Saturday, October 04, 2008

Justice for Fredy Villanueva! Demonstration Oct. 11

The following is the callout for a demonstration next Saturday, to protest the police murder of Freddy Villanueva in Montreal-North:

A year ago, Quilem was killed by being tasered six times in St-Michel.


OCTOBER 11th 2008


2:00PM at Parc Pilon (corner Henri-Bourassa & Pie-IX)

Everyone knows the story about Fredy Villanueva, this young teenager cowardly assassinated by police in a Montreal-North park while two of his friends were seriously injured. It was the 43rd time since 1987 that someone was killed by officers of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), who have never been condemned, in any of these cases of murder or manslaughter.

We know that the SPVM attempted to violently arrest Villanueva without telling him he was under arrest. We also know that officer Lapointe,in order to feel safe enough, had to shoot three bullets into Fredy’s body, even though he was unarmed. To shed some light on these events,the government will use a dubious method : the police will investigate the police.

Almost a year ago, Quilem Registre was killed in Saint-Michel by six taser discharges. The officers involved were never interrogated by investigators. As for Mohamed Anas Bennis, this Muslim unknown in police circles, was killed as he walked by an anti-terrorist operation. According to the official version of the events, he attacked a policeman with a kitchen knife on which investigators never bothered to look for fingerprints.

In the wake of such facts, we must demand a public and independent investigation into the death of Fredy. However this simple request will not be satisfied easily. It took over two years of struggle so that the state would agree to launch such an investigation into the death of Bennis, and even now it’s being contested in the courts by the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal. How could we possibly trust them when they systematically oppose, using any means at their disposal, a little more transparency?

Racial profiling, harassment towards youth hanging out, abusive searches,etc. are common practice by police officers. Just last January, the SPVM was formally declared guilty by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse of practicing discrimination and racial profiling. In poor neighborhoods, every youth has shocking stories to tell about cops. It’s not complicated, little by little, a lasting fear of the SPVM was established among poor, young and immigrant communities. The day after Fredy’s death, in Montreal’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, the question was on everyone’s mind : « What if it had been my friend, my brother, my sister? »

We won’t fall into an easy denunciation of the riots, like some community groups in need of government cash did. These events that happen all the time in the whole world are inevitable when a social class with no future is confronted with the death of loved ones. As long as we won’t offer everyone living conditions that match human possibilities, legitimate revolts will occur.

We have to shout it loud : never again do we want one of our brothers to fall under the SPVM’s bullets! We have to organize, in the street, a collective political response. If we don’t, police forces will take advantage of the events to heighten the repression. We must be there in great numbers at the large family-friendly demonstration on Saturday, October 11th at 2 PM.

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