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How to recognize an illegal demonstration?

April 26, 2012, 8:54 PM

Over the last few days, many violent demonstrations have occurred, compromising the safety of citizens, merchants, students, as well as police officers. Some questions were raised regarding police intervention methods.

The SPVM wants to reiterate that it fully respects the right to demonstrate. However, this right, in a democratic society, has to be exercised according to the laws and regulations that prevail.

Furthermore, it remains unacceptable that acts of violence and criminal acts are committed. A demonstration is then declared illegal and all persons have to immediately leave the premises.

What are the signs that a demonstration has been declared illegal?

  • If criminal acts are committed, the demonstration is declared illegal.  Therefore, as soon as you see persons committing mischief, vandalism, damages, throwing projectiles or committing any other act that is against the law, leave the premises immediately. Police officers have to put an end to the acts of violence.  
  • If you see police officers wearing helmets and shields attempting to disperse the crowd, it is also a sign that the demonstration as been declared illegal and that you should leave the premises.
  • Police officers will give one or several verbal warnings, using a megaphone, asking all persons on the premises to leave the area. However, it is possible that you do not hear them. For that reason, we ask that you pay close attention to your surroundings in order to be able to recognize that the demonstration has been declared illegal.
  • Information is usually available on our Twitter account (@SPVM).

Why do you not target those who are responsible for disrupting public order, instead of proceeding to the arrest of everyone on the premises?

  • In the event of public disorder, the SPVM is obliged to rapidly intervene to re-establish social peace. The goal is to put an end to the demonstration, which means that all must vacate the site. At the first signs that the demonstration is illegal, everyone has to leave the premises.

The SPVM is asking the cooperation of citizens and protestors

The SPVM is aware that groups of individuals seize the opportunity to commit acts of violence during student demonstrations. These individuals take part in demonstrations in order to cause disruption and to force police officers to intervene.  

The SPVM is therefore asking demonstrators to be vigilant and to leave the area when they recognize that the demonstration has been declared illegal.

The population can also help the SPVM identify individuals who disrupt demonstrations by committing criminal acts by forwarding any relevant information, photos or videos to the following email address: images@spvm.qc.ca

We thank you for your cooperation.

Rules for a successful demonstration

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