Police report 279 detained at protest against controversial bylaw
MONTREAL -- A protest against municipal bylaw P-6 was declared illegal on Friday evening after failing to provide an itinerary to police as required by the controversial bylaw.
Approved by city council last May, the bylaw also forbids the wearing of masks during protests, which led to police seizing the head of protest mascot Anarchopanda. During a series of protests from February through to March, nearly 600 people were arrested under the bylaw.
The impact of P-6 appears to be growing larger as police confirm 279 people were detained near Emilie-Gamelin Park just before 7 p.m. on Friday, shadowed by a heavy police presence.
According to Sgt. Laurent Gingras, three people were arrested for violating the Criminal Code.
Police spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere said Anarchopanda's head was seized because it broke the bylaw and not because a picture of the graffiti depicting Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere shot through the forehead was pinned to the back of it. Anarchopanda has become one of the identifying icons of last year's student protests.
Organized by Montreal’s Anti-capitalist convergence group, also known as CLAC, police declared the protest illegal and began to corral members of the demonstration moments after crowds began to swell at Emilie-Gamelin Park just after 6 p.m.
Protest organizers had called the event family-friendly that aimed to “take back the streets,” however they refused to provide police with an itinerary in an attempt to defy P-6, calling recent arrests at protests a form of police repression.
“The right to a peaceful gathering is part of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Alexandre Popovic, a member of the Coalition against repression and police abuse. “Obviously some police officers need a basic course in the law.”
Each protester was served a $637 ticket by the police.
No damage was reported, one police officer was slightly injured.
Nearly 600 people have been arrested under the bylaw in 2013.
With a report from CTVNews.ca Staff