NEWS

Montreal March Against Police Brutality Declared Illegal

03/15/2015 03:37 EDT | Updated 05/15/2015 05:59 EDT
CP
MONTREAL - A Montreal march against perceived police brutality ended on Sunday with one arrest and nearly 100 tickets being given out.

The march was declared illegal as soon as it began because organizers had not informed authorities of their route.

As protesters split into different directions, police quickly surrounded a group of about 30 people, who were put onto waiting city buses without incident.

Most of the tickets were handed out for highway code violations because of protesters blocking the street. Two were stopped for covering their faces.

Two other marches did not result in arrests or tickets.

Eight police cars were vandalized during the demonstration.

Police officers outnumbered protesters by far at an annual demonstration that often turns confrontational. Police on foot, in cars, on horseback and on bicycles quickly encircled the protesters, as a police helicopter flew overhead.

Police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said he was pleased that this year's demonstration ended without violence.

"I would love to tell you that nobody had been apprehended and that people were able to share their messages with nobody doing anything illegal, but unfortunately this is not the case," he said. "But we're happy that nobody was injured, and by 5:30 p.m. everything was over," he said.

The demonstrators, who waved flags and shouted anti-police slogans, gathered at the street corner where a homeless man was fatally shot by a Montreal police officer in February 2014.

Protester Livia Dallaire said she was there because the police often use heavy-handed tactics against the citizens they are meant to protect.

"From the time we're young, we're told the police are guardians of the peace, but over the years, we've become scared of the police," she said. "I have been harassed by the police more than I've been protected."

The protest against police brutality has been held in Montreal for nearly 20 years, with some ending with smashed-in storefronts and damaged cop cars.

Last year's protest resulted in 288 fines and five arrests. In 2013, 200 people were arrested.

The organizers of Sunday's march, the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, were planning to hold a second anti-brutality protest to coincide with Montreal's St-Patrick's Day Parade next Sunday.

Montreal's mayor has promised there will be no tolerance for anyone planning to disrupt the family-friendly event, which has been running for 192 years.

Montreal Protest Against Police Brutality