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Isabelle Porter June 20, 2012
Quebec City’s new regulation on protests caused quite a stir yesterday at City Hall and led to an arrest for assault yesterday afternoon.
“Charest! Labeaume! Same fight! ” shouted the protesters in the lobby of City Hall around 2pm yesterday. For a good half-hour, there were thirty or so people blocking the entrance of the building to protest against the new regulation restricting protests.
Shortly before, at the end of the vote, one of the protesters was arrested for assaulting a city councilor, Steve Verret.
In a video broadcasted by the network RDI, we see the mayor’s chief of staff, Louis Côté, pushing the protester to protect the mayor Régis Labeaume. Furious, the young man storms out, bumping into Councillor Verret on his way. The police handcuffed him right afterward.
Staff note: In order to shed light on the issue of preventative arrests, here is an article that appeared one year ago.
Louis Baribeau, Lawyer May 2011
Original French Text: http://www.barreau.qc.ca/pdf/journal/vol43/201105.pdf - p.11
Canada’s recent admission that preventative arrests were carried out during G20 in Toronto when no crime had been committed questions the legality of the practice.
On November 15th 2010 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States asked Canada to explain the allegations of human rights violations during G20 in Toronto in June 2010, when1105 of some 25 000 protesters were arrested. It asked in particular which measures Canada had adopted following the 2006 recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) to respect the right to peacefully participate in demonstrations of social protests and “in which only those who have committed criminal offences during the course of the demonstrations are arrested.”
Arrests to disperse the crowd
In its January 31st 2011 response to the IACHR’s questionnaire, Canada confirms that among the 10 000 people peacefully demonstrating on June 26 2010 there were a few hundred individuals dressed in black who threw objects toward police officers. “Instead of attempting to penetrate the crowd and to arrest this sub-group of individuals behaving aggressively, a measure that could have caused injury to people who were protesting calmly and to innocent spectators, the police decided that the crowd had to be dispersed and that those refusing to do so had to be put in preventative detention in order to put an end to the breech of the peace and to prevent other anticipated violations,” Canada states in its response.
Canada’s admission of having carried out preventative arrests disobeys the 2006 recommendation of the HRC, confirms Dominique Peschard, president of the Ligue des droits et libertés, also speaking in the name of the Clinique internationale de défense des droits humains de l’UQAM (CIDDHU) and the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme in a letter to the IACHR dated February 2011. According to him, Canada’s interpretation of the police’s power to arrest “effectively violates the right of each person to peacefully participate in demonstrations of social protest”.
Marie-Ève Sylveste, Professor, Civil Law section, University of Ottawa
June 12, 2012
PHOTO CAPTION: Montreal’s police force made 34 arrests deemed “preventative” over the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend.
The City of Montreal’s police service (SPVM) made 34 “preventative” arrests this weekend surrounding the events of Montreal’s Grand Prix, as well as augmented identity controls and searches in the metro and onsite at the Grand Prix.
In so doing, the SPVM has suggested that arrests can be made in virtue of article 31 of the Criminal Code without them ending up in charges. Not only are we of the opinion that the Criminal Code does not allow for preventative arrests, but we are also very concerned to observe that police officers have been incessantly multiplying their recourse to such measures in Canada over recent years, and as such, have acted as though it’s the most normal thing in a democratic society.
Are we witnessing the rise of a preventative state?
Catherine Lalonde & Raphaël Dallaire-Ferland
Are the identity checks in the metro for wearers of red squares we’ve been hearing about since the beginning of Montreal’s Grand Prix real? Are those who show their opposition to the tuition hike now getting searched, taken to the nearest police station, as people have been saying on social networks for the last few hours? Saturday, two journalist from the Devoir tried to bring the situation to light by putting red squares on their chests before going into the metro station. The result? They were soon questioned and held for investigation. “We do just that, criminal profiling,” a Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM) agent then said while searching our journalists.
