Friday, August 29, 2008

Prisoners of New Orleans need your help now (Hurricane Gustav)!

The following from Critical Resistance:

To All CR members, Allies, and Comrades of New Orleans,

Prisoners and Families of New Orleans needs your help immediately!
If you haven't heard already Hurricane Gustav is headed for New Orleans
and is predicted to be a category 3 hurricane, the same as Hurricane Katrina. There will possibly be a mandate for all people (outside of prisons and jails) of New Orleans to evacuate starting tomorrow August 29th, the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It is predicted that hurricane Gustav will pose great flooding potential regardless of its category rating, the levee that broke by elected official's decisions during Hurricane Katrina has not been fixed to it's potential, or replaced.

The over crowding Orleans Parish Prison, located in New Orleans, holds 2, 500 prisoners (this count is not certain, due to lack of information given to the public.) Although not official, we have information that the Prisoners of Orleans Parish Prison will be evacuating to Angola Prison and Hunt Prison in the next coming days and are also prisons that can be affected by Hurricane Gustav due to overcrowding.

During Hurricane Katrina there were prisoners able to evacuate and others who remained locked in their cells with a minimal chance of survival. Prisoners were left in flooded cells, with no food, and had minimal ventilation, to say the least. Family members, of prisoners who were held at Orleans Parish Prison, are still in the fight to locate their loved ones who had been evacuated to other prisons during Katrina. Due to the flooding, lack of organization and care from New Orleans Department of Corrections and elected officials, prisoner's records were also missing. As a result, prisoner's constitutional rights have been violated.
This abuse can not happen again!

What will happen to the prisoners of Orleans Parish Prison located in New Orleans this time?

Critical Resistance (CR) is demanding that the elected officials of New Orleans will not create the same devastating wrongs as they did to the prisoners of Orleans Parish Prison during hurricane Katrina.

1. we demand a full and safe evacuation of all prisoners
2. we demand to know what the evacuation plan for prisoners is
3. we demand to see a public document about that plan immediately
4. we demand information about how we can find people after an evacuation

We are urging every member, ally and comrade of New Orleans across the country, to make atleast one call to:

Sheriff Malrin Gusman: 504.827.8505
(James Carter's secretary said "Orleans Parish Prison is Gusman's prison")
James Carter: 504.658.1030
(Criminal Justice Council Member who is able to put pressure on the sheriff even if they say they can't)
You can also send an email:
please put in your email subject: How will you protect prisoners this time?

Please call as many times as you can to put pressure on them and let them know our demands and it is their job to be accountable to us!!!!!!!!

For further information from us please contact Critical Resistance New Orleans:
Mayaba: 917.385.5472 or
Koolblack: 504.813.4714 or

(If you can't get through due to evacuation please contact: for further information)

In solidarity,
Critical Resistance

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

[NEFAC Mtl] 35 years of Workers' Struggles: Analysis and Perspectives

The following event is happening in a little more than two weeks. It promises to be one of the most interesting events NEFAC Mtl has ever organized; St-Pierre is a veteran of over thirty years of working class and communist struggles in Quebec, with views which i may not completely share, but which i find much more interesting than most of what the local left produces...

while i'm translating this into english, i don't know if translation will be available at the event itself. Nevertheless, i really hope comrades take the trouble to attend even if french is not their language of choice...

35 years of workers' struggles
analysis and perspectives

NEFAC Montreal invites you to a talk by Richard St-Pierre, a longtime communist activist. He will give an overview of the recent history of the Quebec workers' movement, while bringing to the table some elements of his own political point of view and personal experience.

Over the past decades he has been involved in many quite different struggles. Amongst other things, he was active in groups like the Regroupement Autonome des Jeunes (RAJ), the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN) and the Comité des Sans-Emploi (CSE). He is presently a member of the Montreal section of the International Bureau for a Revolutionary Party.

Saturday September 13th
Pub St-Ciboire
1693 St-Denis

A presentation of the Montreal Local of the North-East Federation of Anarchist Communists - NEFAC

[ZNet] No Justice, No Peace: Behind the riots in Montreal after the shooting-death of Fredy Villanueva

The following summary of the problem of police violence in Montreal which led up to August's riots in Montreal North is by Charles Mostoller and from ZNet:

Montreal-Nord, Montreal--"Why four gunshots? Why?", asked Patricia Villanueva. "I don't believe they had reason to shoot four times, just like that. Nothing justifies a death." Patricia is sister to Fredy Villanueva, an 18 year old Honduran youth who was shot dead by a Montreal police officer on August 9th, sparking a small riot among the fed-up youth of this impoverished immigrant neighborhood in North Montreal.

