Montreal: Annual Anti-Police March Turns Riot
Fri, 20 Mar 2009 Civil Liberties
Anti-Police Brutality Demo Ends with Multiple Arrests
March 16, 2009 CTV
At least 200 people were arrested at the anti-police brutality demonstration in Montreal Sunday afternoon.
Montreal police Sgt. Ian Lafrèniere said eight protestors were apprehended before the march even began, as a preventative measure.
All eight individuals were carrying rocks, bricks and other objects.
The protest, organized by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COPB), began at 2 p.m. at the Mont-Royal métro station. Hundreds of people, some wearing masks, showed up to take part in the demonstration.
Lafrenière said streets around the métro had to be cordoned off, and some métro stations on the orange line between Beaubien and Bonaventure were shut down for more than an hour because someone pulled an emergency brake at Mont-Royal metro station.
The group of demonstrators gradually made their way into the downtown core. Police had trouble controlling traffic because organizers of the demonstration had refused to disclose what route they would be taking.
Along the way, protesters set off firecrackers and launched various objects at police officers.
“Bottles were thrown, bricks were thrown, even food” said CTV Montreal’s Daniele Hamamdjian, reporting from corner of Ste. Catherine and Bleury Sts.
Police had to use tear gas to subdue rowdy demonstrators.
By about 6 p.m., the crowd had begun to disperse and all was relatively calm.
Protestors remember Fredy Villaneuva
Demonstrators said they want justice in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Montreal North resident Fredy Villanueva.
Villanueva was shot to death by a Montreal police officer last Aug. 9, during an altercation at Henri-Bourassa Park.
Two other teenagers were wounded by gunfire in the incident.
None of the young men were armed.
A public inquiry into Fredy Villanueva’s death will begin May 25, before Judge Robert Sansfacon.
Lawyers for the two Montreal police officers involved in the shooting have asked that their clients’ identities be protected by a publication ban during the inquiry.
Annual protest has history of violence
Sunday marked the 13th International Day Against Police Brutality.
Montreal police Chief Inspector Paul Chablo told CTV news on Friday the annual anti-police brutality march has a history of turning ugly.
“Every single year there’s violence, every year people are arrested, and there’s all types of criminal acts committed,” said Chablo.
At last year’s march, 47 people were arrested.