The trucker’s convoy was crushed as soon as the police were unleashed. It took law enforcement only two days to remove every protestor and vehicle from Parliament Hill. They used simple riot control techniques. Friendly and fraternizing police were replaced with tactical units, who had more protective equipment and better weapons, and unencumbered by body cameras and badge numbers. …
For riot control purposes, police stand in what’s called square formation, whereby officers position themselves side by side in echelons.
Each echelon has a specific role. The first line was tightly formed of men, who would advance after a cannon shocked front-line protestors, forcing them back. They would only advance two or three steps at a time. This first echelon held riot shields and hardwood batons, and would bludgeon anyone who held ground. In the second row were officers with semi-automatic rifles and 40mm multi-launchers loaded with aerosol grenades containing chemical irritants. These men stood with gaps between them, so that the rear-end third line, an arresting team, could filter through and apprehend any targeted protestor who stood confronting the front echelon, as the unit forcefully advanced. It was the arresting team who were caught on video ramming gunstocks onto faces or lunging knees into ribs, to pummel already submitted protestors.
The crowds remained dignified while getting thrashed. Their resolution was powerful to observe, and useless against an opponent with training and the instruments of force.
For the naive protestors who believed that their good intentions were sufficient to stay firmly planted in Ottawa, they got a lesson in the rules of power. In the zero-sum nature of conflict, impersonal violence beats unarmed conviction — and because the demonstrators maintained their pacifism, their chants to “Hold the line!” sounded like movie dialogue. …
The convoy and its supporters never intended to fight, and many left when the tactical units were bussed in. Those who remained defiant were admirable in mind, but only became the police forces’ punching bag. Such physical brutality is viscerally appalling, but pales in effect compared to what will come: the dragging of demonstrators into legal quagmires. The relentless pursuit by prosecuting lawyers, over years, will make the process the punishment. …
Having unpolished yokels live-streaming their manic enthusiasm might have kept the police second-guessing. Peaceful protestors are predictable, and less risky to confront. But the media team would have found it difficult to adopt a PR strategy centered on the rowdiest elements of the protest, not least because they had more conventional, white-collar, resumes than anyone else in the convoy. Everyone in the media team had a university education, and most had worked in politics or government relations. These were people who had come from within the system. This put them under a suspicious light; however, they were also the only people who knew how to play the game—they knew how to write provocative speeches and press releases while limiting legal repercussions.
Errors in organization:
Some mistakes were merely operational. There was no vetting. I gave one person my pseudonym and an invented autobiography, and within hours I was in a boardroom with all the organizers, going through maps, talking about internal weak points, looking at charts, and inputting every important phone number into my contact list. The lack of operational security was astounding.
The grass-roots organizations also meant that no one — yet everyone — was in charge. It was a classic case of “too many chiefs, not enough Indians,” but worse, as if the chiefs had all been drinking mouthwash. So much time was wasted between defective people competing for status and control, including podcasters and lawyers who thought of themselves as serious leaders, that it felt like the Special Olympics of political resistance. Resultantly, there was no distinction between strategy and tactics. Some organizers became so committed to certain small tasks, they could not understand that a bigger picture existed, while at the same time, it was rare for anyone to discuss what success would look like.
Another problem was the lack of quality men: we had some who were brave and others who were sharp, but few who were both. Most damaging of all was that nearly every organizer saw the occupation and their battle with the regime through the lens of a feminine morality, with undue concern about how we would be perceived. There was no understanding of conflict. The organizers couldn’t even fathom the regime extending its power through the judiciary or the financial system, and every time the government used the tools within their control, the organizers would become histrionic, and take comfort in videos of commentary and ranting by political celebrities who supported the convoy.
Somehow, most organizers and demonstrators held two incompatible premises at the same time. They took for granted that the Canadian government had been acting illegally over the past two years, even harming its citizenry for their own gain; and also believed guilelessly that the government would not lie, seize donations, freeze personal finances, use brutal force, or commit any other illegal action regarding the convoy.
Every time the government demonstrated its willingness not to “play fair,” there was widespread emotional breakdown among the organizers. Some left fearful for their lives, while others became meritoriously cavalier and tried to get themselves arrested, even if their skillset was irreplaceable. There was an indulgent narcissism in the desire to be arrested for “counselling to commit mischief” and other misdemeanors.
Sounds very believable. That the truckers were able to achieve as much as they did is partly due to a small bunch of experienced people:
The security command center was much better organized than the procurement and media war rooms. The security team was made of serious men with decades long experience in policing, military, and intelligence. We had many active law enforcement officers within our ranks including Ottawa Police, veterans of the Afghanistan war, one sniper from the Prime Minister’s private security detail, and a CSIS counter-terrorism expert. This was the only command center in which there was a clear order of battle.
This latter element was obviously missing from the Australian and New Zealand convoy protests, which went nowhere and were ineffective.
The ruling class would have us believe that protesting is useless and voting is useless. No matter what you do, they are still in power and ignoring us.