EDIT: While it has been incontrovertibly proved that the police dressed undercover cops in black-block outfit (watch 2:35), there is only suggestive evidence that police provocateurs actually engaged in violence has appeared. The most important pieces of suggestive evidence are the many examples of brand new clothing worn by black blockers (seen above linked video or this blog post). Even a new video that has been posted only seeks to prove (and does not prove, at least on its own) that an under cover agent was marching with the black block, and later participated in a snatch squad arrest. If anyone else is aware of footage which could force the police to admit they had a direct role in the destruction of property, please let me know!
After the incidents at Montebello and Pittsburg, Sid Ryan claimed it was not beyond the police to use agent provocateur tactics to try to provoke violence at the G20 riots in Toronto. Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association, demanded he step down over the remarks – claiming it was “a totally irresponsible, inflammatory and idiotic thing to say for someone in his position.” For the Toronto Police Association’s demand to have any moral force, it must not, therefore, be proven that the Police in fact used any agent provocateur tactics during the G20 protests. Therefore, I am here trying to catalogue all the pieces of evidence I can potentially find which suggest, or ideally prove, that they in fact did. I will not claim any pieces of evidence are certain proof – and I will leave the thread open to discussion of the evidence but not irrelevant remarks.
This video is suggestive for two reasons. The man dressed in black with an awkwardly big backpack “looks like a cop” – he has the appropriate haircut, and it is note able that he does not yell anything or interact with anyone. Plainclothes police officers can usually be recognized by their inability to act like normal people in a crowd – they walk funny, they look at you funny, and they hang out with each other but don’t acknowledge one another’s presence (see this video for non provocateur plainclothes examples).
The strangest thing about the video, however, is not the man jumping on top of the car, smashing the rear window of the police car and the sirens. Rather, it is the man at 1:30 who reaches into the car and changes the wail of the siren – as if he’s done it a thousand times before. Are these controls so easy to use as someone with no prior knowledge could easy operate them? Or, might he just have moved something and it happened to change the siren wail? If anyone has experience with Toronto police cruiser siren controls, this would be useful to know.
This video starts as pretty much the same as video 1, but goes on for another minute and a half. You see the two suspicious men from the 1st video and another who is also dressed in a suspicious manner trying to encourage people to flip over a second police cruiser. When there is obviously no support, they walk away. This is not conclusive evidence that these three guys are cops, but after seeing many videos of non-agent provocateur plainclothes police officers, they really do appear so to me.
3. “G20 Police Inciting Violence” EDIT: This video does not appear to be from this protest. Ignore!
This video doesn’t show anything clearly, but many people in the crowd become convinced that some people were throwing empty bottles at the police lines. You’ll need to judge this one for yourself. EDIT: Wrong protest this video’s from London!
This is an excerpt from CBC TV, and gives a good analysis of what the “black block” is to people not already familiar with protests, or people who have seen such events only on TV.
Francis has posted a video below which shows plain clothes cops in black-block dress being allowed to pass through a police line.
6. A photojournalist named Joe Wenkoff has made a video account of the movements of the black block. In my opinion it shows that it does not so much matter whether agent provocateur tactics were used – the police purposely did not confront the black block until they had dispersed back into the crowd, despite numerous opportunities.
7. A video posted yesterday makes a big deal about matching boots, black block characters with brand-new clothes, black block characters exhibiting police tactics, and has a clear and notated version of the video which clearly reveals plainclothes officers dressed in black block dress.