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Julie Théorêt June 12, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/justice/352188/pourquoi-m-a-t-on-arretee
Sunday, I took the subway with a friend to Île Sainte-Hélène. We arrived around 10:40AM. There were a lot of police at the Berri-UQAM station, but we told ourselves that because of the F1, that was normal.
We wanted to picnic near Place de la Fontaine or go to La Ronde, we weren’t yet decided. We were thinking about what we were going to do when I saw a group of red square wearing young people sitting on the steps near the fountain, facing the subway exit. I leaned in to ask if there was a protest planned. A policeman on a bicycle stopped behind me, almost causing me to fall face-first down the steps. He told the group that they were suspected of wanting to vandalize or cause trouble.
I tried to explain to the policeman that I was asking the young girl a question and that I did not know them, but he didn’t want to listen. Another policeman asked us for our ID and to search our bags. I gave my driver’s license and opened my purse and picnic basket. There was obviously nothing signalling that I was there to cause trouble, but since I was close to the group and was talking to them, I was supposedly with them.
We were surrounded. I ask if I could go in the shade, I am told that I was not in the shade when they stopped me and that I would stay where I was. We wait. A policeman tells us that we will be asked questions and that they will escort us to the subway. Nobody specifies that we will be handcuffed and held for several hours under crushing heat and that we would be released much later.
Half an hour later, we are finally escorted to an area near the Biosphere. We are put in the shade, handcuffed, and wait. They come get us one by one…
My friend is taken, I specify that I am with him, but I am told we’re all going to pass. There are only three people with me and I see the bus leave. I begin to panic a bit. I am told that the bus is sent a little bit further and that we will join them on foot.
We walk towards the pool and wait for the bus. When it arrives, it is empty. I panic a little more. They but the bus in the shade and all four of us finally get on the bus. It is hot, there is no air conditioning. It is 1:15PM.
My eyes begin to itch because of allergies. I am given the Benadryl in my bag. I specify that I also have antibiotics. They only ask at what time I have to take them… I answer: 8:00PM. I tell them I have a urinary infection, but I don’t think they understand.
There is a guy next to me who asks if he can go to the bathroom, he is told no. With my condition, the physician and the pharmacist told me that I needed to drink a lot of water and go to the bathroom often. I find myself in a dilemma: ask to drink water and not be able to go to the bathroom or not drink and not be too sure what will happen. When I finally ask for water, it’s already too late – I was too advanced in my dehydration. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach.
I say that I’m going to be sick, I am taken out of the bus, and I vomit what’s left of my breakfast five hours earlier. I throw up four times. It’s after the second time that they decide to take off my handcuffs with a knife because they don’t have the pincers to remove them. It’s extremely painful.
They finally call an ambulance. I continue to throw up what little I have in me. I’m still dizzy.
The ambulance finally arrives 30 minutes later. It’s almost 3:00PM. I sit on the gurney. When we finally leave, the paramedic asks the police if I am still under arrest, a policeman answers that I will be released. I am put into the ambulance. I say that I don’t really want to go to the hospital, that it’s probably just heat stroke and extreme dehydration. One of the paramedics tells me I have two choices: the hospital or prison, and that the hospital is a free pass given my condition. I panic a bit despite the fact that the policeman says I will be set free. So en route to the General Hospital…
After a few hours, they find that I had suffered from dehydration and that I’d surely gotten a good case of heat stroke… Thank you Montreal Police Department for having kept us for many hours while we hadn’t done anything. I look young and I have the bad luck of having red hair… I was not wearing a red square.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.