It was behaviour modification time in Toronto last Saturday. No, the anti-lockdown demonstrators didn’t modify their behaviour, because they didn’t have to. Since last April, these folks have remained peaceful protesters. Rather, it was the police who modified their behaviour. A good thing, too, given that too many Toronto police officers acted disgracefully on Jan. 23. Not only did they block off the entire Yonge-Dundas Square to the citizenry, but police laid charges against people for such egregious offences as:
Speaking into a megaphone;
Standing alone on the sidewalk;
Waving a Canadian flag;
Chanting anti-lockdown rhetoric;
Displaying a sign pertaining to Dr. Theresa Tam;
Painting anti-lockdown messages on one’s minivan.
We are not making this up.
Oh, and the cherry on this anti-civil liberties sundae on that day was this: the police informed journalists that freedom of the press had been suspended. It gave one pause: had Toronto morphed into Tehran overnight? That’s a good question for Ayatollah John Tory…
But this past Saturday, there was a completely different vibe.
First, the police admitted that contrary to what was stated on Jan. 23, journalists are indeed allowed to cover protests, even those protests deemed politically incorrect by Ayatollah Tory and Premier Doug “Let them eat cherry cheesecake” Ford.
Secondly, there was no huge police presence at Yonge-Dundas Square, just a few cruisers. Then again, there was no need to commandeer this one acre square, given that the anti-lockdown protesters converged upon Queen’s Park instead. They had learned the hard way that exercising freedom of speech and assembly in the city square is now verboten in the eyes of the authorities. (It’s for our own safety, you understand…)
Finally, the person police deemed to be the ringleader of the group, Kelly Anne Wolfe, was arrested and carted off in a paddy wagon. Kelly Anne says there was absolutely no basis for her arrest. (We will have a follow-up interview with her in the days ahead.)
Oddly, after Kelly Anne was arrested, the few hundred protesters marched somewhat aimlessly through the streets of Toronto with a police escort. But notably, in a few instances, people in high-rise apartment buildings who obviously very much like the lockdown threw trash and ice at the protesters from their balconies. This was both despicable and downright dangerous, and we will see in the days ahead if the police will lay charges against these oh so tolerant counter-protesters...