A demonstration at the Henry F. Hall Building on September 24 in support of illegal Chilean immigrants ended in a confrontation between security guards and the demonstrators.
The protest was organized by a variety of social rights activists and student groups to show support for several Chilean families who have been occupying a Montreal church and face deportation.
The demonstration began on Berri St. near the Université du Québec à Montréal, continued along Ste. Catherine St., and passed immigration offices, where police were present.
Approximately 25 protesters gathered outside the Henry F. Hall Building at 4 p.m. Trouble began when the protesters entered the building and refused to identify themselves and their purpose when asked by security guards. When they were told to leave, a confrontation between Concordia security and several demonstrators took place. Police were called, and the outbreak ended with the arrest of three protesters and the use of pepper spray by police.
Vice-Rector Services Charles Emond immediately called for an investigation into the incident and asked Director of Security Michel Bujold to compile reports from the security guards and other eyewitnesses, mainly students, and Dean of Students Donald Boisvert to look at policy issues. The incident was also discussed at the Concordia Council for Student Life (CCSL).
Emond is reviewing policy regarding demonstrations on University property and whether proper procedures were followed in the response to the incident. He also intends to address the larger issue of personal safety versus the right to free speech. His report is expected in the next few days. - Laurie Zack