Montreal police accused of political profiling, stopping red square wearers - InfoNews

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Montreal police accused of political profiling, stopping red square wearers

Police arrest two protesters after a confrontation while trying to enter the Grand Prix festival area in Montreal, Police used pepper spray on the protesters on St. Catharines street, Sunday, June 10, 2012. Montreal police are being accused of political profiling — of searching and detaining people wearing the red square, the symbol of Quebec's protest movement.A Quebec student group is calling for an independent inquiry into police actions over the weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe
June 11, 2012 - 10:53 AM

MONTREAL - Montreal police are being accused of political profiling — of searching and detaining people wearing the red square, the symbol of Quebec's protest movement.

A Quebec student group is calling for an independent inquiry into police actions over the weekend.

The group, the more hardline CLASSE student association, is gathering testimony from people who say their civil rights were violated last weekend.

The events under dispute appear to have taken place during the Formula One Grand Prix.

Some anti-capitalist and student protesters had promised to disrupt the Grand Prix — considered the biggest annual tourist event in Canada.

But their plans to fill metro cars and block transport to the race were ultimately thwarted. Police were seen forcibly escorting people, notably people wearing red squares, away from the race grounds and back onto the subway.

One young woman in tears said she was planning to get her ticket when she met up with a friend in front of the track. The woman, who had dyed red hair, accused the police of "profiling.'' A Canadian Press reporter who didn't have a Grand Prix ticket was also forced back on the subway.

Police explained why they apprehended people.

"Some of those arrested were people police recognized from earlier student demonstrations that had been deemed illegal,'' Montreal police district commander Alain Simoneau said Sunday.

"In the interest of public safety, we decided to detain these people.''

Masks, rocks and knives were among the objects seized by those arrested. Most of those arrested were being released without charge.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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