Saturday, 1:50 PM: under the bright sun, the journalists Raphaël Dallaire Ferland and Catherine Lalonde meet up at Place Émilie-Gamelin. Carrying backpacks, they each put on a red square, she adds a black one. He wears a red scarf around his neck, loosely, that leaves his face bare. She carries two big white pieces of cardboard. Signs? Not even, not posters either. Just two big blank pieces of cardboard. Off to Berri-UQAM station.
In the metro, before getting to the platform, Raphaël gets stopped. Four police officers ask to search his pack “for security reasons.” The SPVM officers are polite. “We’re searching everyone,” says Agent Norbert, “because yesterday people threw flaming beer bottles at us. We even searched a guy with a hockey bag.” Yet Catherine passed without a problem.
On the platform, a few minutes later, our journalists, still unidentified, ask a half-dozen people, of all ages, carrying bigger bags than theirs, if they got searched. Five say no. The only one who had the same experience is a young man, twenty-something, who was wearing a red square when he was intercepted.
Clinique Juridique Juripop, May 18, 2012
The original French text can be found here: http://www.juripop.org/medias/nouvelles/projet-de-loi-78-un-veritable-manifeste-contre-les-libertes-fondamentales-de-tous-les-citoyens-quebecois/
FOR IMMEDIATE CIRCULATION
Bill 78: A veritable manifesto against the fundamental freedoms of all citizens of Quebec.
Quebec, May 18, 2012 – The Juripop Legal Clinic denounces both the spirit and the effects of Bill 78 which creates a form of criminalization of the right to protest and flouts the fundamental liberties protected by the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and Freedoms, namely by renouncing three guarantees of our free and democratic society: freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association. The Clinic’s lawyers are currently working towards building a judicial contestation of the future law.
In fact, Bill 78 deprives Quebecois of their fundamental right to peacefully express their opinions in the place of their choosing and forbids any kind of spontaneous exercise of that freedom of expression or of peaceful assembly. By also bestowing to educational institutions the power to destroy a student association by unilaterally taking away its right to collect student fees, this document brings Quebec back decades and goes against all rights that naturally follow from community life.
“This is a bill whose measures are discretionary and could only ever be applied arbitrarily. Who will decide if a group of ten people or more [amended to fifty or more] violates the law? In what circumstances? For what cause? Of what age? This bill is not only ensuring the free access to educational institutions. It forbids protesters from being less than fifty meters from all quebecois places of learning, renounces the autonomy of universities, overturns the burden of proof, and threatens students and all Quebecois with fines of up to $250 000. All this while renouncing the primary function and the role of student associations and transforming each and every citizen, student and parent into a police officer”, declared Marc-Antoine Cloutier, founding president and general director of the Juripop Legal Clinic, an organization working towards greater access to justice and the advancement of the law.
The Quebec Bar Association’s Position
The Juripop Legal Clinic salutes and recalls the Quebec Bar Association’s most recent position which straightforwardly invites the government to go back to the negotiation table rather than forcing the adoption of a special law, all while respecting Quebec’s courts of justice. The Clinic is also glad to read the Bar’s comments about wishing to work on a new legislative framework inspired by orders prevailing in matters of labour law. “Rather than acting as though student associations have never existed, adjourning the semesters of thousands of students and weakening the social climate even more, the justice minister should assume his responsibilities and act as the protector of the civil liberties inscribed in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, of which he is responsible,” Mr.Clouter concluded.
More than five law professors and ten lawyers, mandated by collegial and university student federations, have been working nonstop tonight and will continue to do so through the day, alongside the Juripop Legal Clinic team and lawyer Félix-Antoine Dumais-Michaud, in order to be capable of rapidly addressing the tribunals following the passing of the special law. Each and every citizen is invited to take part in this massive contestation through the following website: www.loi78.com
The lawyers of the Juripop Legal Clinic have represented numerous student associations challenged by recent injunctions. In addition, they act directly on the campuses in order to promote their respect. The organization has been working towards greater access to justice since 2009.
For more information:
Florence Bouchard Santerre
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.