Quebec protests reach rowdy new level (with updates in comments)

Quebec protests reach rowdy new level (with updates in comments)

Students in Quebec have been on strike since February. They have been upset about Premier Jean Charest's plan to add $1,625 to the annual cost of post-secondary education by 2016. But during Friday's confrontations, protesters signaled that the unrest was about more than university fees — it was about the general direction of the province.

From the Metro

MONTREAL – A spring of discontent in Quebec characterized by images of red-clad student protesters took on a darker tone Friday as downtown streets were disrupted by scenes of increasingly intense civil unrest.

Demonstrators hurled projectiles from rocks to flower pots in Montreal, committing vandalism outdoors and interrupting different political events indoors. Some vandals even tossed rocks from an overpass onto a busy downtown expressway, police said.

Riot police fought back by swinging batons and firing rubber bullets into the crowd.

There were no reports of any injuries on the expressway, though at least six people were slightly hurt — including four police officers — in a long day of demonstrations.

Provincial police were called in as local officers struggled to handle crowds that disrupted two separate events, including one featuring Premier Jean Charest and, to a lesser extent, one involving federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

There had already been warnings that some students saw their daily protests as more than a fight against tuition increases. Some had taken to referring to the demonstrations as Quebec’s “Maple Spring,” in a rhetorical nod to broader protest movements elsewhere in the world.

That point was repeatedly driven home Friday by protesters who signalled that the unrest was about more than university fees — it was about the general direction of the province.

“It’s not just the tuition increase,” said Alexis Remartini, 18, who took a 60-kilometre bus trip from St-Hyacinthe to attend the protest.

“The movement has grown to include other things we don’t agree with.”

Friday’s most chaotic scene unfolded at a high-profile Charest event, as projectiles and tear gas rained on what was supposed to be the premier’s political parade.

The symposium on the premier’s signature northern-development plan was to have served, some pundits speculated, as a springboard into a provincial election. No vote date has been set.

Charest’s lunchtime speech on his Plan Nord was delayed by 45 minutes after protesters managed to bust into the Palais des congres convention centre.

Protesters made it within a flight of stairs of where the luncheon was being held. They were met with a line of riot police, who eventually removed them from the building.

The premier made it clear he had no intention of backing down from his tuition hikes, or from his northern-development plans.

Charest even joked about the protesters during his speech: “Maybe those knocking on the door this morning, we can offer them jobs,” he said, to laughter. “In the north, if possible.”

Outside, there were scenes of virtual anarchy.

While some protesters hurled objects and built barricades in the street with construction materials they’d found, police fought them off — at one point firing chemical irritants right into one young man at nearly point-blank range.

Seventeen people were arrested as police announced over a loudspeaker that the protest was being declared an illegal assembly.

Demonstrators left a scene of destruction in their wake as they weaved through the downtown streets, backing up traffic. Garbage cans were overturned and trash strewn about. At least three police cars had their back window smashed, and a window at a main entrance to the convention centre was also broken.

Nicolas Moran, 21-year-old law student at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, was one of the students who had earlier managed to get into the building.

He had a gash on his forehead and blood on his shirt.

“I wasn’t doing anything violent,” he said. “A police officer hit me over the head… But I doubt the education minister will denounce violence from police.”

Well behind schedule, Charest finally began a speech that some had expected might serve as a precursor to an election, which the premier must call by late next year.

Charest earned a standing ovation as he walked on stage.

After thanking the crowd for its patience, the premier quickly slipped into his prepared text and described northern development as an inter-generational project deeply embedded in Quebecers’ “DNA,” sharing his own family history with the north.

He said the plan, which focuses on mining and energy production, would help create thousands of new jobs and “move Quebec forward.”

Speaking with reporters afterward, Charest insisted he will not back down on $325-a-year tuition hikes that will raise fees 75 per cent over five years. Even with the increase, Quebec would still have among the lowest tuition rates in the country.

While police said Friday’s worst vandalism was not necessarily tied to tuition protests and was possibly the work of other troublemakers, Charest stuck to a familiar script.

The premier focused his response to the events on his preferred political target: the most radical student protest group, whose acronym is C.L.A.S.S.E. Opinion polls have been unkind to the premier lately, but the latest surveys suggest there is some sympathy for his position on tuition fees.

Charest has been refusing to negotiate with the C.L.A.S.S.E. because the group has avoided taking a stance against violent forms of protest.

“The social disruption is unacceptable,” Charest told reporters after his speech.

“I’ve had ministers’ offices ransacked. We’ve had ministers who have had tanks of gas put on the grounds of their homes. Molotov cocktails in front of their offices. Death threats.

“And they refuse to condemn violence? In 2012, in Quebec? That’s unacceptable.”

Also looming in the backdrop are conflict-of-interest and ethics scandals dogging Charest’s government.

His latest headache stems from an investigative report that a well-connected political organizer has been peddling cash-for-access schemes related to the Plan Nord.

Charest’s goal is to develop a 1.2-million-square kilometre stretch of the province’s north over the next 25 years. Charest has said it will create 500,000 jobs, though his claims have been met with skepticism from opponents who call the plan everything from a marketing gimmick to a sellout of Quebec’s resources.

An investigative show on the French-language CBC showed a provincial Liberal organizer — and onetime prominent organizer for the Harper Tories — discussing the Plan Nord while being surreptitiously videotaped.

That organizer, Pierre Coulombe, was videotaped suggesting to reporters, who pretended to be potential clients, that they could have access to Plan Nord decision-makers for a fee.

