Monday, May 28, 2012

Cops bang on our heads while we bang on our pots

I've joined the pot bangers in protest of Bill 78 but also against the police violence. I'm not in 100% agreement with the students but I can't get past the images of police pounding on these kids who are our sons and daughters.

The students have made some dumb moves: smoke bombs in the subways, pushing around other students who didn't agree with the strike, ignoring injunctions, and being unruly.



Yes, some students destroyed property, some made life inconvenient and some were strident. Temperance is not a quality associated with youth.

Video feeds, photos, stories are pouring in from  both French and English sources. Most show the police bullying unarmed citizens who are carrying nothing more dangerous than a red square.

It is deeply disturbing to watch these trained men and women dressed in protective gear, armed with pepper spray and billy clubs that push around young kids in their scrappy clothes and backpacks. Has a patch of red become that dangerous to the authorities?

Why do the students need this kind of policing?  For not being behaving properly? For not following orders? For being loud and unruly? For not taking no for an answer? For asking for too much? For making adult lives a tiny bit more inconvenient?

Who has been killed or maimed? Compare the student crimes to those of Wall Street, The Iraq War, Dow Chemical, Bhopal IndiaBP Oil, Gulf of Mexico or the Exxon, Valdez.

The students' behaviour is obnoxious but not life threatening. Do we need riot police banging sticks on their shield and shooting tear gas into crowds? Where are these dangerous criminals threatening the police? I see scared, stubborn, courageous and angry youth.

Police marching through the streets in riot gear is not usually done to protect human rights. Think Syria, New YorkChile, Argentina, Berlin, Ireland, South Africa, Guatemala, China's Tiananmen Square -- the list is endless.

Canada is not immune to becoming a police state. Look at Policing the right to protest: G20 Systemic Review - the report from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) about the excessive forced used by the Toronto Police during the G20 summit. The cops believed they were in the right even when being excessive.

I've gathered video taken from the Montreal protests. Some are from mainstream media, others are from student sources. In each video, the constant pounding you hear are the police banging their nightsticks against their shields  and the gunfire is actually cans of tear gas being automatically fired into crowds.

Watch these videos and decide for yourself? Has the Montreal police overstepped boundaries?

Get your pot ready -- just in case you end up agreeing with me.

Videos from the Montreal protests:

A compilation of events
Journalists pepper sprayed while covering the march