Police Injures Onlooker as Austerity Protest Concluded

A protest against austerity ended with intervention from police, leaving one uninvolved passerby with an injured ankle

Police in riot gear. Photo Shaun Michaud
Martine Parquette’s bandaged ankle that she said was injured by a police officer. Photo Shaun Michaud
Protester with a mask. Photo Shaun Michaud

A woman twisted her ankle and was left limping due to physical aggression from a police officer, toward the end of a protest against austerity Wednesday night in downtown Montreal.

Martine Parquette [left] being held by her friend because of her injured ankle. Photo Shaun Michaud

According to the police, no one was injured or arrested in the group of approximately 100 people. However, in front of the Copie Express on Sainte-Catherine St. East and Labrecque St., a police officer in riot gear, holding a shield and baton, pushed Martine Parquette, causing her to twist her left ankle.

“I wasn’t protesting. We were just walking through. We were going to a party at Le Belmont and this big cop just shoved me against the glass,” she said while her friend held her up.

She had to bandage the injured ankle and was assisted to the nearest metro station by her friend.

The protest was declared illegal by 9 p.m due to a lack of a planned itinerary and the usage of face masks, according to the police. For Christophe Bolduc, who participated in the protest, his mask was a scarf used to protect his face from the cold.

Bolduc was seen arguing with police about this fact as they asked him and others around him to remove their scarves from their mouths. The argument ended without any incident.

“They were saying, ‘Take off your mask,’ and stuff,” Bolduc said about the confrontation. “He was kind of holding me [and said], ‘If you don’t come with us, then you’ll be arrested and fined.’”

Police in riot gear almost immediately arrived at the protest’s outset. The original path began north on Berri St. with a left turn onto Ontario St. and then south on Rue Saint-Denis. Police with large riot shields blocked Sainte-Catherine St. West, so the protesters took the east direction.

Police in riot gear in front of protesters. Photo Shaun Michaud

A construction detour at Saint-Timothée St. led the group toward René Lévesque Boulevard East. Multiple police vans attempted to kettle the protesters on the main street, but they spontaneously reversed direction. On Wolfe St., the first dispersing of the protesters occurred as many began sprinting north.

They reconvened on Sainte-Catherine St. and headed eastward. Protesters picked up “projectiles” from constructions cones and debris around this point, according to the police. Some protesters were seen moving traffic signs and cones to block the path of oncoming police vehicles.

Additional police in riot gear caused the last, destabilizing dispersal around De Maisonneuve Boulevard East and Labrecque Street where Parquette was injured. The protest officially came to an end at approximately 10:45 p.m., according to the police.