National President Judy Darcy has called on activists to join in the jail solidarity campaign to free the protesters that were arrested in Quebec City during the FTAA summit.
The treatment of those arrested has been deplorable. There have been reports that many protesters were stripped, searched, and hosed down with cold water. This occurred in very public spaces. Many were also held on a bus for more than eight hours without access to a washroom or food.
CUPE will be adding our voice to the growing list of those calling for a federal inquiry into what happened in Quebec. Why did the federal government sanction the use of what felt like the nations supply of tear gas? How can the Prime Minister justify the violation of our rights to freedom of assembly and free speech?
Minister Serge Mn0061rd at the Ministry of Public Security: (418) 643-2112.
The Ministry of Justice: (418) 643-4210 or fax (418) 646-0027
Members are also asked to phone the jail to express their discontent with the treatment of the prisoners.
The Jail: (418) 890-5507
April 25, 2001
As of Wednesday (4/25/01), 1 woman and 29 men were believed still held in jail, although these numbers may not reflect activists who have been unable to contact the outside. Close to 200 activists were released Monday and Tuesday (4/23-4/24), many with no charges – evidence of illegal arrests. A Quebec Police press release reports that a total of 463 activists were arrested during the FTAA protests. Physical abuse and intimidation tactics by the police continued; in addition, there are reports of intentional mishandling of released activists:
- Some activists were held for long hours in buses, with no access to restrooms, and little access to food and water.
- Some activists were processed and paid bail, but were not released.
- The bail window closed unexpectedly early on Tuesday.
- Men were stripped naked in groups, and sprayed with cold water to decontaminate from tear gas.
- Released activists have been dropped off at distant locations in the city, which contradict the locations given to supporters.
- Some activists reported being woken in the middle of the night and interrogated by “intelligence personnel.” They were questioned on their political affiliations by the personnel, who appeared to have american accents.
- Members of Quebec Legal visiting the jail reported noting signatures of FBI agents in the jail sign-in book.
- There are many reports of physical abuse, however, Quebec Legal is waiting to confirm incidents with abused activists before releasing details.
The Canadian Labor Congress, with assistance from the jail chaplain, facilitated a meeting between all activists who were on hunger strike and those withholding their names. The activists at that meeting decided collectively that they would leave incarceration together, so they choose to release their names and begin eating (vegans/vegetarians ate fruit).
Solidarity protests: A total of 10,000 students at 3 colleges in Montreal are commencing a general strike and refusing to go to classes: Maisonneuve College, Vieux-Montreal College and Saint-Laurent College. Since Monday, students and others in Toronto have been demonstrating daily in front of the Police station. There are other reports of actions on indymedia.org, from Boston to Russia to France. To act in solidarity, you can:
Demonstrate: CASA/CLAC demonstration Wednesday afternoon (4/25/01):
300 Jean-Lesage Blvd
Donate: Contribute to the legal fund to assist with bails:
Quebec Legal Defence
(see quebec2001.org/funds.html for alternatives)
Phone/fax: Contact the government directly to voice your outrage:
Paul Bg0069n, Qub0065c Minister of Justice
(Legal procedure complaints)
(418) 643-4210 phone
(418) 646-0027 fax
Serge Mn0061rd, Qub0065c Minister of Public Security
(418) 643-2112 phone
(418) 646-6168 fax
(418) 646-0570 x232
24-hour Vigil: Support is needed outside the jail, activists need food, warmth, clothing, transportation and emotional support. From Laval University, take Autoroute de Vallon North to Highway 40. Take 40-East to Highway 73-North, and then exit onto Rue de la Faune. Go to: 500 Rue de la Faune.
Office: Support is needed ongoing at the legal office, especially from those who speak any combination of French, Spanish or English.
Please note the new phone number for Quebec Legal:
(418) 656-2131 x4102
(activists in jail can still call the old number collect)
The Quebec Legal Collective would like to send a great thank you to the Canadian Auto Workers Union and Laval University (both the Administration and the Student Union/CADEL) for their generous support. CAW and Laval provided office space and phones to Quebec Legal, which were crucial for the collective to manage the legal situation.