Here are two statements on the brutal IWD attacks on young women by police in Montreal. These statements were posted on March 15, the 11th International Day Against Police Brutality. Jaggi Singh, who was there with his sisters to celebrate IWD, was arrested during the march.
ENOUGH!! A Woman’s Place Is NOT at Home!
– Montreal Women Opposed to Police Brutality –
On Thursday, March 8th — International Women’s Day — Montreal police brutally attacked and injured three women who came to the aid of Jaggi Singh when the police arrested him at the annual Women’s Day celebration in Montreal.
As the state spins it, Jaggi Singh is to blame for everything! We see it very differently. The arrest of Jaggi Singh and the brutalization of the three women are inextricably linked. Jaggi Singh was there to celebrate International Women’s Day with his sisters and got arrested. As women we are very familiar with being blamed for our own victimization — the woman who was raped “asked for it,” what was she doing out there anyway? Why was she dressed like that? Milia Abrar, who was killed in Montreal in 1998, had challenged traditions: she asked for it. The missing women, mostly Indigenous sisters, along the ‘Highway of Tears’ asked for it. The women at École Polytechnique asked for it. The woman whose partner killed her asked for it. The women who were brutalized by the police on 8th March asked for it!
In Montreal on March 8th, 2007, we were criminalized and brutalized for demanding equality. But we served notice long ago: ENOUGH!
What happened in Montreal on March 8th, 2007 must be condemned. As women we must join other Montrealers marking the International Day Against Police Brutality. Be there in numbers.
The days when women were to be seen and not heard and when a woman’s place was in the home have gone forever. We will not be silenced, we will not be intimidated by police brutality and we will stand beside Jaggi Singh and all those who walk together with us in our on-going struggle for gender equality!
Police Brutality and Arrest at
International Women’s Day Demonstration
– Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, March 10, 2007 –
During the evening of March 8, 2007, Montreal police officers brutalized people and arrested Jaggi Singh at the end of an International Women’s Day demonstration. It was organized by the Coalition of Women of Diverse Origins who have been organizing protests since March 8, 2002.
The first people to come on site had gathered at Berri-UQAM metro station. They were approached by two policemen asking them if they had come for the demonstration commemorating International Women’s Day and “invited” to go outside. At this point, there were about fifteen police cars close to the site. The supervisor of Station 21 was parked on the sidewalk in patrol car 21-86, and about ten “intervention cruisers” (marked #72) were parked on Berri Street just west of Berri Square. Then, the same police duo went inside Berri-UQAM metro station, towards the ticket booths. The two police officers proceeded to approach anyone corresponding to the profile of a protester, asking if they were indeed protesters. Once they could establish that they were, the police told them that there were “only 4 people” at the metro exit, with the obvious goal of discouraging them from participating in the demonstration and inciting them to leave. The tone was set!
The demonstrators came out of the metro station and after the first speech the supervisor of Station 21 declared through a megaphone in his vehicle that the march had to take De Maisonneuve Boulevard. Nevertheless, the demonstration left and embarked upon St-Catherine Street, heading west.
Upon arriving at Phillips Square at the corner of St-Catherine and Union streets, the demonstrators stopped to listen to speeches on women’s struggles at home and abroad. Meanwhile, a dozen police officers got out of their vehicles with their nightsticks in hand and formed a line blocking St-Catherine Street towards the west. A woman police officer in a cruiser marked “circulation” said to the officers: “Come on! Let’s go and get them!” Most of the officers were arrogant, were not wearing their badges, and refused to identify themselves even though they’re supposed to be polite, wear a visible piece of identification and identify themselves on demand according to the Police Ethics Code.
The demonstration then headed back east on St-Catherine towards Berri Square. At Phillips Square, an officer talking on a cell phone told the supervisor that he should check on his computer to see if an individual had broken his probation. As the demonstration made its way east along St-Catherine towards Berri Square, two uniformed officers followed the march from each side of the sidewalk, watching Jaggi Singh closely.
Once the crowd was between Clark and St-Laurent streets, one officer declared on his cruiser’s megaphone that the demonstrators had to march on the sidewalk. Part of the crowd of demonstrators, including Jaggi Singh, got onto the sidewalk. The rest of the demonstrators continued in the street, even though there were less people than at Phillips Square.
Once the demonstration arrived between Sanguinet and St-Denis streets, a dozen or so officers arrived running on the north side of Sanguinet, then on the north side of the sidewalk of St-Catherine Street at the corner of St-Denis. One officer said, “Where the hell did he go?” Another officer arriving from the east recognized Jaggi, who was walking calmly on the sidewalk, and told the others. An unidentified officer who wasn’t wearing his badge took a running jump and tackled another demonstrator to the ground, finding himself on top of her after taking her down. The same officer then turned around to another female demonstrator walking on the sidewalk behind him punching her at least three times, once in the solar plexus and once in the face, leaving her bleeding from the mouth. At the same time, another officer by the name of Doyon hit another female demonstrator in the rib-cage at least once with his club and threw her to the ground. They proceeded to surround and arrest Jaggi. Two officers, one with a retractable nightstick in hand, also pushed a demonstrator against a parked car and tried to intimidate him by saying, “Well?! You’re not that tough when you’re all alone, huh?!” Most of the police officers were not wearing their badges, had their clubs in hand and showed an attitude of contempt towards the protestors. These officers were from Station 21 as well as probably from the intervention squad.
Following the arrests and acts of brutality committed by the officers against a peaceful demonstration whose goal was to denounce violence and abuse against women around the world, the demonstrators began entering the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) while the Garda (private security firm) were preparing to block the doors. About eight police officers remained at the entrance of UQAM. A bit later, a police officer was seen inside UQAM with a Garda agent.
Jaggi was charged with breach of conditions from his last arrest in November just prior to a speech by Stephen Harper at the Montreal General Hospital. He was released under the condition that he not participate in any demonstration deemed to be “non-peaceful and illegal” and to leave a protest that became non-peaceful and illegal. He appeared the following afternoon (Friday, March 9) at the Municipal Court, in front of a judge. Unfortunately, the crown prosecutor was Cloutier, the same prosecutor for the demonstration against the G-20 in October of 2000, in which Jaggi is representing himself, where the case is presently on appeal at the Quebec Superior Court. Cloutier claimed that Jaggi had broken his conditions, that he was an habitual offender and that it was in the “public interest” not to release him, otherwise the public would lose their confidence in the justice system, which met with the judge’s approval. As a result, he is being held at Rivières-des-Prairies. [On March 13 Jaggi Singh was released on $1000 bail – Ed. note]
Jaggi has already been arrested at least ten times, and has often spent time behind bars, including 17 days after the Summit of the Americas in 2001, but to date he has not been found guilty of any crime and as a result, is being held in preventive detention. Since the justice system has not been able to legally condemn him to a prison sentence, the abuse of power by the police and the Crown target him in a harassing and discriminatory manner. We invite you to support him and demand his unconditional and immediate release!
The COBP denounces yet another case of police brutality and political repression, which comes one week prior to the 11th Day Against Police Brutality, March 15 2007, in which you are all invited to demonstrate at 5 pm at Snowdon metro.
Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)
514-859-9065 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.cobp.ath.cx