Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) admitted on Thursday that three of their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Quebec.

U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón met in Quebec to discuss a proposed security, resource and trade initiative between the countries called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but dubbed NAFTA 2.0.

Police said, "At all times, they responded within their mandate to keep order and security." The QPP said, “At no time did the Quebec Provincial Police officers act as agents provocateurs or commit criminal acts. Also, it is not part of the policy of the police force nor is it part of its strategy to act in this manner. At all times, the officers responded to their mandate to maintain law and order.”

A video of the incident had been posted on YouTube, which, as of this date, had received greater than 170,000 views. In the video, the three undercover officers could be seen wearing face masks, dark clothes, and boots and milling about with other protesters; one undercover officer could be seen carrying a rock. Some of the gathered demonstrators, notably union leader Dave Coles, could be seen and heard telling the officers to leave, put down the rock, and remove their bandannas: several protesters then tried to remove the officer's bandannas. The undercover officers retreated behind police lines and could be seen being put to the ground and restrained by the riot police.

Those at the protest said the officers were acting like agents provocateurs by provoking violence from within the crowd. Dave Coles, president of the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, confronted the three undercover officers on the protest line. He suggested the officers were there to cause trouble. "We're going to talk to our legal counsel and we'll decide what our next action is going to be," said Coles.


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