Four Arrested as Spring 2015 Takes a Violent Turn
Rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas were some of the lasting images of a protest organized by the Printemps 2015 collective on Tuesday night.
Four people were arrested, according to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal: two for armed assault and another two for assault. Violent clashes with police occurred at Rene Levesque Blvd. and Sanguinet St., as well as Drummond St. and Sherbrooke St. W.
Two protesters were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the SPVM, and one officer was injured.
The streets of downtown Montreal were lit up by firecrackers, sparklers, and a boombox playing Rage Against the Machine and old-school Genesis, where over a few thousand protesters marched and occasionally sprinted while denouncing austerity.
A standoff between police and protesters occurred at the corner of Drummond St. and Maisonneuve Blvd. around 10:40 p.m. Protesters launched objects including a construction cone at officers. Police responded by trying to disperse the crowd with tear gas and pepper spray.
In addition to tear gas and pepper spray, the police also shot rubber bullets at the crowd, which grazed a protester in the head.
A van driving northward on Drummond St. clipped one of the protestors during the standoff, resulting in another protester chasing after it to throw an object at its back window.
The police also reported that windows at two banks were vandalized and had paint thrown at them. SPVM vehicles were also vandalized.
Police intervened early on during the march, pushing back protesters and striking them with batons soon after the group left Place Emilie Gamelin on Rene Levesque Blvd. The demonstration was declared illegal at 10:45 p.m.
Earlier on Tuesday footage from mid-day protests showed officers striking demonstrators near Place Ville Marie.
Jaggi Singh, a member of QPIRG Concordia and known activist in the community, says momentum has been building against austerity in the past few days.
“Today’s demo was very spontaneous; it’s a complete defiance of P-6,” he said, referring to the by-law which makes it illegal to march without an itinerary. “It’s also meant to highlight opposition to capitalism.
“If you think austerity is scary, wait ‘til you hear about capitalism,” he said.