Call for Enquiry into Alleged Police Brutality

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support today for as little as $1 per month!

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

22 May 2001
AMR 20/003/2001

In the aftermath of the Summit of the Americas in Québec City, Amnesty International is calling for a public enquiry to investigate police tactics and behaviour in handling the demonstrations which surrounded the meeting and conditions for people detained at Orsainville prison.

"Eye witness accounts - including from our own observer - point to the excessive use of tear gas by police against peaceful demonstrators, and the use of plastic bullets," the organization said. Figures announced by the authorities, including the use of around 800 rubber and plastic bullets and over 4,000 gas and smoke canisters would seem to bear this out.

Amnesty International has written to the Québec Minister for Public Security and the Solicitor General of Canada expressing concern about the following violations of protestors' rights during and after the demonstrations:

  • The excessive use of tear gas on protestors not involved in violent behaviour or posing any threat to property or the police, including the firing of tear gas directly at individuals and directly into private property for no apparent reason;

  • The use of plastic bullets in situations where the safety of police officers and the integrity of the Summit were not threatened;

  • The use of an electro-shock device on a peaceful demonstrator who had refused police instructions to move, which is tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;

  • The denial of prompt legal representation to those arrested;

  • The overcrowding of cells containing those arrested, including the holding of up to five persons in cells designed for one, for prolonged periods.

Amnesty International is reiterating its call, made before the Summit, that policing must be carried out in such a way as to protect the rights of peaceful demonstrators.

The organization is also increasingly concerned about the judicial system's treatment of political activist Jaggi Singh, who may have been punished for his activism. Amnesty International fears that the charges against him could be politically motivated and is concerned at the reported lack of evidence of his involvement in any recognisably illegal activity.

"We will shortly be writing to the authorities to obtain explanations on what appeared to be Jaggi Singh's prolonged incarceration following his arrest during the Québec summit, and details of the charges laid against him," the organization said.


You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.


Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.