G20 Brutality and Football

During the protests of the G20 summit in Toronto, this video was captured by a concerned citizen.

The video shows a large group of seemingly peaceful protesters singing the Canadian national anthem as a large group of uniformed riot police look on. As soon as the song is finished, the police rush the crowd.

If the comment thread that appears below the video is any indication, the Toronto protests were a hugely controversial issue for many people. It is not my wish to stir up an argument over what constitutes a peaceful protest or police brutality here. Those conversations are already being had. I just want to point out how interesting (and funny) it is to me to watch the police delay their charge until the national anthem has concluded.

It was a strangely patriotic show of respect to make immediately before rushing with truncheons at the citizens the anthem is meant to represent, almost as if the flag means more than the people underneath it.

Watching, I couldn’t help but think of a sporting event, especially when I saw the meticulous care with which the police had assembled their ranks like the offensive line of a football team. They were arranged in several waves and even seem to have strengthened their line in certain spots as if expecting slightly more resistance there.

In a somewhat strange leap of logic, this exchange reminded me of this article by Chuck Klosterman from his book Eating the Dinosaur. It’s a spectacular article in which Klosterman explains his love of football in a way that even the athletically inept (such as myself) can get the point. Somehow he manages to bring the ideas of Liberalism and Conservatism into his analysis of football as it changes throughout the years.

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