COBP Denounces the SPVM’s Scare Campaign Against the Family-Friendly Demonstration on October 11, 2008 in Montreal North
Press Release From the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday October 9th, 2008
In its October 9, 2008, edition, the Journal de Montréal has spread lies about the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality and Montréal-Nord Républik, two of the groups which are involved in organizing a family friendly demonstration in Montreal North this Saturday, to protest the death of Fredy Villanueva, who was shot by police officer Jean-Loup Lapointe. The front page and an article by Joanie Godin are clearly meant to discredit the demonstration organizers and frighten the population. COBP insists on setting the record straight and responding to these lies, which have also been repeated in many other media.
First, Godin writes that COBP is “a group of agitators well known for making trouble.” What she doesn’t mention is that COBP is in fact a collective which defends human rights and that our day to day work consists of informing people of their rights and their options in dealing with police abuse, supporting victims of police abuse when they lodge a complaint or must appear in court, and denouncing police abuse and impunity in communiqués, publications and demonstrations. We also engage in Copwatch, that is to say we do surveillance on the police.
Of course, the mass media are not interested in what we really do, because it’s not their job to actually inform the public, just to sell their product. That’s why the only times they talk about COBP is when trying to discredit us by showing spectacular images of broken windows, without ever explaining our point of view or the reasons for people’s anger: police abuse and impunity.
The Journal de Montréal decided to print a photo of people taking part in the March 15, 2008, demonstration for the 12th International Day Against Police Brutality (IDAPB), many of whom wore masks. The caption accompanying this photo was, “Members of the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality at a demonstration last March.” Do we really need to point out that the people in the photo are not “members” of COBP, just people who participated (along with about 1,000 others) in our demonstration?
Another lie in the Journal de Montréal is the claim that the demonstration this Saturday is being organized by just Montréal-Nord Républik and COBP. In fact, this family friendly demonstration was organized by a new group, the Coalition contre la Répression et les Abus Policiers [Coalition Against Police Repression and Abuse] (or CRAP[s], like the game of dice…). The demonstration is supported not only by Montréal-Nord Républik and COBP, but also by the Côte-des-Neiges Maison des Jeunes (Youth Centre), the Millions More Movement (MMM), CUMAJ, the Barrow Community Leadership Institute, Antifa-Montréal, the CÉGEP du Vieux-Montréal Student Association (AGECVM), the CÉGEP Marie-Victorin Student Union (SECMV), Libertad, Mères et Grands-Mères pour la vie et la justice (Saint-Michel) [Mothers and Grandmothers for Life and Justice], the SECMV Mobilization Committee, the RCP, NEFAC, Head and Hands and the Jean-Paul Lemay Training Institute. All of which proves that Montreal police spokesperson Ian Lafrénière is lying when he says that the demonstration is being organized by people who “are not members of the community.”
Finally, it is an absolute lie to say that “the group does not rule out violence in a communiqué on its internet site.” The quote in question states clearly that “until everyone is provided with living conditions suitable for human beings, legitimate rebellions will occur,” which does not mean that we think “violence is an option,” rather that riots, as the text states, are “inevitable as long as a social class with no future is confronted with the death of their loved ones” and that these explosions of rage can be “legitimate”. (www.montrealnordrepublik.blogspot.com)
The police visited the neighbourhood shopkeepers to tell them that there was a risk of “trouble” during the demonstration. And yet Godin writes that “the police don’t think the collective will be able to attract enough people to pose any threat.” So why do they cry wolf at the top of their lungs? What seems to be bothering the police is not that there might be “trouble” which would simply help them discredit people who denounce their abuse and impunity. As Godin notes in her article, the police are worried that COBP might “organize a ‘family friendly’ demonstration Saturday with the people from Montreal North.” Their problem is the fact that unlike many community groups which remain silent because they depend on the government for their funding, the organizations within this coalition are not afraid to denounce the injustice of the system.
This article is just one aspect of the scare campaign being waged by the SPVM to try to stop community groups in the neighbourhood from working with the demonstration organizers. Indeed, the police have contacted several neighbourhood community groups to pressure them to not participate in the march. Following one such call, the administration of Marie-Victorin CEGEP cancelled a meeting that was to take place between members of Montréal-Nord Républik and community groups from the neighbourhood, and forbid the distribution of the flier calling people to come to the demonstration Saturday. A security guard even grabbed the fliers out of the hands of one activist. Why all the fuss if, as Lafrénière claims, "for the time being people from the area have no intention of joining them "?
COBP is using the occasion of this bad publicity to once again invite everyone from Montreal North and elsewhere to participate in this family friendly demonstration to demand: a public and independent inquiry into the death of Fredy Villanueva, an end to racial profiling, police abuse and impunity, and the recognition of the fact that as long as there are economic inequalities, there will be social unrest. Everyone is invited to join us to show the authorities that we are all concerned with police brutality and impunity.
As we saw the day after Fredy died, people don’t need so-called “agitators” in order to revolt against injustice. Amongst other things, the provocative statements made by the president of the Police Brotherhood about paramilitary policing do nothing to help decrease the tension. And we know that the police themselves use “professional agitators” paid by the State, like the QPP agent provocateurs that we exposed in Montebello.
We are not responsible for people’s anger, rather it is the system’s abuses which are to blame. It is precisely in order to put an end to these injustices that we are struggling and that we invite everyone concerned to join us. So that never again does one of us fall victim to police violence, and so that this latest killing does not remain unpunished as such cases almost always have in the past.
MEETING PLACE FOR THE FAMILY FRIENDLY DEMONSTRATION:
Saturday October 11, 2008, at 2pm on the corner of Pie-IX and Henri-Bourassa.
No more killer cops!
For more information see: " De Griffin à Villanueva: Mise à jour sur les bavures policières et leur impunité", COBP communiqué, October 7th, 2008: http://www.cmaq.net/node/31125
The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)
514-395-9691 - email@example.com - http://cobp-mtl.ath.cx