1 Jul, 2024

Abusive arrest of the spokesperson for the Al Soumoud Popular Camp

CDPQ encampment for Palestine

Palestinians and Jewish Unity (PAJU) denounces the political profiling of the SPVM and is concerned about the intimidation and escalation of police forces against the right to demonstrate.

On the morning of July 1st, Benoit Allard, the spokesperson for the Al Soumoud Popular Camp, was arrested and detained by SPVM agents without explanation and without charges. To date, no reason has been given for his arrest.

This is an example that strongly resembles political profiling. Otherwise, why target this particular activist and spokesperson? This is not the first time that the SPVM has been caught in this type of profiling and they continue to act with impunity,” declared Sabine Friesinger, spokesperson for Palestinian and Jewish Unity.

The Popular Encampment was erected on June 22, 2024 to demand that the CDPQ immediately divest from its $14.2 billion in investments in the 87 companies identified as complicit in the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people. The camp also calls for the closure of the Quebec office in Tel Aviv.

The problem is that when the police act like this, they not only violate the rights of people to demonstrate but also the rights of citizens because they are the ones who pay in the end when the police are reprimanded and forced to pay compensation fines for moral and punitive damages,” adds Friesinger. “It is not money that comes from the pockets of the police but taxpayers’ money that is used to pay compensation.’’

As an example, in February 2023, a Superior Court judge approved an agreement under which the City of Montreal would pay $6 million to hundreds of demonstrators arrested by the police during the Maple Spring demonstrations of 2012.

Police must stop doing the work of Israel’s genocidal regime by intimidating and profiling those who defend human rights and denounce the complicity of public institutions in the ongoing genocide,” Friesinger said.

In the name of freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate, abusive arrests and political profiling have no place in Quebec, which remains a rule of law and not an authoritarian police regime.

The Camp is simply asking for public institutions paid by public money to stop supporting and investing in genocidal regimes like Israel. ‘’There is no excuse for the Montreal police to do Israel’s dirty work in suppressing dissent and allowing arbitrary killing of civilians,’’ Friesinger concludes.

Palestinian and Jewish Unity demands the immediate unconditional release of Benoit Allard as well as a public apology and commitment by the SPVM to never do this kind of arbitrary arrest again. PAJU also demands that the agents responsible for this mess be held accountable.

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