Before last Thursday’s anti-police brutality march began in earnest, police conducted searches on streets surrounding the march’s route.
Montreal police stated on Friday that 36 people were individually arrested during the demonstration, 190 were arrested en masse, and others – demonstrators and bystanders alike – were subject to searches.
McGill student Amy Miller was walking down St. Denis, approximately ten minutes away from the estimated 2,000-person demonstration, with Jean-Pier Goyer and Jean-Pascal Bergeron when police stopped them.
Goyer was holding a megaphone and Bergeron was carrying leg padding. Goyer’s backpack was searched while at least four officers surrounded him. Miller said that, prior to the search, police asked them if “we were looking for drugs.”
“They search the bags of the people they suspect,” said Goyer in French.
Miller said police did not approach her. “Not a single one of them have said anything to me,” she said.
“They stopped me without polite conversation, without any valid reason, hiding their license, hiding their name, which is illegal for the police,” Goyer remarked, adding that he found the situation to be “deplorable.”
He said that one of the officers gave his name when Goyer asked, but that the others refused.
One officer on the scene spoke to The Daily in French. “The law permits us, if we think a crime might be committed, to proceed to question people and verify that they are not dangerous.”
He added that he was not present when police initially approached Bergeron, Goyer, and Miller.
Two minutes later, ten police on bicycles surrounded and searched Julien Bronsard at the corner of Ontario and St. Denis. He said he asked police if they had closed the street. When the officer did not respond, Bronsard continued walking.
Bronsard was then grabbed by his backpack, pushed against the wall and frisked, while another officer searched his bag. “I spoke to him [the officer] and in his interpretation he [thought] I insulted him, and his colleagues told me to get lost. But that wasn’t true, I asked a question about what was going on,” he said.
“I’m a citizen, they’re the police. They have the right to intervene,” he added. “They did the normal police procedure.”