Sunday was the annual march against police brutality, traditionally the most violent of the year. It’s when people who want to break things and yell “FUCK THA PO-LICE” gather to do exactly that. Then, when some of them are arrested for vandalism or throwing rocks at police officers, they yell “POLICE BRUTALITY!” because they were roughed up a bit during the arrest.

Here’s a slideshow of photos I took (I was late because someone – probably a protester – killed power to the tracks just before it was to begin, but Luc Lavigne has better photos from the beginning of the protest anyway).

The Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière, which organizes the protest, is outraged (OUTRAGED!) that the city and police are now demanding that they be provided with the route the protest takes so that streets can be closed ahead of time. They say they did their best to minimize violence and property destruction because they asked people not to break things when the protest started.

Of course, just as the police protect their colleagues who surpass their authority, protesters protect the masked vandals who are more interested in getting away with what they can than they are making a point. So we get wanton property destruction (which only serves to sway public opinion away from one’s cause) and mass arrests (which no doubt caught a bunch of innocent bystanders in its huge net – La Presse is trying to track them down).

What’s sad, of course, is that police abuse of power is a real issue that deserves attention. The Fredy Villanueva case is already the subject of a public inquiry (which makes me wonder what exactly the protesters want in this case) and the death of Robert Dziekanski brought police procedure and Taser use to strong public criticism.

In the end, the public sympathy for victims of police brutality is undermined by protests such as these, because they show that when properly prepared for an onslaught of rock-throwing anarchists, cops (for the most part) keep their cool and keep the peace.

Similar thoughts from Patrick Lagacé,

10 thoughts on “Brutality

  1. Jean Naimard

    My brother was there, and said that at one point, the police was randomly arresting bystanders. He only escaped arrest because he was dressed in his waiter uniform and ducked into the backdoor (well, sidedoor) of a restaurant (one he didn’t work in).

    Today, the fuzz are **NOT** gloating that nobody was hurt by them…

  2. jennyb

    I was there (not caught, thanks very much) not a pretty sight.
    The officers had set up a “human net” of sorts, which basically herded anyone to where they could arrest them.
    The fact that they arrested (La Presse journalist) Michele Ouimet, who neither looked nor acted like she belonged in the protest – she had her notepad in hand at the time of the tackle/arrest- shows just how out of control the police were at the time. Unless she was wearing camouflage pants… no wait. the officers were wearing that too.

  3. Chris

    I was trapped in the “human net” on Ste-Catherine and Bleury and it wasn’t fun. We had to stand around there for hours then, after being handcuffed with those plastic ties, enjoyed a few more hours on STM buses then a few more hours corralled in the basement of the Municipal Court. When I was arrested, I was on my way to leave the protest as were others! I was talking to one lady who was also stuck with us who had no idea there was a protest going on and was just shopping for shoes! She was treated the same as the rest of us and also received a $144 ticket.

  4. David Pinto

    Given that black people are, arguably, the main victims of real police brutality, I wonder how many black people were at the demo.

  5. François Coupal

    I honestly can’t see how else you can stop a mob without bruising a few people and intimidation. Of course, the politically correct answer would be not to let the manifestation turn into a mob, but once you get one, what do you do?

    Overall, it was a bad time to be strolling in downtown…


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