Occupiers arrested during the eviction of Victoria Park in Montreal have been branded with ultraviolet ink. They claim that the ink cannot be washed off and causes skin irritation. Police told the Canadian news service CTV that it was the best way to prevent people from reoccupying the park.
Canadian legal advisers say that the marking of individuals is illegal without their consent. Occupiers reported that the application of the ink felt like a sharp nail being dragged across their skin. Ultraviolet ink has a history of causing irritation, rashes, and blistering according to tattoo experts. The phosphorus in such inks may be linked to certain kinds of cancer.
One of the protesters who was branded by the ink said on facebook:
I began to worry and wonder what exactly did they do to me that prompted them to lie to me… it really was not a fun feeling. when I spoke about what happened a few hours later to a friend and my partner, the idea came about that perhaps it was something they used as a way to identify me.
This morning we tested my hands under a black light and sure enough there was a number 2! The freaky thing is this is IN my skin, washing my hands and scrubbing with abrasives will not get this off…. perhaps in several months of my skin cells renewing themselves if will eventually fade.
What ever ink that is in there is irritating my skin slightly and its a very terrible feeling that they put a substance in my body with out my consent and then later lied about it. This is a semi permanent alteration they did to me, if I go anywhere now with a black light this will show!
Branding is an ancient tactic in use since roman times. It was used both as a tactic of humiliation, as the brands could not be removed, and was also used to help identify repeat offenders. Military deserters, runaway slaves, and adulterers were all subject to branding by various governmental bodies. Britain, and Canada by extent, abolished branding in 1879.