Police Provocateurs at SPP Protest


8-26-07, 9:43 am

Thousands of people rallied against George Bush, Stephen Harper and Felipe Calderon during the 'Three Amigos' summit at Montebello, despite a concerted campaign by politicians and the mainstream media to downplay the 'Security and Prosperity Partnership' as nothing more than tidying up government regulations.

The largest rally took place on August 19 in Ottawa, where opponents of the SPP from across Ontario and Quebec gathered to condemn the deal as a plan to speed up the process of North American integration.

On the next day, demonstrators headed to nearby Montebello, where 4,000 police and troops were stationed. Earlier, the courts had struck down plans by the Canadian and U.S. military to impose a draconian 25-kilometre 'security zone' around Montebello, but the Summit was heavily guarded, and the Council of Canadians was never allowed to hold its planned forum on the SPP at a nearby location.

At Montebello, protest leaders were prevented from delivering a petition signed by more than 10,000 people. The RCMP had previously told the Council of Canadians that the petitions could be delivered just outside the gates of the Chateau.

'This is clearly not a security concern but a political prohibition,' said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. 'This is yet another strong message from the Conservative government that they are not willing to hear the concerns of Canadians on the Security and Prosperity Partnership.'

The Council and many other groups are demanding that the Harper government cease all SPP talks until the agreement is brought before parliament and the public.

Anti-SPP actions were held in some three dozen communities across Canada, ranging from forums to pickets to rallies. One of the largest, organized by Vancouver's StopWar peace coalition, No One Is Illegal, and the Council of Canadians, drew some 600 people to the Art Gallery, shutting down Robson Street for over an hour. Meanwhile, the suspicious actions of several 'protesters' at Montebello indicated that the police were using provocateurs in an attempt to spark confrontations.

A Canadian Press story dated August 21 reads as follows:

'Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que. Such accusations have been made before after similar demonstrations but this time the alleged agents provocateurs have been caught on camera.

'A video, posted on YouTube, shows three young men, their faces masked by bandannas, mingling Monday [Aug. 20] with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.

'The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.

'Coles also demands that they put down their rocks. Other protesters begin to chime in that the three are really police agents. Several try to snatch the bandannas from their faces.

'Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions. They eventually push their way past an officer, whereupon other police shove them to the ground and handcuff them.

'Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot....

'Veteran protester Jaggi Singh said ... four of those arrested are known to organizers and are genuine protesters.

'But we see very clearly in that video three (other) men being arrested ... How do (police) account for these three people being taken in, being arrested? Where did they go?' Singh said. 'I have no hesitation in saying they were police agents ... and they were caught red-handed.'

'Singh, a member of the Montreal-based No One is Illegal, believes the agents were meant to provoke a confrontation and give the police an excuse to use some of their `toys,' such as tear gas and rubber bullets.

'To a certain extent it's self-fulfilling logic. You provide police with this kind of equipment and they end up using it and one way to justify it is to plant some people that toss a rock or two.'

The YouTube video of the suspected provocateurs can be viewed at .

From People's Voice

| | |