The anti-police brutality march was held yesterday in Montreal as it has been for the past fourteen years and just as they have for the past fourteen years, Montreal’s media reported on it, focusing mainly on violence on the part of the protesters.
This year, though, something was different. Amidst all the coverage of 100 arrests, protesters burning wood and such, there has been some mention in the press of police infiltrators into the protest. Now, agent provocateurs in protest crowds are nothing new, in fact they’re probably not a new occurrence in anti-police brutality marches also. What’s new is that we’re hearing about it.
While most media is still toeing the line when it comes to coverage of this protest, at least a few sources mentioned the fact that some undercover cops were chased away by protesters while others acknowledged complaints of the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) that police sabotaged their march by arresting their communications coordinator right off the bat.
I saw a report on TVA today that kept mentioning troublemakers dressed all in black. One wonders if these are the troublemakers they were referring to:
Ever since a group of police agent provocateurs were outed on YouTube during the protests at Montebello a few years ago, there has been more media interest in agent provocateurs and police involvement in making a protest look disorganized and violent. Now, it’s starting to rub off on the anti-police brutality coverage.
There’s even a video of the cops being routed out by the crowd:
Another thing we’re getting now is police statements defending their actions. Namely, their claim that they declared this protest illegal after receiving a projectile. It’s interesting that the cops can declare something that is against them illegal when they are supposed to, in theory, be enforcing the laws rather than making them up.
After last year’s much more public daytime demonstration where 200 people were arrested and protesters, including musicians and quite a few others who aren’t your typical black block types, were teargassed, much more critical attention is being paid to how police handle this event. Still, I happened upon little tidbits of info that should have been given wider coverage.
I found this McGill Daily article that mentions how journalists were rounded up as well and that cops shut the metro’s green line down just before 5pm to prevent more protesters from showing up. They cite the Gazette for this last piece of important info and when I went to the Gazette site to verify it, it stumbled upon this article. The writing itself isn’t so biased, but the comments are.
You can’t, at this point, add additional comments and those that are there all speak from a knee-jerk reactionary anti-protester, pro-cop perspective. I tried finding some that disagreed but couldn’t. I did, however, find quite a few comments that were deleted by the moderator. Is the Gazette playing favorites?
True, a closer look is needed by the press in a lot of areas, but the anti-police brutality march is one subject where journalists need to be extra vigilant. Where else would the cops have more of a vested interest in making protesters look bad than a march specifically designed to show the side of the police that their PR department doesn’t want people to see?
One can only hope that the picture becomes clearer and marches like these help to curb police brutality. The fact that some critical coverage is emerging is a good thing. The fact that it took so long, well, that’s just brutal.