Saturday, November 05, 2005

The charges against me were dropped

A United Nations committee has harshly criticized the way Montreal police crack down on protesters at demonstrations. The report, released by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, cites the Montreal force's tendency to arrest large numbers of people at demonstrations. According to the report, the tactic often leads to the arrest of innocent bystanders and people who have the right to express dissent. The report says Montreal police "should ensure that the rights of persons to peacefully participate in social protests are respected and ensure that only those committing criminal offences during demonstrations are arrested." Close to 2,000 protesters have been arrested by Montreal police since 1999, more than any other Canadian city, the UN human rights committee says. The report notes that at a G8 protest in 2002, 350 people were arrested. All of them were found not guilty. The report also points out that at a demonstration against the World Trade Organization in 2003, 243 people were arrested, only to have every charge dropped 18 months later. The report recommends that an inquiry be established look into how the force deals with demonstrators. A police spokesperson told local television reporters that the force was "looking into" the report.

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