March 15, 2021
Tonight was the 25th annual protest against police brutality. 25 years of marching, 25 years of systematic repression against it, like an annual tradition of bad taste. For this important anniversary the SPVM decided to let the march go on but with a very tight supervision; many police officers pushed people who did not follow their rules.
We marched in Parc-Extension, a working class, poor, migrant-majority neighbourhood, because it is threatened by gentrification, as are many others throughout the city. The trendy new Mile-Ex technology district and the arrival of a new University of Montreal campus are responsible for the gentrification of Parc-Ex and what comes with it: the eviction of many tenants who will not be able to afford to relocate in the neighbourhood, the explosion of prices and fancy stores, and an increase in police surveillance to protect the new wealthier residents so to bring “order” to the neighbourhood, these residents are “erased” and pushed onto the streets.
As a poor neighbourhood with a large racialized population, police harassment is part of everyday life in Parc-Extension. Although police have been promising to address racial profiling in Montreal for years, nothing concrete has been done and the repression continues. Serious police abuse is still commonplace. In Parc-Ex, what happened to Mamadi Camara recently is a good example. Demonstrating in Parc Ex is still tolerated, but as soon as our eyes turned to Town of Mount Royal the police pulled out their teeth, their batons, and their shields.
It is a sad and ironic coincidence that this 25th anniversary is being celebrated under the theme of the abolition of the police. COBP reiterates that this solution, which may seem radical if we stop at this slogan alone, is the only possible solution to curb the systemic violence of the state against vulnerable or marginalized people. The many groups and movements that have been leading the struggle with us over the past 12 months, following the abhorrent murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin are joining a struggle that COBP has been leading since its inception, supported by a growing number of people who are standing up and shouting out the collective frustration of their community: down with the police! We will no longer let them kill us with impunity on OUR streets!
There will never be peace without justice, and there will never be justice as long as the police institution exists to protect the status quo of the capitalist order.
Finally, we are calling for witnesses: if you have been arrested, brutalized, or if you have witnessed an arrest or a case of police brutality, please contact the COBP at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also remind you to be careful about what you post on social media.