Is this police provocation?

Here’s a fascinating video from Canada, which seems to show police provocateurs trying to turn a peaceful demonstration violent.

This was shot on Monday afternoon at protests in Montebello, Quebec. It shows the tail end of a confrontation between Dave Coles (president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada) and three masked men who were trying to throw rocks into the police line.

In the commentary, there’s evidence to support the provocateur theory.

  • When accused of being police, the masked men just look confused rather than denying it.
  • Standard police procedure is that once a suspect is cuffed, a mask would be removed so everyone can see their face and reliably witness subsequent events. At least one “protester” stays masked all the way to the police vans.
  • The takedown seems remarkably relaxed, given that these guys pushed into a line of riot police.
  • At 2.45, immediately after they start arresting the “protesters”, the police cameraman shuts his camera off.
  • One of the three is wearing a t-shirt for Radio X — a right-wing Quebecois shock-jock channel. No lefty unionist would be caught dead in one of those, you’d think.

Montobello photo

And this photo (left) of the takedown is interesting. Note that the “protester” is wearing boots with exactly the same tread pattern as the riot police.

There’s more on this story at the Toronto Star. Thank BoingBoing for the pointer.

It’d be interesting to ask NSW police whether they’ve ever used provocateurs in this way — particularly with APEC in Sydney very soon.

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