Quebec: Activist and NZ visitor beaten & arrested
Key activist, NZ visitor beaten and arrested in Quebec City
Jaggi Singh, who came to NZ for the APEC Monitoring Group organised anti-APEC activities in Sept 1999, and then toured the country, has just been beaten and snatched by plainclothes police in Quebec City at the anti-FTAA mobilisations there Aziz Choudry
JAGGI SINGH ARRESTED April 20, 2001, Quebec City
Jaggi Singh assaulted by
by david creighton 8:22pm Fri Apr 20 '01
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From Ontario IMC
The popular activist organizer was attacked by disguised policemen and whisked away. His whereabouts are now unknown
A group of disguised policemen assaulted and kidnapped the non-violent activist Jaggi Singh this afternoon. His whereabouts are still unknown and no charges have been laid.
"About five o'clock we were standing talking on rue Saint-Jean, a green [minimum risk] zone, Helene Nazon reported, when three or four demonstrators suddenly attacked Jaggi from behind. They grabbed his arms, pushed him down onto the pavement and began beating him. Jaggi shouted out and nearby protesters rushed to his rescue", she continued.
"One young woman was shoved to the ground and a man was kicked by the assailants, she said. When would-be rescuers appeared to have the upper hand, the assailants drew truncheons from under their coats, announced they were police and warned people away. Then they picked Jaggi up, dragged him into an unmarked panel van parked on Sainte-Claire", Nazon said, "and sped away". Ms Nazon is a member of CASA [Welcoming Committee for the Summit of the Americas].
Numerous telephone inquiries to local police authorities revealed no reports of Mr Singh's arrest, location or of any charges being laid.
The assailants are described as "big men, bouncers, dressed up like protesters", and the attack as "completely unprovoked, and in an area designated green by the Comite populaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste [Patriotic St John the Baptist Committee]".
Mr Singh is a well-known organizer and journalist who was similarly treated at the infamous APEC demonstrations in Vancouver and again in Montreal. "Jaggi has never committed civil disobedience himself," Ms Nazon said.
Other members of CASA condemned the brutal responses by police when the illegal barricades were earlier toppled by demonstrators. "This was complete overkill," said spokesperson Louise Boivin. "There is a problem when a society that calls itself 'democratic' has to suppress legitimate dissent with pepper spray, tear gas and attack dogs," she said.
At a press conference tonight spokesperson Julie-Eve Proulx reported a number of "pre-emptive" arrests, midnight house breakins by police and harrassments of organizers. "The torchlight march we organized last night was very beautiful and completely peaceful," she said, "and we can see no reason why police are acting in these extraordinary ways."
"The 'good news' is that groups that have had difficulties with each other for years," Boivin said, "are now working together very effectively. These police actions certainly confirm the nature of the secret negotiations going on inside the wall,"she said.