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Kayla Herbert and Peter Guo

An open letter to Amnistie internationale

Open Letter to Amnistie Internationale:RE: “Conflit étudiant – Amnistie internationale Canada francophone est sérieusement préoccupée par les atteintes au droit de manifester pacifiquement”As both a McGill student and Montreal resident, we are appalled by the conflict between police and student protestors. The measures taken by the student protestors: the violence, vandalism and economic disruptions have created a hostile atmosphere. For the past few weeks, students have taken extreme measures, such as throwing bricks and smoke bombs in the metro lines and planting explosives in government buildings. Although we respect Amnesty International’s work around the world, Amnistie Internationale has grossly misrepresented the conflict in Montreal in its recent press release.We find Amnistie Internationale’s press release titled “Conflit étudiant” issued on April 23rd to be biased and unprofessional. Amnistie Internationale uses vague and ambiguous phrases that ultimately misrepresent the conflict. Amnistie condemns “police tactics at demonstrations, methods of arrest, vandalism and other forms of violence in some cities and universities in Quebec.” This statement implies that police are responsible for all of the violence, which is an inaccurate assumption. Furthermore, Amnistie Internationale only recognizes students’ “vouloir (want)” to be peaceful. Amnistie is encouraging unconditional rights to the protestors.In condemning police tactics, Amnistie Internationale fails to contextualize the issue. The role of the police force is to protect people; this includes students, citizens, and themselves. For the past few months, protests have gradually become more violent. We recognize that it is a small minority that turns peaceful protests into violent riots; however, despite its small size, it possesses the potential to do harm to peaceful protestors and innocent bystanders. Under such circumstance, it is the police’s duty to call the protest “illegal.” The police are not undermining students’ right to protest or to assemble. On the contrary, they are, in fact, protecting the… Read More