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Its 4:18am here and I have just been released.

Released? Thats right.
Slightly under 200 people showed up at Guy-Concordia Metro in Montreal (QC, Canada) to stage a peaceful demonstration against the rich. 3 buses were filled with kids and headed off to the posh Westmount area of Montreal, a top the Mount Royal. We were greeted with the police in full riot gear. We did not want a confrontation so we cut through a park to a lower street. Somewhere along the line, or sometime during the day a protestor violently pulled an officer from his motorbike and spit on him. This gave them the right to surround us, and herd us like livestock. A ridiculous number of police in riot gear escorted over 150 protestors, one by one, to a place where they would be handcuffed, followed by a video taped session where we were told we had to give our names and then loaded into a truck with no ventilation and off to jail. This process took approximately 3 hours in the cold rain. When we arrived at jail we were left in the paddywagons for over 30 minutes with about 30 seconds of an open door for fresh air - needless to say it was very hot and damp, we were handcuffed and could not sit down because so many of us were packed into them (between 12 and 15 people per wagon). My wrists are cut from the plastic cuffs they put on me (think of a large plastic strap, with a loop on one end with the body of the strap pulled through the loop tight enough to prevent movement) as are countless others. After half an hour in the truck we were led into a search-down area where we were forced to submit our personal belongings and felt up for conceled weapons (or ID cards) and onto a computer-registration area where we had to give our names, our birthdates, our addresses and phone numbers (this information cannot be with held once arrested in Canada). we were asked if we wanted a lawyer - everyone was charged with disturbing the police, participating in a manifestation and the destruction of private property - and led to a cell. I arrived in cell sometime around 10:15pm (4 hours after our 10 minute protest began). Demonstrators were divided into M/F, 18+/18- groups. I was in the F 18+ group and there were about 45 of us. We were very supportive of eachother. Some people were crying and others were laughing most of us were very fed up and confused. They took away our cigarettes and they didnt give us toilet paper or allow us to have paper or notebooks to do school work with. We sat in the jail cell for over 4 and a half hours and then were called one by one for interrogation. I was told I had the option to leave if I behaved well - remember, this is over 9 hours after the demo started and everyone is soaked, tired, hungry and feeling exploited and thinking about class at 8:30 this morning and the 1000 word English essay due - some people did not cooperate and were sent back to the jail cell. It was very frustrating. I am not a Canadian citizen and I was concerned about the possibility of my student visa being revoked so I provided information that was mandatory (name, birthday, address) as well as the information I thought they could easily find from it (ie. parents names) and helped her decide what characteristics I have (5'5", brown eyes, yipee). I also had them change my court date, and I was sent back into the "free" world.

Needless to say, today has been horrible so far and yesterday evening was awful. I am very angry and I feel very exploited.

Most of the kids are using the same lawyer and a large contact list has been formed with everyones phone numbers for future happenings.

The realy frustrating part is, there is always this one kid that shows up at every demonstration, regardless of the cause, and tries to start a riot. And I have a lot of anger focused on him. Because if he wasn't there, or had made different choices, he would have saved over 150 of us the pain of waiting in the rain for hours, sitting in jail for hours, being deprived of food and basic dignity. Imreallyupset because he gave them a reason to ruin our celebration.

So to all of you riot types, blahblahblah. ~ashley

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