Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When an afternoon of sporadic tear gassing and the occasional clubbing of demonstrators failed to provoke an incident it seems like the police present at the Montebello protests had a Plan B. As has recently been reported on the Ottawa Indymedia site and now even in the website of the Toronto Star the crowd had been infiltrated by officers disguised as demonstrators.

Three balaclava wearing "demonstrators" prominently carrying rocks were confronted by Dave Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and paperworkers Union when they took up position near the 'Green Zone' of protesters, a zone that was supposed to be free of any confrontation with the police. As the confrontation developed many onlookers began to suggest that the three were really police agents and tried to snatch the masks from their faces.

Rather than deny this the three moved towards police lines and seemed to engage in conversation with them. They then pushed into the line and "seemed" to be wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and taken away. None of the three were listed as "officially" arrested by the police. All told four people were arrested at the demo at Montebello on Monday. Ottawa Legal Support and Montreal Legal Support are organizing solidarity with the four who were "really arrested". Further details will be updated on the Ottawa Indymedia site.

The failure of the agents' cover was well documented by both photos and a video on YouTube. The funniest part was when a photo taken when the three were supposedly arrested shows that both the "protester" and a police officer kneeling beside him have the same identification mark, a yellow triangle on the soles of their boots. Well...I guess it is a prudent precaution to have some sort of visible ID because it is easy to attack "one of your own", and anyone hit in the head by a baton can easily be too incoherent to identify themselves. Better to have a signal that will show up when the one who is hit is laying down on the pavement. Molly can see only one problem with this. If a riot squad member approaches the prone person from behind the mark is visible. If, however, he wants to kick him in the head instead of in the balls then the yellow mark won't be seen. Ouch ! Molly proposes the following. Any future agents should be required to shave their heads bald- sorta puts them right in fashion. Then they should paint a big glowing yellow triangle on top of the head and hide it beneath a ball cap. When they assault a riot baton with their head the cap will fall off and the owner of the baton will know to stop. That's Molly...always kind and helpful.

In addition to the above video a series of photos has now been posted at the Canadian Union of Public Employees website. You can see the yellow mark on the soles of the boots there. Oh yes, the Ottawa Indymedia site continues to accumulate more photos as well. Drop on over there and to the Toronto Star site to read more about this developing story.

One last thing before Molly signs off. Seems that the locals in Montebello were as pleased as punch about the protests. Besides the fact that local snack food merchants did a roaring business the consensus was that the town got publicity that no amount of money could have bought.

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