Parts of downtown Toronto's vibrant music scene became a violent battle zone last weekend as the G20 Summit was held. In the wake of a small group of so-called anarchists attacking store windows and burning abandoned cop cars, heavily armoured riot police shot tear gas, rubber bullets, physically attacked peaceful protesters and used other forms of psychological warfare. Over 1,000 people were arrested and detained, media included, many just for showing up to exercise their rights as citizens.
Much of the action took place just steps from the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, Steve's Music Store, and MuchMusic's Queen Street TV studio. Yonge-Dundas Square, where Iggy Pop and the Stooges performed for NXNE less than a week before, also fell victim to destruction and violence. Present among the peaceful protesters -- some in body, others in spirit -- were a handful of Canadian musicians.
Julie Penner, a gifted violinist who has played with Canadian bands like Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think, Lowest of the Low and the FemBots, marched on Saturday during the peaceful protest alongside Feist and Penner's boyfriend Jason Tait, drummer for the Weakerthans.
"We were in the official march with ten thousand people in the pouring rain, and it was great. We eventually came to abandoned police cars and couldn't understand what the cops were thinking by leaving them there." The police cars were eventually torched by groups of black-clad people identified as anarchists -- some speculate these cars were left intentionally by police to bait violent protesters and de-legitimize the peaceful ones.
"I thought this was a horrible step backwards in our history of democracy," Penner says. "I read things online, like, 'What are you going to do? At least we're not living in
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