This isn’t exactly great cinema, but it shows a basic timeline of events leading up to the detention of hundreds of people at the intersection of Queen West and Spadina Avenue on Sunday night.The crowd was trapped between two lines of riot police over a period of fifteen minutes, and held there for four hours. It began pouring rain shortly after this footage was taken. The rain continued past 10 p.m., when many in the crowd were released and loaded onto special TTC buses.
I apologize for how rough and shaky this footage is—I was just learning to use my camera, and was also pretty terrified. Still, I think it contains some important information about how quickly the whole thing happened. Police claim they gave us three chances to disperse, but the only announcement I heard was the one that we were all going to be arrested, after we were already blocked in.
5:19 p.m. (24 sec) I come across a group of protesters trying to march west on Queen street, being blocked off by police just east of University.
5:20 p.m. (1:34 min) Additional police move in with helmets on to reinforce the line of bicycle police. I’m with a group of people coming from outside the protest. Policemen yell at the group to back up and push us back. Notice how unoffending everyone in the crowd looks. One girl says that a policeman pushed one of her friends by the throat.
5:23 p.m. (35 sec) Moments later the entire crowd is allowed to march west. Most of the people I was standing with join in, presumably upset at being pushed around by police.
6:02 p.m. (15 sec) The protest stalls at Queen and Spadina, as a police line blocks them to the west. A man is dragged into an alley and a line of riot police seal the alley, just as onlookers crowd around to see what’s happened. Police had just told everyone standing on the balcony of the storefronts on the west side of Spadina to GET DOWN, NOW.
6:05 p.m. (21 sec) Riot police begin congregating to the north.
6:06 p.m. (5.2 sec) Riot police form a loose line on the level with a laneway just north of Queen.
6:14 p.m. (1:36 min) Riot police file in and form a line to the south, blocking off access to Queen Street. The line of riot police to the north moves in.
6:16 p.m. (39 sec) Riot police have tightened their lines to the north and south, leaving no exit for the hundreds of people between the lines. We’re surrounded.
6:17 p.m. (45 sec) A TTC driver backs out his streetcar. Maybe he’s afraid of being pulled out of his car and arrested, like one of his colleagues was this weekend. Note the ice cream truck.
6:19 p.m. (29 sec) More riot police file in to enforce the line to the south.
6:19 p.m. (2 sec) Double line to the south.
6:21 p.m. (17 sec) Oh, fuck. Notice the “Everything is OK” dude right by the line of police to the north. A girl standing nearby: “There’s a Jamaican store over there. Let’s have them play Bob Marley and everything will be cool.”
6:21 p.m. (9 sec) Police tighten their line to the north, shields raised.
6:22 p.m. (12 sec) Announcement that we’re all going to be arrested. Right afterward, one guy screamed “Fuck you, fascists!” and everyone else yelled at him to shut up: “Don’t start shit, man!” From what I saw, these people really didn’t want to start shit.
Related on maisonneuve.org: