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May 30, 2012
Original French Text: http://leglobe.ca/blog/2012/05/lettre-a-marc-parent-directeur-du-spvm/
[Transcription of text on ticket: Having participated or having been present at a gathering, parade or crowd that endangered peace, security or order in the public domain.]
The author of this letter, one of the people arrested by the SPVM [Montreal police force] during a demonstration on May 23, has asked to remain anonymous for personal and valid reasons that we cannot explain here. We spoke to them on the telephone and they sent us a copy of their ticket, which we have shared above.
The list of the losers in this conflict will be long. However, I believe that the SPVM will find itself at the top. While you are not THE people responsible for the social crisis which is currently hitting Montreal, this conflict will have cost you dearly. But you will have a lot of trouble playing the victim.
Listen to me well, I am not a “hater” of the police. To the contrary, I had always thought that the Montreal police were one of the most evolved in the world. I had generally had a favourable impression when an event concerning you was highlighted in the media. I was fairly suspicious of the allegations of abuse of power or police brutality and I always believed in the legitimate authority of the police force. But for me and for many other Montrealers, I am afraid that nothing is as it once was.
On Wednesday, May 23, I was trapped in a mass arrest that was underhanded and unpredictable, before which we were not given ANY possibility to disperse ourselves. We were more than 400. Students, activists, but also engineers, civil servants, older people, teachers, nurses, teenagers. Also, a dangerous woman in a wheelchair.
Like crooks, we had our hands tied behind our backs, and we embarked, escorted, to the boulevard Langelier, where we waited from more than 6 hours, crammed inside buses. Frank Zampino and his gang, who are awaiting criminal charges, were not subjected to this treatment!
It would be dishonest to say that we were mistreated. If we ignore the refusal to loosen the ties that were sometimes too tight, to permit others to preserve some of their dignity and to relieve themselves outside, and the “logistical impossibility” to give us anything to drink despite the heat, the police officers who were working on my bus were generally polite and courteous. Several were visibly uncomfortable in this unjust situation which they were merely executing. “Talk to the white collars, it’s them that make the decisions,” one of them advised me.
The day after my arrest, I took back my street in my neighbourhood, where no one ever demonstrates. The orchestrated attempt to intimidate demonstrators the night before did not work. We were more than 1000, tapping on our casseroles (pots and pans), defying Bill 78. At different moments, groups of young people threw themselves to the ground, their hands behind their heads, challenging your officers to arrest them. I asked one of them, who was 15 years old, to explain the gesture. He responded, “it’s all they know to do, to hit, pepper spray, and arrest.”
In the past few days, the nightly demonstrations have taken on the tone of family festivals. But they are all illegal. The tens of thousands of people in the streets are always running the risk of getting themselves arrested. But the population is tipping the scales and is mocking you. You will maybe have understood, it is your authority that we are questioning. The lack of discretion which the SPVM displayed on May 23 contributed to this.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.