This past weekend, I went to cover a massive protest against the excessive COVID lockdown measures put in place by Quebec Premier Francois Legault, with over 10 000 people in attendance. At first, everything was going well; the crowd was joyful and peaceful. Drummers were playing and music was heard throughout.
Just as all was about to end peacefully in a beautiful park, something alerted the crowd. A ten-year-old autistic boy had run away from his mother, who asked for help from policemen present at the protest. As soon as the police saw the boy running, they jumped on him to stop him from getting away. But this was immediately interpreted by the crowd as a deliberate and unjustified act of violence against the boy, and many people rushed towards the policemen, who responded by pepper spraying everybody near them! I got pepper sprayed myself just trying to ask an officer a question about the hectic situation.
Things quickly de-escalated as people ran and shouted at the police line, and the police left the scene shortly afterwards, once the crowd started to grow. The crowd dispersed peacefully as people including myself were washing our eyes with water to get the pepper spray out.
This wasn't the only time the Montreal police have assaulted me or my colleagues at Rebel News. Just a couple of weeks ago, they manhandled me while I was trying to get the other side of the story at an anti-lockdown protest where someone was arrested.
When my Toronto colleagues came to report on the massive anti-lockdown protests, showcasing what the mainstream media here in Quebec refuse to, they were deliberately targeted by police, and have faced many instances of police misconduct for just doing their jobs as journalists.
That’s why we plan to sue the Montreal police to hold them accountable. Head over to DefendJournalists.com, if you’d like to help chip in towards our lawsuit to help shine a light on the darkness of Montreal’s heavy-handed policing. In the upcoming weeks, you will see our full legal filing there with the details of each incident.
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