Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stop SPP Protest - Union Leader stops provocateurs?

Kudos to Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, for ordering three masked men back from a line of riot police in Montebello, Que. on Monday.

About 1,200 protesters were in the small town near Ottawa as Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at a two-day summit to discuss issues under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America pact.

This is the video that was posted on Youtube on Tuesday, which includes Coles confronting the mysterious masked men.

As you can see, three burly men covering their faces push through protesters toward a line of riot police. One of the men has a rock in his hand. As they move forward, Coles and other union leaders dressed in suits order the men to put the rock down and leave, accuse them of being police agent provocateurs, and try unsuccessfully to unmask them. In the end, the masked men squeeze behind the police line, where they are handcuffed.

"The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union believes that the security force at Montebello were ordered to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and to provoke incidents," Coles told reporters on Wednesday.

Photographs of the masked mens' and police officers' boots taken during the handcuffing, in which they appear to have identical tread patterns on their soles.

He also questioned why other activists have been unable to identify the three men whose images have been broadcast worldwide and demanded to know who the masked men were.

"Do they have any connection to the Quebec police force or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or are they part of some other security force that was at Montebello?" Coles asked, adding that he wants to know how the Prime Minister's Office was involved in security during the protests.

He suggested that the government might want to provoke violence in order to justify its security budget for the summit and discredit protesters.

"They want to defuse our trying to make it look like some radical group trying to create a confrontation," he said.

The RCMP has refused to comment, while Quebec's provincial force has flatly denied that its officers were involved in the incident. It said it is not releasing any names as no charges were laid.

If true, why do I get the feeling that Harper and Bush would approve of this type of police action?

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