Last years demonstration was met with police violence and tear gas. More than 200 were arrested. This year organizers are even more concerned what the cops will do. Seems some cop houses and cars were, shall we say, "vandalized" the other day and the cops are pissey.
The following is from the Montreal Gazette.
MONTREAL – A group that organizes an annual and controversial anti-police brutality march that last year was the scene of more than 200 arrests says it had nothing do with an attack by vandals early Saturday that left 11 Montreal police squad cars smashed and a neighbourhood police station splashed with graffiti.
And Sophie Sénécal of the Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière said yesterday she hoped police won't use the incident as a pretext to adopt a "provocative" attitude during this year's march to protest against police brutality, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.
"For sure, it's something we'd worry about," she said. "We just hope that the police ... don't make some cause-and-effect link between an isolated incident and the demonstration." Sénécal's comments follow an assault by vandals at a little after 12 a.m. yesterday on a Montreal police station used by the department's traffic division.
About 20 hooded individuals dressed in black and carrying rocks, baseball bats and, in at least one instance, a hammer, damaged 11 squad cars, slashing tires and smashing vehicle windows and the vehicles' computers.
The windows of the station house, at Dominion and Notre Dame Sts., were also broken and painted with grafitti slogans including FTP and ACAB. Early yesterday, a Montreal police spokesperson described the acronyms as echoing those seen at "certain demonstrations." "They're tags," Constable Yannick Ouimet told Radio-Canada. "In one case it means 'F--- the Police' and in other, 'All Cops Are Bastards.' We can believe that the group that was here ... is one we see at certain demonstrations in Montreal." Later yesterday, however, police had tempered their assessment of who might be responsible for the damages.
"We have no suspects, so it's difficult to make any link," Constable Daniel Lacoursière told The Gazette. "Every possibility is being looked at right now, and (the possibility anti-police groups are involved) is one of them." Yesterday's incident came as Montreal police today prepare to undertake their biggest crowd control operation of the year - the St. Patrick's Day parade along Ste. Catherine St. W., which is expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators.
But it's tomorrow's duty roster that might seem more daunting to police planners, as this year's march against police brutality gets under way at 5 p.m. with demonstrators rallying outside the Pie IX métro station and moving through the streets of the borough of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
Sénécal said the march had been moved farther east this year to underline the "social cleansing" the police had conducted on the homeless, compelling them to move out of the downtown area.
She also said the march, taking place as a coroner's inquest examines the fatal shooting by Montreal police of Fredy Villanueva, an unarmed 18-year-old, is getting bigger. "In 1998, we had maybe 200 people, last year we had nearly 2,000. It's certain that more and more people are becoming aware of police mistakes, and we expect a big turnout (on Monday)." Last year's march, which began outside the Mount Royal métro, ended with tear gas grenades being fired at protesters and rocks and bottles thrown at police.
Sénécal said her group has filed a formal complaint with the Quebec's Police Ethics Commission against the police commander in charge of the officers assigned to patrol last year's march.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette