Two demonstrations, which started at 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. respectively this morning, ended in 71 demonstrators being arrested, including a camera operator from Concordia’s campus-community television station CUTV.
Throughout the morning three people sustained injuries, one of which was a McGill student.
The McGill student, who wished to remain anonymous, was transported to Notre-Dame hospital and treated for a fractured right forearm. The student will undergo surgery tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. as a result of the injury.
“They have to do surgery, otherwise my elbow will lock up forever. It’s not the sort of fracture that can just be set,” he said. “They said I should be good after three months of physiotherapy.”
The student said he was hit by a police officer’s shield. “This officer threw me down onto the ground from my back […] and I used my arms and elbows to stop my face from hitting the ground,” he said.
“As I was on the ground, I couldn’t get up, so the riot police was kicking me in my back, thigh and my butt. I eventually found a way to roll myself over and get up, and I ran to join other students who were then kettled,” he continued. After twenty minutes in the kettle, he asked police to see a medic. Multiple sources confirmed that the process of arresting demonstrators took approximately two hours.
“They took my information, they told me I would receive in the mail a ticket for mischief, but I haven’t gotten that yet,” he said.
The student told The Daily that, after seeing his X-rays, the doctor treating him informed him that she would file a report for police brutality so “that report will be pulled up and used as evidence.”
“She, of her own volition, came in and gave me a big speech about how she’s going to file this thing, and she told me the process that I should go through so that I can hopefully get justice,” he said.
As a part of the ongoing call for economic disruptions by the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), the temporary coalition formed by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), students assembled for two actions.
One action had about 100 people, and gathered in Square Victoria at 7:30 a.m. Demonstrators from the 7:30 a.m. action entered the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel for a brief period of time. A second, smaller group gathered in Phillips Square at 8 a.m.
Police declared both demonstrations illegal around 8:30 this morning. The SPVM tweeted that two announcements for demonstrators to disperse had been given “after mischief occurred” in the Fairmont hotel.
Reports from demonstrators who gathered for the 8 a.m. action were unclear on the grounds for which police announced that the demonstration was illegal.
“We chanted two or three chants […] I have no idea why, I guess maybe they associated us with the other protest, because we hadn’t done anything yet. We blocked a street, but besides that nothing had happened,” said one McGill student who wished to remain anonymous and was present at the 8 a.m. action.
The McGill student who injured his arm had been part of the 8 a.m. action. He explained that the two demonstrations merged seemingly unintentionally.
“We were declared illegal, and we did not know why so we started turning around, we were very scared. There were a lot of police, and we see that there’s another huge march, and this was the other march [which met at 7:30 a.m.] that caused the damage in the hotel,” he said.
The 7:30 a.m. action had left Victoria Square marching north, and some demonstrators entered the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel and disrupted a room reportedly set for an event.
According to reports from students who entered the hotel and police reports, tables were overturned, a vase was broken, and display cabinets were tampered with. The SPVM tweeted as demonstrators entered and exited the hotel between 8:16 a.m. and 8:22 a.m.
According to SPVM media relations agent Daniel Lacoursière, an altercation occurred in which two security agents sustained injuries. He said that one of the two security agents were transported to hospital. Further information concerning the altercation was unavailable from SPVM media relations as of Wednesday night. A representative from the hotel was unavailable to speak with The Daily. No other details are known to The Daily.
“Things got out of hand at the hotel, but we didn’t know that at the time,” said the McGill student who would later sustain an injury. “So we meet up at about McGill College and Ste. Cats, start walking up north, and at Maisonneuve we’re blocked off by riot police so we entered the Eaton Centre.”
Demonstrators entered the metro and took the green line to metro Saint-Laurent. Upon exiting the metro, demonstrators were kettled on the side streets Charlotte and de Bullion, just south of Ste. Catherine.
According to Lacoursière, each time police announced that the demonstration was illegal participants left. “In the end they arrested the few people that were still there,” he said.
The demonstrators were transported in three STM buses to a police centre located at 7700 boulevard Langelier. One McGill student who was arrested reported that the majority of demonstrators were part of the 8 a.m. demonstration.
Of those arrested 68 were adults, 3 were minors, and at least 5 were McGill students. Demonstrators were given tickets for “having participated or being present at an assembly, march or demonstration that shows danger to the peace, security or order of the public domain.”
The ticket amounts to a fine of $146, and the SPVM has stated in a public message that, depending on their involvement, demonstrators could face other charges.
“There are plans to contest any tickets that were given and to contest the charges,” said one of the McGill students who were arrested.