The City of Montreal has failed in an attempt to get its police officers to stop wearing military-type attire on the job.

Quebec's Essential Services Council says it has no jurisdiction in the case, meaning the officers can wear the fatigues at a protest this Sunday against police brutality.

The city argued that wearing the camouflage trousers could cause confusion and provoke demonstrators.

The mid-March demonstration is an annual event that has turned violent in recent years.

Police say 371 people were arrested in 2002, while more than 40 arrests were made last March.

Montreal's 4,500 police officers have been sporting the multi-coloured camouflage slacks and red baseball caps since September as a pressure tactic over stalled contract negotiations.