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P6, marching in a circle & fundamental rights

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

A letter the Montréal Gazette has yet to publish:

At an anti-austerity protest on Saturday I was arrested, searched, locked in a claustrophobia inducing paddy wagon and all I got was akin to a traffic ticket. I was accused of contravening Montréal city bylaw article P-6. Imagine if the police treated speeding drivers the same way!

But while the police have used this bylaw passed at the height of the 2012 protests to strike fear in individual demonstrators, P6 has primarily been used to infringe on our collective right to assembly. It has given the police a powerful tool to criminalize demonstrations. Prior to receiving the P6 bylaw infraction about 250 of us marched in a big loop around Place Émilie-Gamelin because the riot squad blocked us from traveling West, then north, then East etc. After marching in a circle for a while protesters chose an impromptu sit in. Not long thereafter the police said that we had to return to the park, effectively eliminating our right to demonstrate.
As the police corralled the crowd an Officer pushed me and told me to move more quickly. I responded by telling him to F off for which he pulled me out of the march, arrested me, sequestered my belongings, encaged me in a paddy wagon and then released me with a $640 ticket.

The message I’ve taken from the city and province’s response to the student led movement is that one has the right to demonstrate, but if you grow to become a real threat to the powers that be they will criminalize your fundamental rights.

 


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yves engler (yves engler)
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