Monday, June 4, 2007

El Salon Police Riot: A call for your support (and funds)

[Three individuals still face criminal charges related to the “El Salon Police Riot” of April 2006. Please support their legal defense by considering a contribution to their legal fund, and by attending upcoming court dates. More info below ...]

Last April 19, 2006, at least 50 Montreal police officers intervened to end a Palestinian political prisoner event at El Salon on St-Laurent Boulevard. The event, called “Break the Chains,” included poetry, films, speeches, as well as several music acts, and was part of a national tour raising awareness about Palestinian political prisoners by the Sumoud group in Toronto.

The Montreal event was organized and supported by Books to Prisoners-Montreal, the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement, International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Montreal Anarchist Black Cross, No One Is Illegal-Montreal, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at McGill and Concordia and the Twelve Months PP/POW Calendar Project.

The “El Salon Police Riot” was a brutal police overreaction. That night, three people (Meg, Nazila, and Stefan) received tickets, while two others (Amanda and Jaggi) were charged with obstruction. Nobody went to jail, despite the use of upwards of 50 cops at a poetry event, and everyone was released and back on St-Laurent Boulevard within two hours.

You can read by-stander accounts posted to CBC Montreal at the following link:

[The original article is at: ]

Photos showing the police intervention are linked at:

There were several complaints about the police’s conduct on April 19. The police response was to add assault charges to Amanda and Jaggi many months later, as well as to charge Ahmad of Toronto with four counts of assault police almost six months after the fact. Clearly, the charges have been added to make a disproportionate police intervention seem justified.

Ahmad’s trial begins next week. Jaggi’s trial has already begun and will continue in August, and Amanda will learn her trial dates later. [At trial, it’s been confirmed that at least 50 cops were deployed on April 19; moreover, the police are claiming that their radio system “wasn’t working properly” on April 19, 2006, which means the police, conveniently, cannot provide audio tapes of their correspondence that night.]


Neither Ahmad nor Amanda qualify for legal aid (Jaggi is representing himself). They need to raise money for their legal defence (as well as travel expenses for Ahmad from Toronto).

The current fundraising goal is $3000. If 30 individuals or groups can donate $100 each, we’ve reached our goal. Whether you can spare $10, $50, $100 or more, your donation is appreciated.

If you can donate, please get in touch at to let us know, and send a cheque to the following address:

1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204
Montreal H3G 1N1

Please make the cheque out to “QPIRG-Concordia” with “El Salon” clearly marked in the memo line.

Please contact to let us know you’ve made a donation, and to arrange alternative arrangements to donate.


Ahmad’s trial begins next week. Jaggi’s continues in the summer, and Amanda will know her court dates shortly. Meg and Stefan are fighting their tickets. Nazila was declared “not guilty” because her arresting officer didn’t show up to court.

All defendants are actively fighting their charges, and would appreciate your support in court. The original event that was raided on April 19, 2006 – a fundraiser for Palestinian political prisoners – brought together more than 100 individuals from various groups and communities. It’s important that we show that strength again in court.

Ahmad’s trial is next June 12 and June 14 at Montreal’s Municipal Court. Contact for more details.

-- The El Salon Police Riot Defendants