Villanueva is the latest death in a long line of police killings here in Montreal, although the first to occur in this North Montreal neighborhood.

According to police, two officers approached a group of youths who were playing dice in a park, and attempted to arrest Dany Villanueva, Fredy's brother. When an argument broke out, one officer fired four shots, killing Fredy and injuring Denis Meas and Jeffrey Sagor Metelus, who are recovering in the hospital. Police have stated that the officers were attacked by a group of about 20 youths, despite statements from witnesses who say that only five or six people were present and that there was no physical confrontation.

"My brother said 'What are you doing with my brother? Let go of him.' Then I heard gunshots, and my brother fell to the ground," said Dany, according to the CBC. According to statements by the Villanueva family, Dany has had some trouble with the law in the past, but Fredy was the 'good' son, doing well in school and staying away from drugs and trouble.

Jean Loup Lapointe--the Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal (SPVM) officer from Montreal-Nord's Station 39 who fatally wounded Villanueva--has not been suspended, although he has been taken off patrol duty.

Although over 30 witnesses have already been questioned in relation to Villanueva's death, the two police officers responsible for his death have yet to be questioned. His sister wants to know why.

"It's so important to have a transparent investigation, to know what really happened," she said. "But they haven't taken the police officers' testimony yet. What are they waiting for?" Despite the slow course of the internal police investigation, the Villanueva family hopes that Fredy's death will finally make police on the island more responsible and less likely to resort to lethal force.

"We want this never to happen again," said Patricia, speaking after a press conference on Friday. "If it happens once, it can happen again, and it has happened before." The incident has sparked debate in the media and among politicians here, more over the supposed threat of street-gangs in the area than over the reckless use of force displayed by Montreal's finest--with many, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, suggesting the need to beef-up the police units in the area to crack down on gangs. However, Francois du Canal, a spokesperson for the Coalition Against Police Brutality (COBP), believes that the most pressing issue in Montreal's poor neighborhoods is poverty, not gangs.

"They are treating everyone in the neighborhood like they are would-be gang members," he said. "There is poverty and a lot of social problems in neighborhoods like Montreal-Nord, but instead of dealing with poverty--like by giving money to community groups--they give millions of dollars to cops." Take a quick stroll through Montreal-Nord and this is immediately obvious. Local residents gather in front of the dilapidated housing buildings, while groups of five or six police officers patrol the sidewalks and teams of police cruisers line the corners. Many people feel intimidated by the heavy police presence, which has been a part of daily life since long before Villanueva's death.

"There are too many police here," said Kevin Garcia, a friend of the Villanueva family. "Caravans of 10 or 15 police cars will come into the neighborhood all of a sudden, and we feel very insecure, because it seems like anything can happen from one moment to the next. It makes us feel very intimidated to have so many police everywhere." "It seems like they are here to provoke things," he added. "They see a few young people, and even if there are little kids around, they approach them, trying to intimidate--or what are they looking for? They are provoking things, trying to take this to the next level." However, it is unlikely that Villanueva's killers will ever face justice, given the history of impunity for police officers in cases like this. Villanueva is the 43rd person to be killed by the Montreal Police in the last twenty years, yet only two police officers have ever faced charges for their actions--and were acquitted in both cases.

"They kill people, and they're not even accused of any misdoing," said Canal. "So they get away with it. That's what we call impunity, and because of it, they know they can kill people, so they just keep on acting like they can do whatever they want."

"They use harassment, intimidation and violence as tactics," he added, "and things like this happen, because the politicians are too afraid to control the police more. And they will continue to happen if nothing happens to these cops."

Surete du Quebec (SQ)--the Quebec provincial police who are leading the inquiry into Villanueva's death--have promised "an investigation with impartiality, rigor, objectivity and rapidity," according to SQ Lt. Francois Dore.

However, past investigations into fatal shooting by the Montreal Police suggest that we may never know what really happened on August 9th.

For example, in the case of Mohamed Anas Bennis--a youth killed in December of 2005 by a Montreal Police officer--the findings of the investigation into his death have still not been made public., two-and-a-half years later. Nor has the officer who killed Bennis, Yannick Bernier, been penalized.

"It's always the same story," said Canal. "The cops investigate themselves and there are no accusations, so we never really know what truly happened. The cops are not even suspended."

In 1996, former SQ investigator Gaëtan Rivest told the COBP that an investigation into the death of Yvon Lafrance--killed by police in 1989--had been tampered with in order to protect the officer responsible, Dominic Chartier. According to the COBP, Rivest confirmed "that such practices are common within the different police services in Quebec."

