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RELEASE: Leaked municipal government documents reveal that the City of Montreal is spending at least $100,000 for private lawyers to defend P-6 by-law

by Anarchopanda pour la gratuité scolaireJaggi Singh


Montreal, October 14, 2014 -- Documents that have been leaked to Montreal-area protesters confirm that the City of Montreal is spending more than $100,000 in legal fees just to defend against two grassroots constitutional challenges to the P-6 anti-protest by-law. This sum does not include expenses, nor does it take into account the significant spending already undertaken by the City to uphold thousands of P-6 tickets against both their contestation and class action lawsuits relating to them, and to defend against constitutional challenges.

The documents (http://goo.gl/AWMMUp and http://goo.gl/DgJhp4) show that the City of Montreal has contracted private law firm Belanger Sauvé for $70,000 in the case of Anarchopanda pour la gratuité scolaire, and $40,000 in the case of Jaggi Singh. Both are challenging the constitutionality of the P-6 by-law. Anarchopanda is contesting particular provisions of the bylaw (http://goo.gl/HjJmbR), and Mr. Singh, who is self-represented, is challenging the by-law in it's entirety (http://goo.gl/nOYZ2D).

According to Anarchopanda: "After spending ridiculous sums of money to detain and put through the legal system people who did nothing besides walk in the street to express themselves on various issues, the City of Montreal finds itself unable to cope with the consequences of its own by-law and must now hire external firms at great expense. This is an incredible waste of money to defend an anti-protest by-law that fundamentally attacks the ability of everybody to gather and demonstrate."

Jaggi Singh claims: "It's not in the courts or at City Hall that P-6 will be defeated, but in the streets, as community groups organizing demonstrations continue to openly defy the P-6 by-law, and make it inapplicable by street-level resistance."

The P6 by-law forbids every gathering in the public domain (any group of three or more people) who have not submitted in advance their location or itinerary to the SPVM. Since almost all public gatherings essentially violate this by-law, this gives the SPVM an arbitrary power to repress almost any gathering. The by-law also forbids people who gather in the public domain from covering their face “without a reasonable motive”, again to be determined by the SPVM, again granting them an arbitrary power to repress. (http://goo.gl/4l44ZW)

Anarchopanda and several of the groups with which Mr. Singh is affiliated - including No One Is Illegal, Solidarity Across Borders and QPIRG Concordia - have joined close to 90 community groups that have signed a community declaration vowing to openly defy the P-6 by-law by refusing to collaborate with the police and never providing demo routes to them. (http://goo.gl/aXUTIR)

Anarchopanda and Jaggi Singh are among the more than 1000 people detained by the Montreal police by virtue of the anti-protest P-6 by-law since May 2012. Most of them have also received tickets of more than 600 dollars. Anarchopanda received P-6 tickets in relation to protests on March 22, April 5 (including one for his head, which was (in)famously confiscated by the SPVM) and May 1, all in the year 2013, as well as more recently on March 15 and May 1, 2014. Mr. Singh has been ticketed twice, in June 2012 during the Montreal Grand Prix, and also on May 1, 2013, along with close to 400 other demonstrators.

For background info, please contact:

Anarchopanda pour la gratuité scolaire: anarchopanda@gmail.com

Jaggi Singh: 514-848-7585 or jaggisingh@gmail.com

 
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