I heard the Montebello protests were very good - well-attended, high-spirited and, of course, peaceful. Peaceful, that is, despite the police's bungled efforts at inciting violence.
Here's what I heard at the War Resisters Support Campaign meeting, from people who were there.
Union leader Dave Coles, of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, saw three men wearing bandanas over their faces, carrying rocks, shouting things like, "Stone the cops! Let's get the cops!" He confronted them, telling them to put down the stones, that this was a peaceful protest. They refused, and started pushing and shoving Coles. Coles told the crowd that the three were cops, and tried to unmask them.
As peaceful protesters shouted at them, the three "protesters" retreated into a line of riot police, where they were "arrested". (There were no arrests at the protests, and no record of these supposed arrests in any released information.) When the faux protesters lay down to get cuffed, the soles of their boots were exposed. And when their fellow officers in riot gear kneeled next to them to apply the cuffs, their boots were exposed, too. And guess what? Same shoes.
Everyone always says you can tell the undercover cops by their shoes. Activists have passed this lore down through the generations, but never have I seen it for myself with such hilarious clarity.
Don't take my word for it; watch it on CTV, and on the CPE video.
Here's a shorter CTV video with a good view of the boots.
So we see some things are the same on both sides of the Canada-US border.
Something different, and much better, in Canada was the media coverage of the protests.
In the US, when close to 1,000,000 protesters jammed the streets of New York City on February 15, 2003 to protest the impending Iraq War (and millions of people in cities around the world did the same), CNN didn't even put it on TV. How could they, since their job was to justify and raise support for the war?
I watched CBC coverage of Montebello, and it was excellent. There was a strong focus on the protests, and a spokesperson spoke at length on the broadcast. (Whoever heard of such a thing?)
When the CBC anchor asked the spokesperson about violence, security and arrests, he replied, "The police have an excellent opportunity to bring the world more security and less violence by arresting the war criminal George Bush." Can't say fairer than that.