|Ryan Remiorz, THE CANADIAN PRESS|
On Saturday March 15, 288 people were rounded up and arrested while protesting police brutality in Montreal, Quebec Canada.
The official reason for the arrests was that the protesters did not alert the proper authorities in regards to their location and intentions – their itinerary, police said.
Arrests were made although the organization responsible for leading the protests, the Collective Opposing Police Brutality (COPB), has organized protests in the same location for the past 18 years.
Police still claim they require prior notification for a demonstration.
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.
In addition, police claim that crowds were unruly and that they were refusing to stay out of the street and were blocking traffic against police commands. Protesters, however, disagree and accused police of lying about the sequence of events.
Claudine Lamothe reported:
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.
What is clear, however, is that the police swooped in and began making arrests before the protest largely got off the ground according to RT. After only a few minutes, riot police arrived on Jean-Talon street, surrounded the protesters and initiated a mass arrest.
Protesters claim an extremely heavy police presence with not only riot police, but officers on horses and even helicopters.
COPB’s protest this year was focused on drawing attention to the issue of “social cleansing” where they claim authorities try to get rid of people they deem unwanted. For instance, 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.
Perhaps most ironic, one person was reported by officers as having sustained injuries to his face during police intervention and was aided by paramedics on site.
This writer couldn’t help notice some of the language used to describe the protest. One report called the protest an “annual stand-off” and RT said that the protesters were “brandishing banners.”
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