Last Friday, I went with my mother and sister to Dorchester Square to take part in an anti-G8 demonstration. As we arrived, at about 6 pm, at Peel and St. Catherine Sts., we witnessed a disturbing scene: a police round-up of dozens of people. It was not until we talked to those lucky enough to have been standing outside the police's grasp that we found out that nothing had happened, no violence of any sort. This was later corroborated by the police in The Gazette's April 28 article "Riot police justify sweep."
This arbitrary detention of protesters by the police undermines all Montrealers' freedom of expression and assembly. Those of us who were not taken by the police were enraged by this police action, to say the least. This anger resulted in the damage of a couple of cop cars and a number of objects being thrown at police lines.
I deem these actions to be, both tactically and morally, mistakes. Nonetheless, people should understand that they were a result of police provocation, which is clear from the fact that none of the shops in the area (HMV, Roots and Bank of Nova Scotia were all nearby) were damaged, nor was anybody but the police targeted.
Ultimately, because of police action, a demonstration against the pernicious economic and political policies of the G8 became a confrontation with the police. Who benefits from this? Certainly not those Canadians who care about democracy.
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