine the “ooo's”and “aww's” that incited.
Alas, a storm came from the Heavens as perhaps an omen to the pure lunacy, washing away chalk writings that read “ACAB” (“All Cops Are Bastards”) and “Abolish Policing,” not losing the irony that it is in fact only policing that allows this bronze-age civilization to exist.
A final metaphor closed out the afternoon: a lone protester standing and yelling in the rain, boasting how I would now have to leave in defeat, leaving him the victor. And victorious he was, a literal cleansing of his sins, as he screamed nonsensical and race-based obscenities while likely getting his first bath in eons.