Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello: protesters
YouTube video shows union leaders trying to push back masked men
CBC News | August 22, 2007
Police disguised as masked demonstrators tried to incite violence at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que., on Monday protesters say, after footage of the incident was posted on YouTube Tuesday.
The organizers of the protest planned to hold a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday afternoon to talk about the incident shown in the video titled Stop SPP Protest — Union Leader stops provocateurs.
In it, three burly men with bandanas and other covers over 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, union leaders dressed in suits order the men to put the rock down and leave, accuse them of being police agents provocateurs, and try unsuccessfully to unmask them.
In the end, they squeeze behind the police line, where they are calmly handcuffed and arrested.
The RCMP has refused to comment, while Quebec provincial police have flatly denied that its officers were involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, a retired Ottawa police officer formerly in charge of overseeing demonstrations for the force said after viewing the video, he questions who the masked men really are.
"Were they legitimate protesters? I don’t think so,” said Doug Kirkland.
"Well, if they weren't police, I think they might well have been working in the best interests of police."
He added that if the situation was as it appeared, he did not approve of the tactic. "It's pretty close to baiting," he said.
About 1,200 protesters were in Montebello Monday during a two-day summit attended by U.S. President George W. Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The leaders were to discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership treaty signed in 2005, that many protesters oppose. The treaty is intended to forge closer trade and security links between the nations, but opponents say negotiations about the agreement are secretive and undemocratic, and treaty itself erodes Canada's control over its natural resources, security and defence.