An SPVM window was smashed, anti-Trump protesters were cleared with tear gas
Approximately 300 demonstrators protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump marched down Ste-Catherine Street West in downtown Montreal on Friday evening.
The protest, called “Make Racists Afraid Again,” started peacefully in Phillips Square, but as demonstrators marched against the flow of traffic on Ste-Catherine, windows of commercial stores were vandalized. Montreal police, dressed in riot gear, used tear gas and shields to disperse the protesters after several people started throwing stones, smashing a window at the SPVM station on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Bishop Street.
The protest was organized by the Anti-Racist Resistance Collective of Montreal (CRAM) and Resist Trump Montreal, in partnership with DisruptJ20—a group that organized many large protests throughout the United States on Friday.
Protesters held banners denouncing Trump, the United States and fascism. Organizers used megaphones to chant ‘No more Trump, no more hate, America was never great!,’ as the march moved along the downtown thoroughfare.
Activist and organizer Eamon Toohey said the protest—meant to be “a show of solidarity with protesters in Washington”—was a success.
“We wanted to show that the rise of the far-right as represented by Trump isn’t welcome in the States and it isn’t welcome in Canada,” said Toohey.
When asked about the vandalism that took place during the march, Toohey said he didn’t have sympathy for the SPVM or businesses like American Apparel, which were targeted during the protest.
“I’m not going to condemn protesters smashing the window of the police station,” said Toohey. “The police are the armed wing of the state and serve [to] enforce the policies that place people in jeopardy. No condemnation there.”
According to The Montreal Gazette, Montreal SPVM said they did not ticket or arrest anyone.
However, Concordia student Maidina Kadeer said she was arrested while waiting with her friends following the protests. “[The police] grabbed me and slammed me against the window and began handcuffing me,” Kadeer said.
“They, at no point, told me if I was being arrested, for what—[they gave] no reason as to why I was being handcuffed and arrested,” said Kadeer. Her other friend began filming the scene, but the officers then pushed him, threw his phone out of his hands and stomped on it, she said. “They held me like that with no explanation.”
Student Stéphane Krims came directly from McGill’s music school to march, carrying his double bass the entire way. Krims said he is worried Trump’s election has made hate more widely tolerable in America, adding that he was alarmed by “the [racist] behaviour that some people exhibited when they found out that Trump was going to be president.”
Blake Hawley, an American citizen at the Montreal protest, said he was embarrassed by the message Trump’s election sent to the rest of the world.
“[The United States] already didn’t have a great image, but it’s definitely worse now for sure,” said Hawley. He said he’s afraid American-Canadian relations may suffer during the Trump years.
“The whole idea of the American government isn’t taken seriously anymore,” said Hawley. “The U.S. is going to lose allies as we go into this administration. [Trump] might be as bad as everyone thinks. If he is, the U.S. will lose a lot more respect than it already has.”
Toohey said he is concerned that Canadians are not taking the election of Donald Trump seriously enough. “There’s a sense here in Canada of, ‘Oh, we’re not America,’” Toohey said. “But injustices and abuse of police power are happening in Canada too.”
“Things are going to get as bad [here in Canada] unless they’re challenged,” he added. “It’s not just the United States, it’s not just Trump. It’s what he represents and what he was elected on.”
Be sure to check out an audio piece on this protest on The Concordian Radio Show on CJLO 1690 AM on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.