Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Sunny Sunday

Photo: François Roy, La Presse

A beautiful Sunday afternoon in Montreal. It was actually warm(ish). It was the day chosen by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality for their annual demonstration against (what else) police brutality in Montreal.

Yeah. Police brutality. The cops here are nasty mofos it would seem.

So what's a Collective to do to get its point across? Well stage a demonstration of course. A demonstration that obviously degenerates into vandalism (from the demonstrators) and violence (on both sides) and damn, you got your police brutality right there.

"See? See how brutal those damn cops are?"

Of course, breaking business windows and setting fire to garbage cans and breaking the windshields of citizens' cars is totally justified in such cases. Bystanders being representatives of the big bad state I guess... Whatever.

So, over 200 arrests, lots of vandalism, demonstrators throwing rotten fruit, rocks and other projectiles, cops wading in with tear gas and such. Basically it was a mess. A repetition of last year's mess, and the year before and so on back through the years.

I'm sure that the homeless kids of Montreal have a way different view of the police than I do in my cozy apartment. But um... police brutality? Dudes, you want to see police brutality? Go to the Middle East, or South America or Asia...

But here? Gimme a fucking break.

Granted, there are episodes - the death last summer of Freddy Villanueva in a Montreal North park and the RCMP incident where Robert Dziekanski was tazered to death at the Vancouver airport come to mind. However, I truly believe this is the exception rather than the norm.

Am I just becoming old and intolerant of the young 'uns and their questioning of authority? God I hope not. I think it's necessary to question authority, we've all questioned authority and ended up as well rounded, responsible adults for the most part.

But still and all, having travelled - perhaps not extensively, but a good amount nevertheless - I really believe that we have it good around here, and that a lot of people would love to have to deal with our level of police brutality.

Does that make incidents like the ones involving Freddy Villanueva or Robert Dziekanski ok? Absolutely not. These things should NOT happen. Ever.

Maybe I'm just a deluded old broad.


Big Brother said...

Definitely there are places we travelled to where I would not get on the bad side of the law... they can be really scary dudes.

furiousBall said...

it's sad when demonstrations become anything but peaceful.

Mr. Jazz said...

The only good thing about police brutality is the "brew".

Cheers ;-)

Ian Lidster said...

You and me both, my dear. It could be soooooooooooo much worse.

Jill said...

I can't help but think that those staging the protest would further their cause much more effectively by refraining from destroying other people's stuff during said protest. But that's just me....

P.S. I'm sure it really sucks to be homeless in Montreal during the winter. Maybe that's why they're all so cranky.

geewits said...

That's pretty stupid. That would be like running up to a movie star and grabbing their arm to demand an autograph just to prove that celebrities are rude.

Guillaume said...

I am not even sure the police should be blamed for Villanueva's death, as he was resisting arrest, and very violently (he tried to strangle one of the police officers). But yes, that manifestation was really stupid. Some young revolutionary wannabes just live in fairyland, where the eeeeviiiiil police is de facto fascist and every citizen part of "the system" which should be destroyed for...for what? I have more respect for the cops, who did a heck of a job against organised crime in the 90s-00s, than those pseudo-rebellious youth who just want to break stuff. They didn't get enough spanking when they were children.

david mcmahon said...

No, you're not deluded. Just realistic.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when it became the accepted wisdom that anything the cops did was corrupt and messed up. I never believed that, even when I was young... but then again, I've always kept my nose clean. Granted, the type of person drawn to a career with the police is more often than not full of macho posturing, but they also have to deal with a hell of a lot of crap day in and day out, so perhaps that's what's required. A bleeding heart do-gooder would get masticated out there. They've become afraid of the public. They never know who's going to try something disrespectful or dangerous. So they're always defensive. That doesn't usually come across very well. Yes, we should question authority and keep them accountable, but in a peaceful intelligent way. Good post, Jazz!!

Anonymous said...

First, I have no patience for violent protest.

However... Canada may be different, but in the US there have been plenty of instances of serious police brutality. Rodeny King springs to mind. There was Louima, in New York who was beaten sodomized, amd tortured by cops. Those are just two of the more publicized ones. Locally, I've heard lesser but still frightening stories. I'm not saying all cops are dirty, but I think it's a pretty serious problem. Some cops are sociopaths with a badge.

Voyager said...

I am appalled by some of the stories I hear about the conduct of the police. In my job I hear about many more of these than the media reports. But violent demonstration is just senseless. And useless.

Jazz said...

BB - Yeah, Ecuador comes to mind.

Furball - And it does nothing to help get their point across.

Mr. Jazz - Bring me a glass of wine

Ian - It could. It could also no doubt be better. But I have no doubt that it won't be until the violent protests stop.

Jill - You'd think eh? And yeah, homeless in winter in montreal has got to seriously suck.

Geewits - You're so good at nailing the perfect image.

Guillaume - I got a kick out of the kid wearing a scarf with the communist hammer and sickle. Does he really believe police brutality would decrease if we lived in a communist regime? Ah idealism, I seem to remember that from somewhere way back in the mists of time.

David - I guess, though I'd venture to say some would think me deluded about a helluva lot of stuff. :-)

XUP - Maybe it became accepted wisdom back with the hippies? (Never trust authority, never trust anyone over 30) And I know I sure as hell wouldn't want to work as a cop. It's a hellish job. Apparently with one of the highest rates of depression and suicide.

Citizen - Policing is definitely the career of choice if you are a sociopath... I'm not sure it's any better in Canada, there is surely a problem. Freddy Villanueva is not the first case in Montreal where a citizen dies. But I can't believe the majority of cops are complete assholes. I've known a few and though, as XUP says, they do tend towards the macho, they are kind and good men. Could they be the only ones?

Voyager - I really don't think you can change anything by throwing rocks and bottles. It's just not the way to go.

Suldog said...

Peaceful protests are almost always more effective. The results sometimes take longer to show...