Montreal is a city that is known throughout North-America as a party city, we have one of the biggest Jazz festivals in the world, one of the largest comedy festivals, the oldest St-Patrick's day parade in Canada... in short everything here is an excuse to party. But the other thing Montreal has become known for is our riots.
There were the Hockey riots of 1955 following the suspension of Maurice Richard, there were the Guns 'n' Roses riots in 1993, the "We won the Stanley Cup" riots of 1994, more recently the 2008 "Police shot Villanueva", just to name a few. Yesterday we added another dark chapter in the long book of Montreal Riots: The Anti-Police Brutality Riots. The annual march against police brutality is one that usually ends with a clash against police, but yesterday was even worse than usual.
It was the first march of the sort since the young Villanueva was shot and killed by police last summer, the hearings are due to start in May, organizer's were hoping the march could raise awareness against police violence and racial profiling. As usual a few bad apples showed up in the crowd and the March turned violent, some protesters hurled rocks, concrete, vegetables and flares at police officers and started heading from the trendy Plateau neighborhood to towards the downtown core.
Things got so bad that tear gas was released into the crowd and 221 arrests were made. The rest of the people present, 189 other, received citations. The damages are estimated at over $200,000 as it was reported in the Montreal Gazette.
What was a march against brutality idiotically became a brutal march. A march against police brutality that saw to officers injured as the protesters became brutal against them. The protesters have cost the city and small business owners a lot of money and for what? So they could throw stuff at police? This march that should have been a moment where people peacefully come together in unity to show their disapproval and support one another ended, yet again, as a black eye to the city, the community and to all those involved.
This march has lost its credibility, the organizations behind it have lost their way and the marchers themselves have lost their minds. Police brutality is always something worth protesting but it's not an excuse to vandalize the entire city.