An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I’VE GOT A FEW ‘WHAT IF’s’ for those who are alleging police violence during the clearing of the truckers’ protest in front of Parliament Hill.
Yes, there were incidents in which people were pepper sprayed. Unfortunately, a woman was injured when mounted police rode in front of a line of protesters. And police smashed the window of a truck to get the driver to come out.
So what if:
The protesters had paid attention to the many, many notifications of the fact their protest was illegal and they must leave the area, and had left as instructed?
The protesters, instead of making a show of bravado by standing right in front of the advancing police lines and yelling “hold the line!” had simply done what they were told to do and moved back?
Had resisted the urge to physically push back on the police as the area was being cleared?
Had, instead of continuing to honk their horns and taunting police with vulgarities, obeyed lawful orders, fired up their rigs and driven away as they were warned to do?
I pause here to observe that those who support the truckers also tend to support the narrative of police brutality against “peaceful protesters.” Cellphone videos of confrontations with police, by the way, make good posting on Facebook to “prove” police brutality and validate the cause.
Certainly, as I wrote on the weekend, there have been a lot of absolutely brutal police actions against protests in other parts of the world but comparing our Canadian example to those requires that one more question be answered: Is there any proof there was widespread pro-active violence on the part of police, or did they react to what the protesters were doing in the moment?
Maybe everything will become clearer when investigations are done into how this sad event happened, and why.
So many questions in need of answers. And so many what if’s.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.