Demonstrations Against P-6 Turn Violent Inside City Hall

Protesters celebrating the cancellation of tickets given under the controversial P-6 bylaw outside City Hall. Photo Jonathan Cook

A spontaneous demonstration of citizens outside the Montreal municipal court, celebrating the cancellation of tickets from the controversial P-6 anti-protest bylaw, ended in shouting and physical altercations with police inside city hall on Thursday morning.

Covering the event as both a journalist and as a participant, Abraham Weizfeld said that after refusing to leave the lobby area of city hall, an officer grabbed and twisted his wrist as he was forced outside.

He added that the twisting of the officer’s gloves “burned” his skin, continuing that it was not the police’s authority to enact such force.

“They wouldn’t even let us express ourselves in our city hall,” he said, emphasising the people’s ownership of the public building.

Rosalind Wong said that as security and police escorted approximately 30 protesters outside, they turned to see Weizfeld being handled by at least two officers. Trying to see the commotion and ask for his release, Wong said they were “violently shoved out.”

Protesters demonstrating in the street following the withdrawal of tickets given under the P-6 bylaw. Photo Jonathan Cook

“I got batoned and there was screaming,” she said.

A February municipal court ruling criticized the techniques in which police officers issued tickets under the P-6 bylaw in recent years which lead to the cancellation of thousands of tickets. Recent hearings saw tickets withdrawn, including for many of those in attendance yesterday.

Blowing klaxons, defendants against the P-6 bylaw exited their hearing yesterday and gathered in front of the municipal court before being instructed to leave.

This prompted the group to, on the spur of the moment, begin marching South on Gosford St., from which they turned onto Notre-Dame St. One participant held a “Queers against P-6” sign, while a few others carried a coffin that symbolized the death of the contentious bylaw.

There were no arrests or tickets given, according to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal.