Article originally published by Vice Canada.
Photo by Alan Harrington.
Members of Montreal’s Aboriginal community hope a new agreement with the Montreal police will help reshape their relationship with the city’s cops.
Signed on Thursday, the agreement commits the Montreal police to new practices to better serve the Aboriginal community in Montreal. Elements range from establishing an Aboriginal advisory committee to the Montreal police force (SPVM) to, in a first for municipal police in Canada, develop a protocol for addressing the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women.
“Our people have inherited a legacy of historical trauma and racism. Through imposed treaties and the Indian Act we lost our land, followed by 200 years of residential schools where our language and culture were practically eliminated. This collaboration will allow the SPVM to gain a better understanding of Aboriginal realities, through education and cultural awareness training,” said Nakuset, the co-chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network (MUACSN), which developed the agreement. She signed the agreement on Thursday, along with SPVM Chief Marc Parent.
Continue reading Montreal Cops Sign Landmark Agreement to Improve Relations with Aboriginal Community
Originally published by the Montreal Media Co-op.
Photo: Darren Ell.
MONTREAL—As the city of Montreal tightens its belt-buckle and is cutting budgets, two Montrealers who are challenging the city’s regulations around demonstrations are questioning the amount of resources the city is putting in to defend the bylaws.
“It seems like there is room for austerity measures around everything except repression,” said Julien Villeneuve, better-known as Anarchopanda, in an interview.
Documents obtained by Villeneuve and Jaggi Singh, both plaintiffs in their own separate court challenges against municipal bylaw P-6, show that the city has decided to turn to private lawyers in order to defend the regulation. The documents were provided to the Montreal Media Co-op for review by Singh and Villeneuve.
Continue reading Montreal spends $110,000 on private lawyers to fight challenge to anti-protest bylaw
This article was originally published by Vice Canada.
Photos by Keith Trace.
In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious: if you project 20-foot-tall anti-cop images on the Montreal police headquarters, they will try and mess with your shit.
Which is exactly what happened when the Illuminator Art Collective pulled up in their discreet white cargo van, flicked on their gas generator, turned the manual crank, and popped out their projector. The silhouette of a protester holding a sign reading “Police partout, justice nulle part” (police everywhere, justice nowhere) appeared on the imposing downtown Montreal building.
It was 11:15 PM on a quiet Sunday night—a few police cars had rolled by earlier, but the street was empty. The group in the van was tense, expecting an immediate reaction from the police, but as none came, they all relaxed. Hugo Genes, one of the Illuminator crew members decked out in their “Project & Serve” shirts, was on the roof, taking his time to adjust the image for the perfect photo op. It didn’t matter that no one was really around to see it. It’s great to get the crowds, the team from New York City told me, but when they can get a good shot on a quiet street, the pictures they take can still reach millions over social media.
Continue reading These Artist-Activists Projected Anti-Police Brutality Images on Montreal Police Headquarters
This piece was originally published by VICE Canada.
The 2012 Quebec student strike has left many legacies in the province: from a resurgent social media ready to capture police wrongdoings, to ongoing local neighbourhood assemblies, to debates on whether a 3 per cent tuition fee indexation was actually a victory in the end. But one of the most enduring, and possibly counterintuitive, has been the crackdown on protests in the province’s largest – and most active – city.
Two years later, Montreal police continue to carry out mass arrests and to dole out huge fines, backed by laws brought in and popularized during the strike. As the number of arrests continued to rise, though, civil liberties advocates have increased their push to see the laws thrown out. Over the past 24 months, challenges to two of the most controversial laws have been weaving through the courts, and class action filings continue to pile up.
“We see a complete lack of interest among politicians to even discuss the issue,” says Julien Villeneuve. A college philosophy teacher by trade, Villeneuve became known for donning a panda suit during protests, giving out hugs, and doing his best to rally people to the cause of accessible education and the right to protest. His alter-ego ofAnarchopanda was born. While the strike ended, he’s one of many who has continued to fight for the right to protest in Montreal.
Continue reading Montreal’s Controversial Anti-Protest Laws Have Led to a Bunch of Class-Action Lawsuits
Originally published by Rabble.ca.
The Montreal lawyer who has become synonymous with the fight against police repression during last spring’s student strike in Quebec is facing a whole new battle.
In early July, Denis Poitras declared personal bankruptcy. He was immediately disbarred, as per the rules of the Barreau du Québec, the province’s professional organisation for lawyers.
He is now working to regain the right to practice the work that he loves. He isn’t doing it alone though: on August 5, a fundraising and support campaign was launched to help him raise the money needed to get him out of bankruptcy and back to work.
“The idea of the campaign is not to place the onus of the debt on Denis’ backers,” said Arij Riahi, a recent graduate of the Bar who was planning on doing her articling with Poitras, but who is now working on the campaign. “After the bankruptcy was announced, many people expressed their support and were eager to help out. So, we did what we do best: we organized. The campaign was the result of that support and solidarity.”
Continue reading Activists organize to support Denis Poitras, Montreal’s ‘movement lawyer’