A police officer was shot in the leg late Sunday, cars were set ablaze, stores were looted and firefighters were pelted with beer bottles in Montreal North, a multiethnic area referred to by local police as the Bronx of Montreal for its poverty and crime.
Several hundred officers in riot gear fanned out in the area, searching for a group of youths suspected of torching eight cars parked outside a fire station. Six people were arrested.
The violence erupted after a peaceful protest against the Saturday shooting by police of three unarmed people, including an 18-year-old man, identified by his sister as Freddy Alberto Villanueva, an immigrant from Honduras who died of his wounds.
Jean-Ernest Pierre, a lawyer and owner of a Montreal radio station popular with the city's ethnic minorities, said his station was beset with angry calls from people concerned about police treatment of minorities.
Some policemen are not well equipped to face what Pierre called the new Quebec, a multiethnic society, he said, adding that many minorities feel targeted because of the color of their skin.
"People don't trust the police," Pierre said.
He also said there's a gang problem in Montreal North, where poverty makes many young people vulnerable to recruitment.
About 25 percent of the residents of Montreal North are immigrants. Almost 15 percent are black and 3.5 percent are Latino, according to census data.
On Sunday, men and women of all ages crawled through the smashed windows of a pawn shop, a convenience store and a butcher shop, grabbing anything they could. They could be seen running down the street clutching TVs, cigarette cartons and slabs of meat.
Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said one police officer was hospitalized after being shot in the leg.
An ambulance technician was hit in the head by a bottle and a second police officer suffered minor injuries, he said. Both were released from hospital after treatment.
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