No Police Intervention at Nighttime Vigil

Demonstrators Gather to Condemn Protest Bylaw

  • A detained protester is interviewed by police at an anti-police brutality demonstration earlier this month. Photo Pierre Chauvin

No arrests or charges of mischief were recorded at a silent vigil in response to police brutality Friday night outside Place des Arts—decidedly different than the short-lived and violent protest from two weeks ago which it was commemorating.

At least 150 demonstrators assembled at 8 p.m. bearing candles, with some groups moving out into traffic for a sit-in on Ste. Catherine St. W.

Parti Québécois MNA Daniel Breton spoke to protesters and journalists at the demonstration.

The recent enforcement of municipal bylaw P-6, which allows for the arrest of demonstrators participating in a protest without providing police with an itinerary, had him concerned, he said.

“Why am I worried? Because when I see the way which [demonstrations] go down and I see that people are saying the police are doing potentially reprehensible things, well I wanted to come down here,” he said.

Police presence was decidedly large, though no altercations took place between the protesters and police even after squads in riot gear appeared.

Protesters utilized group communication techniques like the human microphone, an amplification device of audience members repeating a message across a crowd.

The technique came to prominence for its use during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

When asked whether to march or stay in the street, the majority expressed favour in leaving the vigil site.

“It’s going to be a fun night,” said an organizer in response.

A march never took place, however, as demonstrators either gradually split from the crowd or remained at the site until police left at roughly 9 p.m.

The March 15 rally against police brutality was cut short by police, who made 226 arrests that day—some even before the march began.

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