What happened in Montreal on March 15th, 1997?
We had a demonstration, workshops and an evening concert.
First off, everthing began around 1:30 p.m. at a rally at Square Berri in the middle of downtown. There were about 50 people. Originally, the march should have ended up in front of the Police Brotherhood, but as the weather was very cold, the demonstrators ended up in front of the first community police station in the neighbourhood - the idea of the community police had been implemented on January 15th here in Montreal. After, the demonstration moved along to another community police station situated further towards the east of the first one, during which time more people joined us until we were 150 strong. At this time the idea to block a bridge surfaced, and since Montreal is situated on an island, people living in the suburbs must take one of the four bridges to arrive here. The traffic was blocked on the Jacques-Cartier bridge during a period of 15 mintues. Finally the demonstration ended with everyone returning to the Comité Social Centre-Sud.
Then, around 3:30p.m. at the Comité Social, on Beaudry St., the demonstrators and other people coming to participate in the day could attend the 3 skits which represented three different situations. In these skits the police and other "peace officers" (metro police, security agents, etc.) were portrayed as intervening with intimidation. The first skit described an intervention by the metro police after the "punks" - marginalized youth; the second was about a humiliating frisking of a consumer after entering a store; the third told of an illegal raid that was made at the home of a member of a collective that published an anarchist newspaper. Afterwards, two pink pinatas were smashed, they were in the shape of large pigs' heads. One was wearing a hat bearing the symbol of the provincial police: the SQ - Surete du Quebec; the other sporting the symbol of the Montreal police force: the SPCUM - Service de Police de la Communaute Urbaine de Montreal.
Moreover, participants of the IDAPB could view a photo and article exhibition about the state of police brutality throughout the world [SISIS note: including the 1995 standoff at Ts'peten/Gustafsen Lake], this was thanks to numerous contributions coming from our contacts through the internet. This exposition could be seen and read throughout the day. At 4:30 p.m., on stage, there was a trial which involved a police officer, a coroner, and the Police Brotherhood: the officer for having killed an unarmed and suspect who was already "under control", the coroner and the Brotherhood for having shamelessly made a cover-up of the icident. In Quebec, the coroners investigate the circumstances around these much debated deaths and can not bring accusations but they have the power to reprimand.
Around 6 p.m. the people present at the Comité Social Centre-Sud were able to taste the meal prepared by the "Food Not Bombs" collective and in the evening, starting at 8 p.m. five groups came to sing about police brutality: two rap and three punk groups. There were 300 people who attended the concert throughout the evening. All in all, this day was a success.