"So it really sends a message that the city and the government are backing the police," said Canal, "even if they say they think about the family and all that. But they really seem more upset that there was a riot than the fact that the cops killed an unarmed youth."

Communities like Montreal-Nord are fed up with the situation. The riot that happened the day after Villanueva's death was probably just a release of the neighborhood youth's pent-up anger, not an action organized by local 'street gangs'.

"The only street gang around here is the police," shouted Will Prosper, along with hundreds of other Montreal-Nord residents in front of the town's municipal building on Wedensday night.

Local residents had gathered in the parking lot in front of Mayor Marcel Parent's office, calling for an public investigation of Villanueva's death and an end to police repression in Montreal.

Shouting "No justice, no peace! Disarm the police!" and "Enquête public!", dozens of residents barged into a meeting the mayor was holding, and Prosper raucously called for the mayor himself to resign--for not trying to help lift Montreal-Nord out of poverty.

"I don't think he can lead Montreal-Nord correctly, because he's not listening to his people," said Prosper. "If he was listening to his people, maybe Fredy Villanueva would still be alive."

According to Prosper, unemployment among youths has skyrocketed under Mayor Parent , and police abuse has gone unchecked.

"These people want jobs, houses, families--and are tired of police harassment," he said. "If you don't give them some options, what are they going to do?"

Both Prosper and Canal feel that in a poor neighborhood like Montreal-Nord, the police just exacerbate the problem.

"The police are not here to help people, they're here to criminalize people and then they do things like killing people," said Canal. "This makes it so that everybody in the community feels alienated--like they are being unjustly treated--and that's one of the reasons why an explosion like the one we saw after the killing of Fredy Villanueva happened."

In the end, police brutality towards immigrants seems like a systemic problem in Montreal, and one that won't be going away soon. According to Prosper, minorities are twice as likely to be shot by police in Montreal, and poor immigrant neighborhoods like Montreal-Nord are overrun by police officers.

"They have a gang mentality," he said. "A lot of police are good officers, but they tolerate abuses by other police officers. How come they don't say anything about that? They ask the population to anonymously denounce criminals, but then they let criminals in their own ranks."

"If we could respect the police, the riot wouldn't have happened. But right now," he continued, "there's no trust, no respect. We know what happened that night, and that's why we want change."

The political response to police killings is to criminalize immigrant communities and victimize the police, sending in more police to fight against street gangs--in other words, young people. Until less money is spent on police in poor neighborhoods and more is spent on community programs, Canal explained, the vicious cycle that has led to so many deaths at the hands of police will probably continue.

"If they don't stop police brutality, and their answer to what happened is to put more police on the streets," said Canal, "then there's going to be more police brutality and more riots to come."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Demonstration Against Police Abuse in Montreal North

Demonstration in Montreal North!
A Call to Mobilize!
The Breach Has Been Opened in Montreal-North!

Montreal-North is burning. After the murder of Fredy Villenueva by the Montreal Police (SPVM), and the riots which broke out to express the people's anger, the community of Montreal-North remains angry. The time has come to organize a social and political offensive against the local elites who are trying to cover up this state of affairs.

Montréal-Nord Republik (Montreal North Republik) is a new voice in the neighbourhood. It intends to put forward another view of the recent events around the death of Fredy Villanueva and the riots which took place in Montreal North. The group also intends to dispute the dominant discourse which is insinuating that the rioters and protesters are just apolitical hooligans. Montréal-Nord Republik hopes to bring together the neighbourhood community along with all the population of Montreal in order to denounce police repression as well as economic, social, cultural and political oppression.

The MONTRÉAL-NORD RÉPUBLIK movement is struggling for justice following the murder of Fredy Villanueva. We have five demands:

1 THE IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF THE MAYOR OF MONTREAL-NORTH, Mr. MARCEL PARENT, who has stated that "Everything is going well in Montreal-North, there is no problem here. I never saw this coming."


3. AN END TO ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR BY THE POLICE (intimidation, harassment, racial profiling, abusive arrests, etc.)

4. A WORK prodced by neighbourhood artists and supported by the borough to keep the memory of Fredy alive.

5. A RECOGNITION of the principle that as long as there is economic insecurity, there will be social insecurity.

Charleroi). WE WILL SUBMIT OUR DEMANDS DURING THE MEETING OF THE BOROUGH COUNCIL WHICH TAKES PLACE AT 7PM. All those in solidarity with Fredy and with our demands are invited to come demonstrate.


For all information, please communicate with us via the following email address and let us know how to reach you, we will do so quickly:



Friday, August 15, 2008

COBP Communique on the Murder of Freddy Villanueva (Montreal)

Communiqué by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)

Justice for Freddy Villanueva, the 43rd Montreal police killing in 22 years!

