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​300 arrested at Montreal protest against police brutality

Published time: March 16, 2014 14:13
Edited time: March 17, 2014 16:29
Reuters /Christinne Muschi

Reuters /Christinne Muschi

Canadian police surrounded an annual protest against police brutality in Montreal, arresting 288 people before the demonstration had barely started.

The police claim the protest was illegal as the participants did not warn the authorities of their itinerary.

Montreal’s 18th annual protest against police brutality was cut dramatically short Saturday when police rounded up the participants. Minutes into the demonstration, riot officers converged on Jean-Talon Street and began detaining protesters. According to protesters there was a strong police presence, with police horses, cars and a helicopter on the scene.

“It was a veritable army of police ... who occupied the area surrounding the Jean-Talon metro when the protest was to start,” the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, which organizes the annual protest, said in a written statement issued after the protest.

Police declared the demonstration was illegal and asked the protesters to disperse. However, the activists carried on marching, brandishing banners and chanting slogans, such as “They want us to respect them, but they don’t respect us!”

Riot police then encircled the protesters and began making arrests. The majority of the 288 people who were taken into custody were released shortly afterwards, but four people may be charged under the Criminal Code for assaulting an officer and obstructing the police. Several others could face charges of mischief.

One man sustained injuries to his face during the police intervention and was tended to by paramedics on the site, said officers.

“They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating,” police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said. He added that the protest has a bad reputation with the authorities and on previous occasions the demonstrations had descended into violence and rioting.

However, activists had a different version of events and have accused the police of lying about the protesters’ activities.

“It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing,” Claudine Lamothe told the Montreal Gazette.

The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality has staged a protest in Montreal every year for the past 18 years. This year the focused their protest on the issue of “social cleansing” where the authorities try to “get rid of people who are deemed unwanted,” the group writes on its website. The group cites an incident in January when an unnamed Montreal police officer threatened to tie a homeless man to a lamppost in temperatures of minus 30 if he did not move along. Following the incident, Lafrenière told the Montreal Gazette that the officer had been reprimanded for his “unacceptable” behavior.

Comments (43)


NiL8oR 18.03.2014 18:35

BillK 18.03.2014 18:28

Canada is becoming unhinged police state just like USA

My god, I wish Pierre Eliot Trudeau was still around


Trudeau was a major member of "The Club of Rome." Get an education before you make that idiot out to be a saint! Canada has had Common Core for far too long creating a bunch of idiots. Trudeau was never about your freedom! GET EDUCATED!!


NiL8oR 18.03.2014 18:32

eve 18.03.2014 18:27

Canada has the most moral government government in the world. No one even comes close. The whole world wants to live here as evidenced by our population. We also beat Russia by every objective measure both in living standards and in hockey. Russia is a third world country and laughing stock.


Th anks for letting us know how good we have it Mr. Harper! Any idea on your timeline for using your brown shirts the RCMP to confiscate the rest of our guns or to take more of our freedoms away regarding free speach? The progressives in Canada are no different than US democrats!


Asdasd Dasda 18.03.2014 18:07

Make yourself free from your British domini.

View all comments (43)
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