Protest towards anti-black racism, police impunity in Montreal turns violent

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Revealed Sunday, Might 31, 2020 7:26PM EDT

Final Up to date Sunday, Might 31, 2020 10:09PM EDT

MONTREAL – A Montreal anti-racism protest demanding justice for a black Minnesota man who died following a police intervention final week degenerated into clashes between police and a few demonstrators on Sunday night time.

About three hours after a march that snaked its manner by way of downtown Montreal on Sunday afternoon had ended, Montreal police declared the gathering unlawful after they are saying projectiles had been thrown at officers who responded with pepper spray and tear fuel.

Tensions flared after the formal rally had concluded and a few demonstrators made their manner again to the start line, within the shadow of Montreal police headquarters downtown.

Home windows had been smashed, fires had been set and the state of affairs slid right into a sport of cat-and-mouse between pockets of protesters and police making an attempt to disperse them.

Demonstrators had gathered to denounce racist violence and police impunity – each within the U.S. and at house in Montreal.

George Floyd died in Minneapolis on Monday after pleading for air whereas a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck.

His dying has sparked nightly protests in main U.S. cities.


The Montreal rally was a solidarity gathering with American anti-racism activists, however organizers say it is usually a chance to specific their very own anger on the therapy of racialized individuals in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.

Among the names invoked included names of black males killed throughout Montreal police interventions in recent times.

“It is vital for everybody to be right here at this time in order that we are able to have a number of voices to say the George Floyd occasion shouldn’t be a singular occasion,” stated Marie-Livia Beauge, one of many occasion organizers. “It retains occurring and it is occurring right here in Montreal so to be right here collectively is to point out solidarity and denounce the injustice.”

The gathering drew Montrealers of all stripes and backgrounds, holding posters with slogans. Protesters chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can not breath” – what Floyd was caught on video saying.

Montreal protest

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers repeatedly advised individuals to unfold out, looking for a spot the place a two-metre distancing may very well be maintained.

Regardless of a majority of individuals sporting masks and organizers squirting hand sanitizer, the numbers attending made distancing not possible.

The situation adjoining to Montreal police headquarters was packed, with police carefully guarding the constructing that homes their brass.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public well being, advised Radio-Canada on Sunday night that he acknowledged the significance of the trigger however urged hand washing and for anybody exhibiting signs to let well being authorities know they attended the protest.

Across the begin of the demonstration, Montreal police took the bizarre step of issuing a tweet saying they had been dismayed by the dying of George Floyd.

Montreal protest

“Each the motion taken and the inaction of the witnesses current go towards the values of our group,” the pressure tweeted calling on for a peaceable demonstration.

“We respect the rights and the necessity of everybody to talk out towards this violence and can be by your facet to make sure your security,” the police stated.

The Montreal rally adopted one in Toronto on Saturday, which remained peaceable.

So too did Sunday’s rally in Vancouver, the place hundreds gathered exterior town’s artwork gallery, waving indicators and chanting their assist of the Black Lives Matter motion and Floyd.

Tristan Miura, who held up a skateboard painted with the phrases “injustice anyplace is a menace to justice in all places,” stated he hopes Vancouver will replicate on the protesters’ message.

“Vancouver has all the time been fairly liberal and really open about what they really feel is incorrect locally,” stated Miura. “I believe Vancouver, as an entire, is taking this time to replicate on previous points and stopping additional points from occurring.”

Others hoped it will spark a bigger response in Canada.

“I hope that is simply the beginning,” stated Likelihood Lovett. “I hope that is just the start of a bigger dialog and a bigger motion.”

Vancouver police stated there have been no arrests in the course of the occasion.

– with recordsdata by Nick Wells in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Might 31, 2020.