Tuesday: the demonstrators courageously continue on

Miss Tick, Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 13:20


It was a tense tuesday, as much for policemen as for demonstrators. Yesterday was filled with "no so happy" events, the 340 arrestations decimating nearly a third of the mobilization troops and the "activist-chase" police operations, which concluded with the green zone intervention, shocked lot of people.

It was a tense tuesday, as much for policemen as for demonstrators. Yesterday was filled with "no so happy" events, the 340 arrestations decimating almost a third of the mobilization troops and the "activist-chase" police operations, which concluded with the green zone intervention, shocked lot of people.

An appointment was called for 10h00 this morning at Philips Square, on the corner Ste-Catherine and Union. Courage was obviously present! Because the group had got bigger and bigger up to approximately 500 persons when the walk began. The action plan was much of the same than yesterday: to disturb Montreal town center with a efficient, fast and protected snake walk.

It was also necessary to organise the walk in a way that wouldn't give the police the reasons to declare it "illegal". The police forces, from the beginning, were proceeding in a similar way to monday, announcing their intentions to manage the circulation on the megaphone, and their intolerance for any infractions. The policeman raised their alert level on the sight of masked protesters with helmets and "weapons" (heard from them this morning). They almost gave up to the tentation of stopping the action from beginning, but the command center preferred to wait for troubles to happen.

But these "troubles" never happened. The demonstrators went through the financial town center of Montreal in Zig-Zag with many direction changes. The police had much to do to maintain en efficient deployment and to close circulation axes to traffic. At all times, Montreal police in riot gear where ready to intervene within 30 seconds, following the walk from the back and from parallel streets in minibuses. The anti-riot squad of the Sureté du Québec was also deployed inside the security perimeter, and was also ready to intervene really fast.

If demonstrators' goal was to disturb Montreal town center and get out safe from the action, then they seem to work it out pretty well. But the ultimate success was to provoque a large police deployment in vain. Members of bicycle jam squad, who were protecting the group, were intercepted, but we still don't know if these has resulted in arrestation, which don't seem to be the case at the moment.

Later on, dispersion was called and an appointment was planed for 13h30 at the corner of Guy/Maisonneuve. Policemen and demonstrators took this opportunity to eat lunch and rest for a while, the police in their headquarter installed in the Bell Center, and the demonstrators here and around elsewhere in the city. The green zone, now established in the Lafontaine Park, have not planned any activities on this occasion, in fear of any repetition of the yesterday events. Only a couple of people went there, and some of them did taste police medicine, suffering an "abduction" type of arrest ( see the article on the subject).

When the walk took on again in the afternoon, same scenario than in the morning... lots of policemen following from behind and in parallel, the walk going about and around randomly in the city, but this time going mostly to the east up to its break up on the corner of Ste-Catherine/St-Laurent. At this point, where the spokesmen of the mobilization offered the choice to the crowd to continue to walk as they wish to. Most wanted to continue on, a new start for a new group which went almost directly toward the barricades in front of the Sheraton Center.

When the crowd arrived, with approximately 400 persons, the SPVM police that was guarding the security perimeter was promptly replaced by the anti-riot squad of the SQ. The demonstrators calmly installed themselves, sitting here and around from the fence to the middle of the Peel/René-Levesques intersection. Nothing really moved afterwards, for more than an hour, up to the arrival of a line of police from Peel, which stayed for 5 minutes, acting as a warning, while the SQ agents where taking on their gas masks. This short moment of tension seem to convince most of the crowd too slowly flee from the place, preventing the police deployment plan which apparently was supposed to push back the protesters to the Dorchester Square with the help of gasses and troops.

Watch the photo-reportage by following this link.

(traduced from neonyme's french article by Miss Tick)

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