Police Go All Out on International Day Against Police Brutality March

Annual Protest Drew Out the Full Breadth of the SPVM

Cop smiles at protestors while holding a pepper spray canister. Photo Alexandre Denis
Protesters held signs reading “ϟϟPM Police Politique” and “La police tue, en prison et dans la rue.” Photo Alexandre Denis

“Very fun,” described a police officer, discussing his new grenade launcher with a colleague at the end of the evening outside Vendôme metro station. Fortunately, he didn’t have the chance to play with it.

On March 15, the SPVM—the largest urban police force per capita in Canada — maintained its annual tradition of rolling out their full might to shut down protesters on the International Day Against Police Brutality. This year, the rallying point was Girouard Park in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the neighbourhood of Nicous D’André Spring.

Spring was killed by Bordeaux prison guards while illegally detained on Christmas Eve 2022. 

A diverse crowd of all ages marched up Sherbrooke St. W., chanting “Justice for Nicous” and “Release the tape.” Spring’s family has been demanding the release of any footage leading up to his death.

Less than an hour after its scheduled start, police declared the protest an unlawful assembly after a window of the Royal Bank of Canada branch on the corner of Sherbrooke and Hampton Ave. was broken. A window of the Provigo on Sherbrooke and Cavendish Blvd. was also broken later in the march.

As the evening progressed, the crowd thinned but police presence grew aggressively. Bike cops made way for riot cops armed with pepper spray as police closed in on protesters. By this point, families with children appeared to have left the march. 

The crowd felt lost as it turned south on Cavendish. Protesters yelled “mousetrap!” as they walked towards the underpass leading to St-Jacques Street before opting for higher ground, heading the wrong way down de Maisonneuve Blvd., zig-zagging through NDG back to the march’s start. 

Police violently shoved protesters off the sidewalk and into parked cars on residential side streets. At least one protester was hit with pepper spray. 

The protest fizzled out around Vendôme metro station, where many protesters descended into the metro flanked by cops brandishing batons. One officer quipped “see you on May Day,” another annual protest they heavily repress. 

Police lingered, harassing people, ordering them into the metro or onto the sidewalk as they occupied Vendôme. The cavalry trotted around, showing off their new Clydesdales. Between 2017 and 2021, the SPVM spent $18 million more than budgeted on overtime. Slowly, what seemed like the entirety of the SPVM started packing it up after once again brutalizing the March Against Police Brutality.