jeudi 24 juin 2010

'Sécurité' Orwellienne au sommet de bureaucrates

Le sommet du G20 de Toronto réunissant la crème des apparatchicks mondiaux, et qui coûte la coquette somme de 1G$ à nous les (très généreux) contribuables Canadiens, a transformé le centre-ville de Toronto en 'Guantanamo Bay' selon les dires des gens s'y trouvant.

Toronto Summit

Life inside the G20 ‘security zone'

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

In the wood-panelled confines of Walter Beauchamp Tailors, the only thing resembling a customer was a stern-faced cop, letting his eyes take a walk over a table full of neckties.

Perhaps he was dreaming of a return to normal life after the G20, of a saner time when his Toronto police uniform will no longer include a riot helmet, when he won't have to look sideways at regular people going about their lives.

If so, the burly sergeant was in good company on Tuesday, as downtown Toronto denizens, typically an imperturbable lot, felt the clamp tighten that much more around Canada's urban heart in advance of this weekend's gathering of world leaders.

In and around the summit's core “security zone” – a term Orwell would surely appreciate – the insecurity was palpable, as residents, workers and visitors took in a series of tableaux that bordered on the absurd.

Police snack carts rolling down streets emptied of hot-dog vendors. Corporate logos magically missing from address plaques on buildings. Officers questioning people who linger a little too long at a street corner.

“I feel like I'm in Guantanamo Bay,” said Calvin Chu, a business analyst who works on Front Street, where a tall steel fence lines the road in front of his office.

His friend, Ricardo Basnayake, was equally miffed. “It doesn't give a good impression of who we are as Canadians, Ontarians or Torontonians.”

The proliferation of police, amid a marked decline in the number of office workers on the streets, certainly made an impression on Jeffrey Arbuckle as he ran a lunch-hour errand on Monday.

In an effort to liven up the porch of his television production studio near the security zone, Mr. Arbuckle had picked up a five-kilogram sack of potting soil. He was walking when two plain SUVs carrying eight police officers in tactical gear pulled up. They wanted to know what was in the bag.

While one officer checked his identification, another inspected the dirt and a third conveyed their concern: that he might be hauling fertilizer to a bomb-making lab.

After 10 minutes, Mr. Arbuckle got his dirt back, along with a warning that anyone in the area could expect similar scrutiny for the rest of the week.

“The cops have been nice so far, but it really feels like a war zone,” Jian Ghomeshi, a CBC Radio host, said outside the national broadcaster's headquarters, across the street from the convention centre where the leaders will meet. As if on cue, a pair of military helicopters chuffed overhead. Moments later, a blue wave of police officers washed around Mr. Ghomeshi on the sidewalk.

A few metres to his north, another scene seemed to speak silently for many: larger-than-life promotional portraits of two of the country's best-known TV funny men, Brent Butt and Rick Mercer, smirking at each other across John Street, over a long line of horses' behinds protruding from police trailers.

Mr. Basnayake was less amused than curious as he gestured across the street at a group of officers huddled at a corner. “Why are there 10 policemen there?” he asked. “What are they actually doing?”

Many were likely digesting snacks, healthy and otherwise, dispensed from golf carts by police logistics workers; small but tasty morsels of the billion-plus dollars Ottawa is spending on the summit.

Less savoury to Terry Beauchamp, owner of the tailor shop where police have been browsing but not buying, is the estimated $30,000 loss he expects to eat by the time this is all over.

“It doesn't sit well,” Mr. Beauchamp said, as employees undressed a pair of mannequins in a window display. Protective boards will be installed over the glass before the weekend, but the mannequins are being taken out just in case.

Mr. Beauchamp recalled the relatively quaint inconvenience of Toronto's G7 summit in 1988, during which he simply closed up shop for three days. This time, he'll lose more than a week's business, shell out for extra security and hope those boards hold up as he leaves town for the weekend.

“I'm getting out of Dodge,” said the merchant, who also lives near the security zone. “I'm getting on a plane to Thunder Bay.”

Those left behind, like Solomon Araya, will have little choice but to endure. Mr. Araya, a 43-year-old parking attendant, left war-torn Ethiopia for Italy in the 1980s, then settled in Canada.

As he surveyed his half-empty lot – an oddity since a Blue Jays ball game was on at the nearby Rogers Centre – he said all the armed men downtown remind him of the killings in his town when he was a kid.

“But now that's over,” Mr. Araya said, adding that he expects nothing nearly so drastic in Toronto.

“Toronto's very nice; the people are nice,” he said. “That's what I like about it – they just find their own way.”

With reports from Ann Hui and freelancer Ian Merringer

Aucun commentaire: