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National Post editorial board: Zero tolerance for violent protest

Posted by Oped 2710 days ago National Post| national post editorial board tolerance violent protest All
http://network.nationalpost.com — On
Tuesday morning, arsonists set off an explosive device at an Ottawa
branch of the Royal Bank, and then posted video footage on the website
of the Ottawa Independent Media Center. The video also contains the
claim, by way of apparent justification for the crime, that RBC
sponsored the 2010 Olympics on "stolen indigenous land"; and warns that
the same group will be active at the upcoming G20 summit in Toronto and
the G8 summit near Huntsville, Ont., where world leaders will "make
decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people
and the environment."

Two days later, in Toronto, a left-wing umbrella group called the
"Toronto Community Mobilization Network" gave a press conference in
which a grab bag of activist constituencies - aboriginal, socialist,
disabled, feminist, union, environmentalist, gay, Arab, and illegal
aliens - explained why they would be "mobilizing" against the G8/G20.
To their credit, their message contained no threat of criminal
violence. But a visit to the Network's web site yielded a jarring
sight: a logo that showed a destroyed CN Tower being used by a mob as a
spear to symbolically destroy the G20.

Is that really a message that "non-violent" protestors want to send?

Like most Canadians, we disagree with the protesters' message: The
western nations being represented in Toronto and Huntsville already are among
the most progressive on earth. Moreover, the welfare-state policies
that the protesters are pushing don't exactly offer much promise: They
are exactly what led to the current crisis in Greece, now spreading to
the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, we respect their right to protest the
G8 and G20 meetings - providing their actions don't descend into
criminal violence, as occurred this week in Ottawa.

Even the use of violence as a propaganda motif, such as in the Toronto
Community Mobilization Network artwork, is a bad idea. Not only might
it spur activists to criminals acts, it also reminds Canadians of the
ever-present spectre of terrorism. Surely, that is not the image that
activists want to associate with their cause.

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