What a police state (province) looks like.
In front of my job last night, taken by a customer behind police lines.
Our bar is on the other side of the line in what cop squads referred to as an occupied zone. This police barrage was set up on the corner of Sherbrooke and St-denis. Organized, this time, as not to repeat the mass chaos that ensued after riots broke out last Sunday on St-Denis and Ontario. Sunday night’s sight was much more violent but less people were arrested (though more were brutalized and hurt) .
After hours of peaceful protests around downtown Montreal and the Plateau, police squadrons (SQ and SPVM) created an ambush on the corner of Sherbrooke and St-Denis. The protest had been declared illegal from the get go but had been going on incredibly smoothly on both sides, protestors and police officers, and those who took part or those who watched via CUTV commanded the officers for their surprisingly, yet welcomed, peaceful presence. It seemed that everyone was doing it right on Wednesday night. No “casseurs”, no brutality, no abuse of power at the hands of Law 78. Then, apparently, a few rocks and a “fireball” (what is this, pokemon?) that turned out to be a candle or something ridiculously lame were thrown and pandemonium ensued.
Cops were ready. Police presence had been noticed all day in various locations grouping in usually empty lots. They had a plan.
Of course, they should have been ready and prepared for the worst, it’s their job. But what happened, once again, was an unnecessary and exaggerated mass arrest of peaceful manifestants.
They were all told to disperse. And as they tried to do so, they realized they couldn’t, that they had been caught in a kettle all along. Like bait. The authorities pretended to have given them notice and a choice but they didn’t have one. Nearly 350 to 400 were arrested in that very spot. All sitting peacefully, alongside various media outlets who also got caught in the net, surrounded by anti-riot squads.
What you see in that video is from the other side, St-Denis and Rigaud. You can see a woman passionately expressing her disdain towards the situation and trying to explain to officers what those protestors have been trying to achieve. She was arrested for speaking.
Welcome to democracy.
I encourage you to please protest peacefully and to not engage in any conversation or debate with police officers. As shown in the video above, stating your opinion can land you in jail. Your voice is better heard alongside the thousands who walk the streets with you every night. We need you on the front, not in jail.