Claim video shows cops used ‘agents provocateurs’ to attempt to incite crowd
Montebello protesters yesterday produced what they call proof that undercover police officers tried to incite violence at an otherwise peaceful demonstration during the North American Leaders Summit this week.
Led by protest organizer and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles, the group yesterday presented media in Ottawa with a five-minute video that Coles called evidence one of the police agencies providing security in Montebello, Que., had made use of “agents provocateurs” in a bid to demonize protesters.
On the video, three men with bandanas covering their faces — one carrying a rock — approach a Sûreté du Québec riot control line. After a brief confrontation with protesters — who first warn the men away, and then accuse them of being police while trying to pull off their bandannas — the men push into the police line and appear to easily break through. Officers quickly take the men to ground, where they have their hands bound with zap-strap handcuffs. Police then usher them behind their lines.
Sebastian Goulet, who filmed during the altercation, said the men crossed the line too easily. “I’ve been to over 200 demonstrations going back to Quebec City (G-8 Summit),” said Goulet. “I have never seen anyone cross a police line like that before.”
Most damning, protesters say, is that a logo visible on the bottoms of all three of the men’s boots are identical in style and colour to those seen on the bottoms of the arresting police officers’ boots.
The protesters’ video had been viewed more than 30,000 times on YouTube as of yesterday afternoon. Demonstration organizers demanded yesterday that both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest explain police actions during the event.
“This is a very serious charge that our government has to take seriously,” said Council of Canadians president Maude Barlow.
Barlow said her group doesn’t understand why police would try to incite protesters to violence against their own colleagues, but suggested it may have been part of a plan to defuse opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership by portraying those demonstrating against it as the “radical fringe left.”
Sûreté du Québec Const. Melanie LaRouche confirmed yesterday the three protesters in the video were not arrested. She also said the Sûreté du Québec does not employ ‘agents provocateurs,’ but would not comment further.