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NEWS: Montreal police use kettling tactic to arrest 450 in Montreal last night

The CBC reports, “Police in Montreal moved in on student protesters again Wednesday night, kettling them and making 450 arrests — the largest number in one night since the demonstrations began weeks ago. …In Quebec City, police (also) arrested 170 people under the provisions of Quebec’s controversial new protest law, known as Bill 78.”

“The demonstration (in Montreal) was declared illegal because protesters refused to give police their route in advance, one of the provisions of the new law. …Protesters snaked through the streets for more than three hours before police kettled them. Kettling is a police tactic widely used in Europe where riot police surround demonstrators and limit or cut off their exits. It has been widely criticized because it often results in the scooping up of innocent bystanders as well as rowdies. A recent report by Ontario’s police watchdog blasted Toronto police for their use of kettling during the G20 summit two years ago, saying they violated civil rights, detained people illegally and used excessive force.”

“Under Bill 78, those arrested can face a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence.”

On May 19, the Montreal Gazette reported, “The Council of Canadians denounced (Bill 78), calling it undemocratic, unconstitutional and repressive. ‘Just days after a stinging indictment of the widespread repression that took place in Toronto during the G20 (summit), the Charest government in Quebec seems intent on outdoing the largest violation of civil liberties in Canadian history with its introduction of Bill 78,’ it wrote in a statement calling on its members and supporters to sign the petition against the legislation.”

On May 22, Council activists (including Board member Abdul Pirani and political director Brent Patterson) marched with 250,000 people in Montreal protesting Bill 78, tuition hikes, environmental harm and austerity measures – and joined the march later that afternoon that defied Bill 78 by not submitting the route in advance to the police. CLASSE – Coalition large de l’Assocation pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante – described that march as “the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history”.

To see our blog opposing Bill 78, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15222. Our media release on it is at http://canadians.org/media/other/2012/18-May-12.html. The blog on the May 22 march is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15309. The petition opposing Bill 78 is at http://www.loi78.com/.