The League for Rights and Freedoms defends the public's right to protest at COP15 | COP15

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The League for Rights and Freedoms defends the right of the public to demonstrate at COP15 | COP15

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Many officers from the Montreal Police Department will be on hand to supervise the demonstrations during the COP15.

With less than a week to go until COP15 is held in Montreal, the Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) would like to remind police forces and political authorities that all measures must be taken to ensure respect for the right to demonstrate from the population.

In recent weeks, we have seen in the various media the multiplication of security measures and police resources to supervise COP15. The intensity of the measures taken concerns us about the right of the population to be able to be seen and heard by the delegates of all the countries who will be meeting in Montreal, declared Laurence Guénette, coordinator of the LDL.

< p class="e-p">This civil rights organization believes that the past two decades have shown that police deployments have repeatedly undermined the right to demonstrate and the physical safety of protesters.

Laurence Guénette is coordinator at the League of Rights and Freedoms.

We cite the examples of the Summit of the Americas in 2001 at Quebec City, the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, and dozens of student protests in 2012, which resulted in mass arrests and the use of crowd control weapons.

“To meet and express oneself in the public space is a fundamental right recognized by the Quebec and Canadian charters and not a simple privilege dependent on the goodwill of the authorities. »

— Laurence Guénette, Coordinator of the League for Rights and Freedoms

On October 31, the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal voted in favor of an amicable settlement to pay monetary compensation to hundreds of protesters whose rights were violated by the Police Department de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) during demonstrations.

These demonstrations took place between June 2012 and March 2014. The appeals were aimed at denouncing police brutality and the former municipal by-law P-6 which limited demonstrations.

The League for Rights and Freedoms recalls that during the G7 Summit in Quebec City, as in La Malbaie, places to demonstrate were restricted and circumscribed by fences.

These isolated places located at a distance from heads of state, transformed into free expression zones by the organizers, had been qualified as anti-democratic enclosures.

During the G7 in La Malbaie, in 2018, it was not possible for anyone to demonstrate near where the political leaders were gathered.

The place to be able to demonstrate is very important and carries a powerful symbolism for any social movement. The public has the right to be seen and heard by decision-makers entering and leaving the site. She also has the right to demonstrate within reach of the media, which will be mainly concentrated around the Palais des Congrès, added Ms. Guénette.

The League for Rights and Freedoms would see ;a very dim view of the impossibility of demonstrating around the Palais des Congrès during COP15.

Elected officials and the police must not lose sight of the fact that demonstrating is not a privilege granted to the population but a fundamental right recognized in Canada and around the world. This is not preferential treatment, concluded Laurence Guénette.

For its part, the City of Montreal relies on its police department and leaves it to decide on the management of the expected demonstrations.

Questioned by Radio-Canada, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said it respected the fundamental right of citizens to demonstrate.

Our role is to monitor the various events taking place on our territory and to ensure that they take place in peace, good order and the safety of persons and property, in application of the applicable laws and regulations and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The police will intervene if there are infractions, excesses and risks to the safety of persons, declares the SPVM.

The police force says no specific area has been designated for holding protests. Thus, citizens will be able to exercise their right to demonstrate throughout Montreal, all in compliance with the laws and regulations in force.

The SPVM specifies that it does not comment never the intervention strategies it uses for security reasons nor does it specify the number of police officers it deploys.

We adapt our operations according to each situation and the behavior of the crowd. The SPVM's interventions in terms of supervision and crowd management, like those of all police forces in Quebec, are based on the National Model for the Use of Force and the Quebec Model for the Maintenance and Restoration of Force. #x27;order of the National Police School of Quebec, he advises.

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