Police Brutality: IWD March, Montreal

from the inbox:

For Immediate Release

Montreal 9 March 2007
Police brutality mars Women’s Day Celebration in Montreal
Police Assault women at International Women’s Day March

Yesterday, as Montrealers, along with many around the world celebrated
International Women’s Day – the event was marred by police brutality in
which three young women were assaulted, injured and traumatized. Among the
issues that were brought up during the speeches at Montreal’s women’s day
march was that in Iran women were prevented from celebrating international
women’s day. And women in Pakistan were also attacked yesterday in a
women’s day event. Yesterday’s events make ensure Montreal shares this
distinction!

Marchers celebrating International Women’s Day had walked from Place
Emilie Gamelin (Berri Square) to Phillips Square, along Ste-Catherine
Street. After speeches they made their way back to Berri Square. The
police made an announcement asking people to walk on the sidewalk. Jaggi
Singh, who had been one of many male supporters among the 200 strong
celebrating international women’s day moved onto the sidewalk. The others
continued marching in the street. Police officers began to rush towards
Singh, still walking on the sidewalk. They grabbed him and threw him
against a nearby police car.

Other marchers gathered around the car out of concern for the violent way
in which police were intervening. Police began hitting and pushing people
indiscriminately. Several people were knocked to the ground with batons
and night sticks. Emma Strople, a 17 year old marcher, was hit in the
chest with the end of a night stick and thrown to the ground, by an
officer later identified as Doyon. Her ribs were bruised, she was winded,
trembling from shock and her knee was cut open enough that the blood
seeped through her jeans. Two other women were also injured – one woman’s
lips and mouth were swollen and bleeding, from being punched in the face
by a police officer; another left with cuts on her knee and stomach. The
police showed a total disregard for the injuries mounting around them.
They placed Jaggi Singh in the police car and began to leave. The
marchers that remained left by Berri Metro.

The 8th March Committee of Women of Diverse Origins, one of the key groups
involved in the march strongly denounces last night’s police brutality
yesterday and the arrest of Singh. Are we to go back to the time when
women in Canada were not considered ‘persons’? When women were to be seen
and not heard? In Quebec today on the eve of an election we have seen
how violence against women is still something that is trivialized,
including by those that seek to represent us in the democratic system.
Yesterday’s police attack on women and their allies proves that even
those who are supposed to be the guardians of the law and ensure gender
equality, see women as people to be controlled with the threat and the use
of violence. Women, as we struggle for equality are facing a backlash. How
can we feel safe when the police themselves exhibit the violence that is
endemic to patriarchy?

More than ever the police brutality of yesterday demonstrates that we
have a long way to go; that women’s struggles for equality that have
always linked to improving the lives of our families and communities,
ensuring democratic processes of equality and participation of ALL in the
political process are constantly BLOCKADED by the state and its
representatives. How can women seek assistance against the violence in
their lives when those entrusted with their safekeeping are perpetrators
of brutality and violence?

Last night’s police violence is shameful and fearful. We demand that the
City of Montreal and the government of Quebec immediately investigate the
assaults and arrest of yesterday and that women, our allies and
supporters feel safe and free to work in support of equality and
justice.


Info: Dolores Chew 514-885-5976 dolchew@hotmail.com

-30-

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