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More on police provocateurs

August 24, 2007

More on police provocateurs

Much has already been written about the now front-page story of police provocateurs captured in a video posted on Youtube. The scandal has managed to cleanly separate the story of the protest from the story of the SPP itself, but it is definitely an unlikely story to have become front-page news.

But the use of police agents provocateurs is certainly not without precedent in recent Canadian anti-globalization protests. During a trial against protest organizers of an anti-G20 demonstration in Montreal in 2003, police were forced to admit to having 23 plainclothes officers infiltrating a demonstration of about 1000. Video recorded at this protest also indicates that these undercovers were involved in throwing objects at police, likely in order to justify a police attack. Similarly, as SQ officers have readily admitted this week, undercover police posing as demonstrators have been a mainstay of police tactics for years in Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Winnipeg, and elsewhere.

But, in all the claims that the evidence of the SQ provocateurs is as big a scandal as the 1997 APEC summit RCMP attacks on peaceful demonstrators what seems to have been overlooked by most media in this case is that police also attacked a largely peaceful crowd in Montebello without provocation. This occurred at a time late in the day of August 21st when most media had disappeared from the scene. Upwards of 15-20 volleys of teargas were shot into a crowd as it was backing away from police lines. Rubber bullets were also fired off at demonstrators, resulting in numerous injuries. If the police employed provocateurs in order to "incite" their ranks to attack demonstrators, why the lack of outcry of the UNprovoked attack on non-confrontational demonstrators? Do the police tactics employed in Montebello not also suggest that such an unprovoked attack was as pre-meditated as the use of undercover black bloc cops?


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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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