Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Montebello protesters stop blatant police provocateurs before they can engineer a riot

Shit. They're on to us. Better arrest us.

Montebello protest organizer Dave Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada catches three of the most obvious, blatant undercover cop agent provocateurs you'll ever see.

They're masked and carrying rocks and sticks - but despite this and the loud calls by the protesters for them to leave, the police show no interest in the three until the angry protesters corner them next to the police line. The masked, armed men share a quiet word with the police, push through the line and are quickly 'arrested'.

A video, posted on YouTube, shows three young men, their faces masked by bandannas, mingling Monday with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.

The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.

Coles also demands that they put down their rocks. Other protesters begin to chime in that the three are really police agents. Several try to snatch the bandanas from their faces.

Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions. They eventually push their way past an officer, whereupon other police shove them to the ground and handcuff them.

Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.

Only four people are acknowledged by the police to have been arrested, all known protesters. The three mysterious masked men are not among them.

UPDATE: Check out this photo from KaterKate's photostream of the incident as spotted by Gazetteer. The violent armed protester, arrested and flexi-cuffed being led away by the officer is still wearing his mask.

Canadian Cynic asks some interesting questions here and sighs in annoyance at the inevitable sneering from Blogging Tory land about all this.

UPDATE 2: Again spotted by Gazetteer, who along with several others apparently stayed up and kept looking into this after I went to sleep, Aaron Eckman of the Pacific Tribune has the photos that certainly seem to indicate via the much discussed yellow triangles, that the so-called 'protesters' and the police arresting them were wearing the same boots.

Update 3: The CEP says they have proof these three 'protesters' are Quebec police officers and will release it this afternoon:

News advisory - News conference on "arrest" of phony demonstrators OTTAWA,
Aug.22 /CNW Telbec/ - Video footage of the arrest of police officers posing as demonstrators at Montebello, August 20, will be shown today at a news conference at the offices of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. "We have proof that the three individuals who were "arrested" after being exposed as "agents provocateurs" were, in fact, members of the Quebec police force," says CEP President Dave Coles, and we plan to do what it takes to bring this matter to justice." CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard, Barb Byers of the CLC and Council of Canadians President Maude Barlow will also be in attendance.

Update 4: Nothing much new at the CEP conference - mostly a collection of the already discussed evidence. The CBC story about the press conference also has a retired Ottawa police officer who had been in charge of demonstrations who didn't believe the three were legitimate protesters.

Final Update: The Quebec Police come clean.


susansmith said...

Ah yes, to serve and protect us from grandparents.

RossK said...

Is this Canada?

Cliff - do you know Mr. Coles? I've read some reports that he and his groups were actually guarding the CoC's petitions.....but they are unconfirmed.


RossK said...

Oh, and despite how Ms. Bryden describes them in the CP wire story, my impression, after watching the video was that these men were not 'young' at least in comparison to the other 'anarchists' who were trying to tell Mr. Coles that they were, indeed, provocateurs.


Cliff said...

We've met I think, I believe Coles was the CEP representative at a labour organizing course on Vancouver Island I attended - but I could actually be wrong, it's been a few years. There was a lot of rumour at the time about my then union the TWU merging with the CEP and there was a fair amount of interaction between members of both unions.

He does a great job in this video - that's the organization and frankly confrontation experience you earn on the picket line. Whether you want to or not.

I really do wonder how the Canadian media plans to spin this? I'd like to think that access to information requests are being filed and the story will get some real follow up - but I suspect that the CP piece is the last we'll here about it outside of the blogosphere.

RossK said...

I, for one, would sure like to see that photo of the apparently 'matching yellow triangles' that Ms. Bryden refers to in the CP story.

(I assume the CP must have seen it or the editors never would have let it run - right? I mean it's not like the CP is CanWest or anything, right?*).

*See 'NewsZombie:IranianBadges'


Mike said...

Of course, we have nothing to worry about from SPP...that is why the meetings are secret and the police feel its necessary to provoke violence to discredit the protesters...

This is fishy and you can bet this doesn't get done without clearance way up the chain...not with Bush around.

Cliff said...

Quick note: I've seen the 'Shit they're onto us...' line I opened this post with in other places attributed to the arrested guys.

This was entirely speculative and intended to illustrate how weird that moment before the three pushed through the line was, and to indicate my own belief after repeatedly watching the video that these guys were undercover.

It's not a direct quote - and I'm gonna take out the quote marks.

Jeff said...

just look at the size and build of these "protestors". unbelievably bad job of posing as legit. i thought the laval backpack was particularily absurd.

Matthew Belleghem said...

This is WAY uncool.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

Hey, I know its a few days later, but thanks for linking my pictures on your blog. (I'm sort of flattered, considering most of the pictures the 'corporate' media have focused on have been the ones with the guys on the ground). Personally, I liked the one where the provocateur's face is partially shown.



Cliff said...

Thanks for taking such great pictures! They're all great but the cops taking the guys down, handcuffing them and whisking them away, all without ever taking off their masks really crystallized the cognitive dissonance of the whole moment for me.

What do you think of the new official line from the Surette and Stockwell Day that the three were spotted as cops because of how 'non-violent' they were?

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