Montreal, August 13, 2008 -- On Saturday August 9, 2008, at about 7pm, a police officer from Station 39 fired four bullets that injured two youth and killed Freddy Villaneuva, 18, in Montreal-Nord. The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) offers its condolences and solidarity to the Villaneuva family who are beginning a difficult journey that we hope will lead to the truth and real justice. We offer our solidarity as well to members of the community, and in particular to the families of the two injured youth, Denis Meas, and Jeffrey Sagor Metelus who is still in hospital.

The death of Freddy is part of a long history of repression, abuse and brutality by the Montreal police. What happened is unjustifiable. The police know that they committed an enormous error. They are trying to hide the facts, speaking of twenty youth, when eyewitnesses assert that there were five or six. The police say they were attacked when witnesses assert that they saw no direct confrontation between the police and the group of youth. Four bullets were shot at youth who were not armed and who were reacting to a scene of police brutality that was happening in front of their own eyes. We can't be surprised that people have no confidence in the police and revolt.

As per usual, the Montreal police (Service de police de la ville de Montréal, SPVM) and their union (Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, FPPM), in complicity with the Quebec Provincial Police (Sureté de Québec, SQ), will do all they can in their power to clear the police officer that unjustly killed the youngest son of the Villanueva family. It's unacceptable that police investigate other police officers in such sensitive cases. Police organizations are in solidarity with each other, which is not difficult to prove. During a press conference organized by COBP in 1996, a former SQ investigator, Gaëtan Rivest, confirmed tampering an investigation to the benefit of Dominic Chartier (a Montreal police officer who killed Yvon Lafrance in 1989). He explained that such practices are common within the different police services in Quebec. So, it's not shocking that killer cops are systematically cleared by their colleagues.

The police officers involved in the Saturday evening incident have yet to be questioned, although 30 other witnesses have so far been questioned. This manner of proceeding clearly shows the lack of transparency and impartiality in the investigation led by the SQ. If we trust previous experience, we can expect that this investigation will end by clearing the accused officers. Previous history shows us some facts from which to draw some lessons. Of the 43 cases documented by COBP, 2 police officers have been charged (Alan Gosset who killed Anthony Griffin in 1987 and Giovanni Stante who killed Jean-Pierre Lizotte in 1999) and they were both acquitted. In addition to officers Gosset and Stante, three other officers have been charged after a police killing:

- Police officer Marcovic killed Paul McKinnon, 14, on October 25, 1990. He received 45 days in jail for dangerous driving causing death in 1995, because he didn't show remorse to the family of the victim. He appealed the decision.
- After the beating death of Richard Barnabé, 38, on December 14, 1993, charges were laid against five officers. One officer was acquitted but four others were found guilty of assault causing bodily harm on June 27, 1995: officers Pierre Bergeron, Louis Samson, André Lapointe and Michel Vadeboncoeur. They rejoined the Montreal police force. In 2006, the dismissals of Bergeron and Samson was confirmed in appeal by the Police Ethics Committee.
- After the death of Martin Suazo, 23, on May 31, 1995, police lieutenant Pablo Palacios was charged with obstruction of justice for hiding facts during a police investigation. But on September 14, 1995, the decision to not lay any charges against officer Michel Garneau, who shot and killed Suazo, was announced.

As for the so-called "transparence" of the SQ investigation, we can't count on that either. In the Mohamed Anas Bennis case, killed on December 1, 2005 by police officer Yannick Bernier, the investigation report has still not been made public more than two-and-a-half years later.

Sunday's riot was a clear expression of the dissatisfaction of an entire community. Youth and others are fed up being targeted by the police, and being constantly harassed for the colour of their skin, age, and clothes. The people who participated in the uprising on Sunday did not come from street gangs and were not criminals, as expressed by Yvan Delorme, chief of the SPVM. Rather, they were residents of the neighbourhood and the surrounding area and live daily police repression and discrimination. They sounded alarm bells that must be heard. The Mayor and the SPVM chief must assure that police abuses will stop. At the very least, they should suspend the police officers involved in the death of Freddy Villanueva. For his part, the Minister of Public Security, Jacques Dupuis, must change the law so that police no longer investigate other police officers. There must be a public and independent police inquiry into the events of last Saturday, without waiting more than two-and-a-half years like the Bennis family. Finally, the police involved must be charged criminally so that they answer publicly for their acts.


The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)
514-395-9691 *

Source: "From Anthony Griffin to Mohamed Anas Bennis: 40 people killed by the Montreal police in 20 years (1987-2006)", pamphlet by COBP available by request by e-mail.