Montreal police defend reaction to violence during anti-police brutality riots

MONTREAL – The city’s police chief Marc Parent held a press conference Friday with chief inspector Alain Bourdages to address the violence and vandalism that took place during the annual anti-police brutality protest on Thursday.

Police estimated that the number of protesters was between 1,000 and 1,500 – more than double than the previous year. The number of police deployed was not confirmed.

Montreal police have come under fire after allegations of police brutality in some of the student demonstrations held in past weeks to protest the proposed tuition hikes. Demonstrators threw a molotov cocktail, flipped over a police cruiser on Sainte-Catherine Street, spray painted a city bus and broke windows at downtown businesses.

After declaring the march illegal just before 9 pm, police officers fired off stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters.

Parent defended police behaviour during the protest, describing it as professional and confirmed that:
* 7 policer officers were injured
* 2 citizens were injured
* 226 people were arrested
* 4 people are still being detained
* 7 different locations were vandalized

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Parent also addressed upcoming student protests, “In coming weeks there will be a lot of demonstrations,” he said. “It’s very important to collaborate with the police force so it’s done in a safe way.”

The fact that demonstrators have been refusing to provide police with details of the anticipated march route has been a contentious issue, however when asked whether a provincial law should be passed to force all future demonstrators to provide a route, Parent replied, “We’re not in that mind set at present time. We ask them to collaborate with us.”