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(sup) (en) Canada, Report: Protest at US Consulate in Montreal

From Pierre-Luc <pluck@dojo.tao.ca>
Date Sun, 23 Mar 2003 08:04:27 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

the original tect is on Montreal's Indymedia Center

March 22

While self-appointed leaders of the Montreal peace movement rolled past
the US Consulate on Rue Alexandre with megaphones and mobile DJ equipment,
a radical group of protesters staged a die-in and noisy demonstration
outside the US Consulate. Numbering approximately 700, a diverse group of
protesters chanted anti-war and anti-American slogans and burned American
flags as riot police stood watchfully behind metal barricades protecting
the US Consulate.

After much in-fighting between militants and pacificists, including
skirmishes with so called 'services d'ordre' appointed by Collectif Échec
à la Guerre to ensure that their routine of holding massively ineffectual
rallies not be disturbed - protesters began pushing the metal barricades
forward. At this point, the riot police, who numbered no more than
fifteen, were reinforced by at least twenty more officers. The arrival of
more riot police only incited the angry crowd, which began throwing
sticks, bottles, and chunks of mud at the officers.

A tense standoff ensued for about forty-five minutes, as protesters pushed
the metal barricades forward and tossed chunks of mud and sticks at the
riot police. Police used pepper-spray to push back the crowd. Then, quite
suddenly, a line of riot police running up Alexandre stormed the crowd
from behind, creating a situation of panic and chaos. The police split the
crowd into two at the intersection of Rene Levesque and Alexandre, and
another tense standoff ensued. Some danced before the police formation
while others heaved sticks, bottles, and ice-balls. Police responded with
brute force, by using pepper-spray and their batons to beat protesters
further down Rene Levesque and dragging sitting protesters behind police
lines. The police did not discriminate with their batons- they beat girls
and boys alike.

Faced with an overwhelming police presence, protesters eventually
dispersed towards Sainte Catherine and Bleury. Riot police followed
protesters on Sainte Catherine, chasing them away from the intersection as
cars beeped their horns in support of peace.

The police made several arrests; the actual numbers of arrested is
unconfirmed. Unconfirmed information indicates that they are being held at
Rene Levesque & Guy.

Today's protest marked the beginning of a militant protest movement in
Montreal, united against war and capitalism.

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