Woman Cuffed, Arrested for Not Holding Escalator Handrail


The Globe and Mail
May 19, 2009

MONTREAL — Anyone who has ridden an escalator and bothered to pay attention has seen – and likely ignored – little signs suggesting riders hold the grimy handrail.

[efoods]In Montreal’s subway system, the friendly advice seems to have taken on the force of law, backed by a $100 fine.

Bela Kosoian, a 38-year-old mother of two, says when she didn’t hold the handrail Wednesday she was cuffed, dragged into a small holding cell and fined.

“It was horrible, disgusting behaviour [by police],” said Ms. Kosoian, a 38-year-old student of international law. “I did nothing wrong. They should go find the guys who stole my tires off the balcony.”

Ms. Kosoian, who studies at the Université du Québec à Montreal, was riding an escalator down to catch a 5:30 p.m. subway from the suburb of Laval to an evening class downtown when she started rifling through her backpack looking for a fare.

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