On March 15, about 250 people gathered at Norman Bethune square at 6pm for the 23rd annual March Against Police Brutality. The march was organized by the Coalition Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP).
Demonstrators gave speeches, and COBP organizers spoke of police violence by Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) agents against Nicholas Gibbs, a resident of Notre-Dame-des-Grâces, who was fatally shot in August 2018 by the SPVM.
The COBP also mentioned Pierre Coriolan, murdered by Montreal police in his Centre-sud apartment. The COBP outlined grievances against the SPVM and agents of the STM in their commencement speech, including excessive use of force with batons and assault weapons, unjustified interventions and searches, and targeting of racialized individuals at metro stations. One organizer said, “we will build a better world for tomorrow, as a community, and fight against state violence.” The Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) had a contingent present, as did Montreal Anti-Fascist.
The demonstrators began marching North on Guy and East on Sherbrooke. While chanting “no justice, no peace, fuck the police,” people began lighting flares and firecrackers.
Within fifteen minutes, the SPVM declared the protest illegal and ordered individuals to disperse. Nevertheless, the crowd continued to march for another 20 minutes. A number of cars along Ste Catherine were damaged by protestors, as were two banks on Peel. The crowd dispersed shortly thereafter.
Residents and business owners filed complaints to the police to report damaged property. The SPVM is currently investigating, using footage from store surveillance cameras and from CTV Montreal and Radio-Canada coverage of the protest.