Quebec anarchist site publishes a defence of smashing journalists’ cameras

August 24, 2017, 2:57pm

A Quebec anarchist site has published an anonymous post defending the smashing of a journalist’s camera at a protest last weekend, saying it will be a necessity in future protests.

“Those who decide that we need to fight back are already up against fascist thugs and the weaponized police who protect them,” according to the post, which went up Thursday morning. “We don’t need yet another enemy putting our safety at risk.”

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On Sunday, a masked protester pushed Global News journalist Mike Armstrong face-first down a flight of stairs during a counter-rally against an alt-right anti-immigration group. He caught himself, but his equipment went flying. The person also hit the Global TV cameraman in the back, then grabbed his heavy video camera and threw it into the ground, smashing it.

“It is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers ‘acceptable,’ to break the law in order to do the ethical thing.”

It’s yet another sign of media becoming the target of attack and derision from both the right- and left-wing — and most notably, from President Donald Trump.

The post was published on Montreal Counter-Information, a platform used by Quebec Antifa and anarchists to discuss tactics and strategy, defends smashing the camera, writing: “It is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers ‘acceptable,’ to break the law in order to do the ethical thing.”

The anonymous writer contends that by broadcasting the protests — even if the protesters are clad in masks and scarves — they are putting the activists’ safety at risk. What the writer calls “trusted media” are the exception if they have consistently built trust by blurring masked faces.

The poster says the journalist “paid for [it] with a sore face the next day.”

The post is written as though the author witnessed the protest first hand, and alleges that a CTV journalist was told not to film people with masks in a public place, although he was legally allowed to do so. “When he was given a final warning that if he continued his camera would be smashed, he walked over to the police to point us out, and later ripped off the mask of a comrade.”

For doing so, the poster says the journalist “paid for [it] with a sore face the next day.”

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It’s not clear whether the poster is talking about Armstrong, and misidentified his outlet, or whether a CTV journalist was also assaulted.

The post comes after the Quebec Anti-fascist and Anti-racist League condemned violence at the protest on Sunday, saying “reckless individuals have targeted innocent victims, destroyed private property and used violence in an immature way, meaning that they didn’t use it as self-defense.”

Montreal Counter-Information allows anonymous posts on its site, but carries the disclaimer that it does so “for educational purposes only.”

“We do not condone or promote illegal, violent, and unlawful behaviour or actions, or acts of intimidation against individuals or groups.”

Even on the website itself, there was no agreement on tactics.

A French-language post, also published today, contends that the left shouldn’t be resorting to violence or, at the very least: “We shouldn’t be hitting people without ensuring that they are, in fact, nazis.”

With files from Simon Coutu