Montreal police are being accused of political profiling ofsearching and detaining people wearing the red square, the symbolof Quebec s protest movement. More Related to this Story Formula One Grand Prix with a side of discontent Summer ahead Quebec protesters promise a summer of demonstrations canadian grand prix Protests and money issues loom large over Canadian Grand Prix A Quebec student group is calling for an independent inquiry intopolice actions over the Formula One Grand Prix weekend while alsogathering details from recent weeks for a potential lawsuit. The group, the more hardline CLASSE student association, is nowgathering testimony from people who say their civil rights wereviolated last weekend. Police denied the accusation that they specifically targetedred-square wearers. They admitted to searching people they deemedsuspicious, and of using preventive arrests, but they said theywere acting under constitutionally reasonable grounds, forlegitimate security reasons. |
The CLASSE group says it has received testimony from about 100people who said they were victims of preventive detentions andpolitical profiling. It also says there were illegal searches frompolice officers a number of whom hid their ID numbers. What we ve been seeing these last few weeks, and what we sawthis weekend in particular, is really without precedent, CLASSEco-spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said Monday. We re talking about systematic searches in the subway and in thestreets of people who were wearing the red square. It s extremelyworrying for our democracy..
We don t have to accept to live in a society where people arearrested in the street because of their political opinion, orpolitical symbols. Police defended their work over the weekend. They said that an event the biggest annual tourist event inCanada had been threatened and they did their best to protectthe people there. We had one sole objective: to ensure the safety of peopleparticipating in that event, said Montreal police chief MarcParent.
Social peace was ensured Sunday. The incidents under dispute appear to have taken place duringFormula One car-race events. Some anti-capitalist and studentprotesters had promised to disrupt the four-day festivities. For weeks, protesters in Montreal had been chanting during nightlydemonstrations how they planned to spoil Charest s Grand Prix.An anti-capitalist group even posted an advisory laying out itsplans to fill subway cars, obstructing them so people couldn t getto Sunday s race.
But their plans were ultimately thwarted. Police were seen forciblyescorting people, notably people wearing red squares, away from therace grounds and back onto the subway. One young woman in tears said she was planning to get her ticketwhen she met up with a friend in front of the track. The woman, whohad dyed red hair, accused the police of profiling. A CanadianPress reporter who didn t have a Grand Prix ticket was also forcedback on the subway.
Police said their interventions were targeted. Parent said 50 people were prevented from taking the metro, out of250,000 users. Masks, rocks and knives were among the objectsseized by those arrested. Most of those arrested were beingreleased without charge in some cases after being held for anumber of hours.
Parent said there were 34 preventive arrests out of 110,000people present at the Grand Prix site, on a tiny island next toMontreal. Some were not wearing the red square, he said, whileother people wearing the red square were left alone by police. There was no systemic searching, detentions of people based onred squares, Parent said. It was based on behaviour that raised questions about theirpresence. You will recall there were also specific threats againstthe event Sunday..
We have a policy on profiling whether it ssocial or political profiling. There is no question of accepting inMontreal. Over four days of Grand Prix events, Parent said there were 130arrests. Eight police vehicles were damaged over the weekend.
More Related to this Story Big weekend, big disruption plans: Protesters take on Grand Prix Daughter of outspoken Quebec politician faces 11 protest-relatedcharges Quebec politician's daughter swept up in arrests by Montreal police Metres from Grand Prix party, Quebec protesters, police clash Protests made this year's Grand Prix a 'tough one,' promoter says.
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