A Youtube video showed a union leader exposing three men dressed as protesters as police agents, allegedly planted in the crowd to instigate the police to attack. One of the men held a rock in his hand while the union leader kept telling him to put the rock down. The three men later walk right into the riot police and are "arrested" and taken away.
Here is the video:
Now the Quebec police has admitted that they did have police agents in the crowds but that "At no time did the police of the Sûreté du Québec act as instigators or commit criminal acts". I suppose its easy for them to argue that the police were there to monitor the demonstrators, but if that is the case, then why were they holding rocks?
According to a CBC article "Police said the three were told to monitor protesters who were not peacefully demonstrating to prevent any violent incidents, but they were called out as undercover agents when they refused to throw objects." This certainly doesn't fit with the video evidence that shows the police agents holding rocks, nor does it explain why they refused to put the rocks down.
CBC News article: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/08/23/police-montebello.html
I think its pretty hard for the Quebec police to explain this one away. They were caught in the act, plain and simple. Which raises some scary prospects for the respect of the right to demonstrate, if police agencies are willing to employ undercover provocators as a strategy to discredit the demonstration.
A note here, that I was not an activist at the demonstrations in Montebello, nor do I necessarily agree with their agenda, but I think this incident raises troubling questions.