At four in the morning on Saturday, June 26th, two dozen cops burst into Alex Hundert’s home, with guns in hand.
A short while later, his brother Jonah Hundert, received a phone call explaining this.
It’s little before six in the morning and the beginning of the longest day in Jonah’s life.
He makes his way towards the tent city erected in Allan Gardens in a city that hasn’t woken up. Paranoia begins to seep into his sleepy barely conscious mind.
He kept walking, making good time as a result of his giant legs. He’s on automatic pilot and he knows one thing that he has to do.
He said he would show up for a 6 am security shift and he is going to make it on time and help out.
The rest can be figured out later.
On the way he receives another phone call. The cops have raided another house. More of his friends have been arrested.
All of this is a little much for so early in the day.
All he can think to do is keep walking.
Finally he arrives at the tent city set up at Allan Gardens.
People are slowly waking up and breakfast is being served.
Much of this time blurs together for Jonah as he tries to keep it together. He seeks out the Movement Defence Committee, a group of lawyers who do legal support for activists. He gets advice about his brother and begins to feel like everything might just be okay after all. He walks through tent city, talking about the most recent developments with his friends. When they pass a kiddie pool filled with baby oil.
“What the fuck?” ask Jonah.
Apparently a dude biked in with the kiddie pool in tow and challenged all comers to a wrestling match. When people lacked interested, he began wrestling them anyway. Sleep had been difficult, as he also liked to play the trumpet. For obvious reasons he wasn’t considered a serious activist. He attended protests like others went to Phish concerts. In fact a Security guard remembered kicking him out of a recent concert for similar behavior.
A few feet away from the kiddie pool, people are working on a list of organizers who might be next and trying to figure out how they are going to make the protests go down on as planned.
Jonah leaves briefly to go to a nearby hotel to use the bathroom. On the way he sees a cop searching a kid. He stops to see what’s happening. The cop quickly turns his attention on our lanky protagonist.
The cop demanded to search Jonah. Saying he has reason to believe that he is carrying weapons.
“You can’t search me. That’s illegal. I have done nothing to give you cause.”
This apparently was an inadequate response. The cop dragged him by the arm and began a search.
Which would have been ok if the day hadn’t been cold and he hadn’t brought a toque and long underwear. Which both happened to be black.
So the cops took his toque, and long underwear, vinegar soaked t-shirt (useful in case of teargas), earplugs he was going to use to talk on sound cannon and confiscated his bottle of vinegar. Somehow he convinced them to let him keep his water.
“If you let us take a picture and give us your name,” said the cop. “You can have all this back.”
Jonah replied politely, “Fuck you, man.”
And then made his exit. His brain was buzzing with all that has happened in the last few minutes. He has a lot to do, but wasn’t sure he could remember it all. He made phone calls to people he was going to march with telling them what has happened.
They agree to meet at a café in the West End.
When he arrives he hears that more arrests have gone down. People have been pulled out of their taxis. Arrested walking out of the subway station.
Coffee glasses are refilled and emptied and the table shakes with knocking knees.
Many of the arrested organizers were involved in the planned last stage of the protests: Saturday Night Fever, a roving all-night dance party planned as the set piece of the week’s festivities. They frantically try to delegate responsibility for different tasks to make sure that the protest will still go on.
Two of the women at the table are organizers and wonder if they are on the arrest list. Jonah offers to stick with them so that they won’t be alone. Despite his reputation for lines like this in university, he simply wants to be able to help someone.
They head back to the convergence space and Jonah promises to be their bodyguard.
However, within minutes, Jonah is forced to leave the girls behind. The lawyer calls and Jonah has to go down to court to post bail for his brother. Both his mother and father are out of town and the police need family to act as surety. As far as he knows his brother is facing a minor charge and this will all be over soon.
One $60 cab ride later, he arrives for his brother’s arraignment at Finch Court. The lawyer representing Alex and his partner Leah Hendersen is confident that everything will be dealt with quickly.
He learns from the prosecutor that they are going to be asking for an adjournment.
After a short break, the four people from the house raids are brought into the court. In the gallery, Jonah was texting back and forth with his friends back at the convergence space. Updating them every few minutes.
Then the Judge explains that Alex and his “co-conspirators” are not facing a minor charge. According to the Judge, Alex is part of a 17-person conspiracy and begins to read out the list of the co-accused.
Jonah receives another text from his friends asking what is going on in the courtroom. He doesn’t know what to say. He writes down the list of the accused and sends out a text explaining the charges. Some of the people on the list are the people he had just been with.
Another text comes in. From one of the women he offered to protect.
At Finch Court, there is really only one place to get food: a coffee shop/buffet style diner attached to the courthouse. He is with other friends, who would have preferred to be on the streets on Saturday rather than in court. He sits and has a bite to eat, hands shaking a little.
Jonah and his friends don’t say much. There is a table of cops at the back. A bunch of cops are waiting at a table towards the back. As such conversation is guarded.
On every screen but one the World Cup holds centre stage. With two gigantic worldwide events happening at once, it makes sense to Jonah that they are covering the World Cup.
One TV has coverage of the G20: footage of a cop car on fire.
A stranger sitting at the shop points at the TV.
“I bet you folk like seeing that up there,” he cackles.
Jonah and his friends turn and see the cops staring at the screen. The two groups meet eyes. The cops look pissed.
“This isn’t going to be good for Alex,” says one of his friends.
“No, it isn’t,” replies Jonah.
“You like that, eh?” says the cackling stranger.
Soon the image on the screen will change,and the kiddie pool wrestler will stripontop of a smoking police car and will continue to do so on millions of television screen across the globe.