Anonymous Submission to MTL Counter-info
The police are in our way. They are in the way of the demo continuing: to the next block, the bank windows downtown, the police station and government offices. They are also blocking our way towards something else: towards a world without bosses, cops, and prisons, as the good old slogan says. But before being in our way, they are first and above all… the police, an institution based on colonization, racism, and the state’s monopoly on violence. We will have no other choice but to confront them as an adversary in each of our struggles.
While demonstrations are not the only moments when we face the cops, they represent an unavoidable context. In demos, the police put everything at their disposal to spread fear among the opponents of power, to control our actions, to injure us and arrest us. In short, they deploy their forces with the goal of dissuading us from pursuing the struggle and changing anything in a real way.
We need to give ourselves the collective ability to defend ourselves. For us, a few Montreal anarchists, we think it’s a matter of spreading knowledge and practices of confrontation and care, while making an effort for groups and individuals who participate differently in the demonstration to work together. Basing ourselves on some recent demos in Montreal, let’s sketch out how different tactics can be used in a coherent way against the cops. There’s space for everyone!
- Reinforced Banner Crew: A reinforced banner serves multiple functions: it carries a message, it provides concealment (for a place to change clothes, e.g.), and it protects at least the arms of the people carrying it, thanks to pieces of wood and plastic added to its backing. Those carrying the banner are in a vulnerable position, as they often find themselves on the front line. Therefore it’s important to wear helmets and mouthguards. In addition, for their protection each banner holder is paired with another, more mobile person right behind them, who can hold a flag which can be used as a stick.
- Mask distribution: Wearing a mask not only protects your anonymity – the more people wear masks, the more effective it is as a tactic. Police have a much harder time proving who threw a stone in a masked crowd. Even if you don’t plan on breaking the law yourself, wearing a mask is a great way of being in solidarity with those who do!
- Graff Crew
- Projectile gatherers: There are many ways of supporting confrontation with police indirectly! Whether gathering piles of bricks near a confrontation, or encouraging the crowd to stay together and close to the action when things get chaotic.
- Anti-media team: No matter a journalist’s intention, cameras should be pushed out of rowdy demos – photographs will be used as evidence to put people in cages.
- Back team: If a demo moves too fast, it can leave behind people who can’t move as quickly. A team at the back of the demo can communicate with people at the front, to find a speed that allows everyone to stay together as long as desired. In addition, cops don’t only enter the demo from the front and sides: a back team could improve the safety of the entire demo.
- Functional Barricade: Impede the movement of police, while giving us cover to fight behind!