The result of last Thursday’s protest against police brutality could not have been more predictable had it been scripted. Once again, the actions of some vandals stole the spotlight away from the demonstration itself, and the message some of the protestors were trying to convey.
March 15 is considered an international day of action against police brutality. Protests were held in Toronto, Vancouver and other parts of the world. The protest held in Montreal made a mockery of the day and what it stands for.
I am aware of the fact that police officers don’t always act like they’re supposed to. And I know there are cops out there who abuse their power as much as they can. But how does smashing windows and pouring trash in the streets do anything to raise awareness about the issue of police harassment and violence?
Not everyone in attendance was there to cause trouble. There were many people at the protest with stories to tell. I spoke to a couple from Toronto who said they had been victims of police violence and were there to send a peaceful message and tell their story. They were appalled at the actions of some of the protestors. “Why are [the vandals] doing that? All they are doing is giving the cops a reason to break this up.” They actually picked up a lot of the trash that was poured onto the street, but you won’t read about that in the news.
Because the senseless acts of a few drunken idiots took all the attention away from the issues, and generated more contempt than anything else for the street kids of Montreal. Furthermore, many of the people at the protest flat-out abused their right to free assembly by breaking the law.
Last I checked, smoking pot and consuming alcohol in the streets of Montreal was illegal. And to flaunt what you’re doing in front of the police? On a day like that? What exactly are you people trying to say?
Granted, not everyone there was drinking and doing drugs, but enough had to have been doing it for it to stink of beer and weed for blocks and blocks.
What bothers me the most is that the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) does nothing to inhibit disorderly conduct at this event. It might not have made a difference, but if the representatives from the COBP would have asked the rowdy portion of the crowd not to be drunk and disorderly, then who knows? But they did nothing to try and prevent destruction of property.
It happens almost every year; you’d think someone down at COBP headquarters would have realized by know these acts are detrimental to their cause.
So the actions of a few ruin everything for many. All it took last year was one person to taint the event for everyone. He must have realized as he hurled his giant bottle into the face of a police officer, that was the end of it all.
It wasn’t quite so bad this year; it was only property damage. However, once again, the issue of drunken delinquency overshadowed the issue of police brutality.