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Quebec Legal: Update on Jailed FTAA Activists

As of Wednesday (4/25/01), 1 woman and 29 men were believed still held in jail, although these numbers may not reflect activists who have been unable to contact the outside. A Quebec Police press release reports that a total of 463 activists were arrested during the FTAA protests.
As of Wednesday (4/25/01), 1 woman and 29 men were believed still held in jail, although these numbers may not reflect activists who have been unable to contact the outside. Close to 200 activists were released Monday and Tuesday (4/23-4/24), many with no charges -- evidence of illegal arrests. A Quebec Police press release reports that a total of 463 activists were arrested during the FTAA protests. Physical abuse and intimidation tactics by the police continued; in addition, there are reports of intentional mishandling of released activists:

Some activists were held for long hours in buses, with no access to restrooms, and little access to food and water.
Some activists were processed and paid bail, but were not released. The bail window closed unexpectedly early on Tuesday. Men were stripped naked in groups, and sprayed with cold water to decontaminate from tear gas. Released activists have been dropped off at distant locations in the city, which contradict the locations given to supporters. Some activists reported being woken in the middle of the night and interrogated by "intelligence personnel." They were questioned on their political affiliations by the personnel, who appeared to have American accents.
Members of Quebec Legal visiting the jail reported noting signatures of FBI agents in the jail sign-in book.

There are many reports of physical abuse, however, Quebec Legal is waiting to confirm incidents with abused activists before releasing details. The Canadian Labor Congress, with assistance from the jail chaplain, facilitated a meeting between all activists who were on hunger strike and those withholding their names. The activists at that meeting decided collectively that they would leave incarceration together, so they choose to release their names and begin eating (vegans/vegetarians ate fruit).

Solidarity protests: A total of 10,000 students at 3 colleges in Montreal are commencing a general strike and refusing to go to classes: Maisonneuve College, Vieux-Montreal College and Saint-Laurent College. Since Monday, students and others in Toronto have been demonstrating daily in front of the Police station. There are other reports of actions on indymedia.org, from Boston to Russia to France. To act in solidarity, you can:

Demonstrate: CASA/CLAC demonstration Wednesday afternoon (4/25/01): Justice Palace 300 Jean-Lesage Blvd Quebec City

Donate: Contribute to the legal fund to assist with bails:
Quebec Legal Defence
1615 Bernard
Outremont, Quebec
H2V 1X2
(see quebec2001.org for alternatives)

Phone/fax: Contact the government directly to voice your outrage:
Paul Bégin, Québec Minister of Justice
(Legal procedure complaints)
(418) 643-4210 phone
(418) 646-0027 fax

Serge Ménard, Québec Minister of Public Security
(Police/jail complaints)
(418) 643-2112 phone
(418) 646-6168 fax

Orsainville Jail
(418) 646-0570 x232

24-hour Vigil: Support is needed outside the jail, activists need food, warmth, clothing, transportation and emotional support. From Laval University, take Autoroute de Vallon North to Highway 40. Take 40-East to Highway 73-North, and then exit onto Rue de la Faune. Go to: 500 Rue de la Faune.

Office: Support is needed ongoing at the legal office, especially from those who speak any combination of French, Spanish or English.

Please note the new phone number for Quebec Legal:
(418) 656-2131 x4102 (activists in jail can still call the old number collect)

The Quebec Legal Collective would like to send a great thank you to the Canadian Auto Workers Union and Laval University (both the Administration and the Student Union/CADEL) for their generous support. CAW and Laval provided office space and phones to Quebec Legal, which were crucial for the collective to manage the legal situation.

In Solidarity,
Quebec Legal
quebeclegal.org/legal/qlc-042501-en.html
 
 

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