If you’ve been having a hard time accessing the SPVM website since Friday night, then you’re not alone. The website, which has been down for more than 12 hours, was hacked by the Quebec branch of Anonymous.
The group, made up of hackers and social justice activists, announced on Twitter that they were responsible for shutting down the Montreal police website. The SPVM later confirmed that they had been hacked, although they claim the website serves primarily as a tool for citizens and no private data has been collected.
According to Anonymous’ posts, the group hacked the SPVM to protest the ongoing police brutality that’s taken place during the recent string of anti-austerity demonstrations which have been taking place around the city.
Strikes, protests, and demonstrations have been taking place across the province in response to the budget proposed by the Liberals, which has been taking austerity measures to help balance the budget and bring Quebec out of debt (despite the crippling cuts the budget brings to education, healthcare, and an array of social services). More than a few of the protests, comprised mainly of students, have ended with arrests and violence. One particularly disturbing incident involved the SPVM launching a canister of tear gas, at point blank range, into the face 18 year-old CEGEP student Naomie Trudeau-Tremblay.
At the time of publication, the website for the SPVM is still down and Anonymous has announced that, if things continue to escalate, they will be forced take control of other major Montreal networks.