Instead of handing cash-filled envelopes to political insiders, he suggested clients should simply promise them multi-year jobs on their departure from politics.

He indicated such jobs might pay them about $25,000 annually and require that they attend only one meeting a year while being sent on occasional business trips to Europe.

Not far from Charest’s event, an announcement by the federal immigration minister was also interrupted by two protesters who had bought tickets to his speech.

As Kenney began his speech, they twice shouted that his immigration reforms would destroy people’s lives. They were both quickly escorted out of the hotel room.

Kenney was in Montreal to announce, in his latest immigration policy reform, that people must prove they can speak English or French to gain Canadian citizenship.

Comments

Fleur
Apr 21 2012 23:37

I've been massively impressed by the students' organisation -they've been bringing the city to a standstill for weeks and show no sign of letting up.
As the article alluded, there is massive corruption here, not just at the provincial level, but at municipal levels in Montreal and the boroughs. I've found it interesting that the students have chosen to widen their protests beyond the tuition hikes to the Plan Nord, which has all the makings of another cash grab by developers with close ties to the Liberal party and another example of exploiting resources in Northern Quebec, without any serious consultation with the native people who live there.

Harrison
Apr 22 2012 00:18

thans for posting this! really interesting stuff

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 22 2012 04:04

Pretty intense footage

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 22 2012 04:10

From ANTIDÉVELOPPEMENT

Montreal, April 20th: from student strike to class war?
A brief insider’s report on the April 20th Plan Nord protest

This was overall a great day of fighting, even though it wasn’t all victorious. From the very first moments, it could be felt that we were set to totally seize the day, and this was showing in black blocs serenely chanting and joking as they were dressing/gearing up. The Native spirit of the Earth was in us; harmonious, even in our drive towards disorder.

All thanks to the incompetence of Montreal’s fascist police force (only efficient at ganging up on individual street people) and the careless, mindless nihilo-capitalism of the political establishment, this April 20th’s protest against the corporate Plan Nord, a huge development plan aiming at robbing and raping roughly 70% of the Great North’s wilderness -through mining and hydroelectric development, mainly- has turned into the havoc that tons of student strikers and radicals alike were waiting for, deep inside.

(As a side note, the protest was also doubled with an attempt at an action against a speech by the white supremacist Minister of Immigration Jason Kinney at the Marriott Hotel, in his defense of the new Bill C-31, aimed at further restricting the possibility for refugees, especially Roma, at gaining a political refugee status. As thousands of Roma are currently being targeted by racist pogroms and labor camps under Hungary’s neonazi regime, this is a direct equivalent to the restrictive immigration policies of most Western democracies during World War 2, which facilitated the Holocaust.)

Sabotaging and street-fighting among what it’s been a high-place of urban gentrification and pacification, the protesters of many different allegiances stormed the streets together and turned the opening of the Plan Nord conference at the Palais des Congrès into a microcosm of the ongoing class war, up against capitalism’s biggest, most violent push towards a new wave of colonization of Turtle Island’s land. This indicated how widespread and strong the awareness and opposition to corporate industrial development has grown.

Shit finally hits the fan

Outside, battles have taken place between Police forces and rioters, successively going back and forth, where protesters made and extensive use of the (in)famous black bloc tactic of the “disperse and regroup later”, thus creating a tense fight and machine of mass destruction of order for the whole afternoon. It started with the total destruction of one of the main entrances of the Palais, by massive paint-bombing and throwing of rocks, where the police took cover for a while, same place where they’d first started the fight by shooting a protester right in the face with a CS canister gun.

In the meantime, some protesters were able to slip inside the gigantic, futuristic, bleached out, building of the Palais to get near the place where the conference was happening, but were pushed back at the last minute by riot cops. The battle inside and outside has succeeded to delay PM Jean Charest’s speech for about 45 minutes and he was forced to skip the promo photo shots at the beginning.

Then as the fights spread, fronts of many offices and businesses for the rich elite in the area were rampaged, including the World Trade Center building, with its facade being successively spray-painted (a red “A” was sprayed right on the “W” logo at the main entrance, with “Plan Mort” next to it) and then windows-smashed. Gloating aside, there were several arrests (authorities report only a dozen, while student/activist orgs are reporting a few dozens), a few protesters got shot with tear gas cannons and beaten by goons, but a few cops were also injured in the scuffles, that turned at some point into a storm of thrown rocks, pieces of pavement and whatever was found relevant to be thrown at the violent, yet scared police.

In the face of the savage fury -first verbal and then more physical- of many protesters, the disorganization of the police troops grew rampant, while generalized fear could be clearly observed among their ranks, especially as different swarms of protesters were smashing order at many places at the same time. They were not just suddenly overwhelmed, but losing their faces as the “scarecrows”, especially into people’s minds, just as more and more ordinary pedestrians were massing around and being treated just like the rest of the protesters. About the same kind of people to whom these corporate promoters/profiteers inside were trying to hand out a big, empty, carrot of promises, the increasingly frustrated proletariat was now being imposed the primitive, repressive, mind-warped argument of the stick. But so it seems, there are more and more people not buying into this one.

Strangely, as the street battle was still unfolding between the walls of the financial center of downtown, screams and flash grenades being muffled out by the ordinary traffic noise, non-life was still relatively flowing as usual elsewhere in the area, with only the helicopters from the provincial police preying above like vultures as a faint signal of “something big” happening somewhere, added by the war-like radio reports of total mayhem happening at the Palais des Congrès… stuff that only proles would dream of in their wildest dreams. Perhaps they’re just waiting for a bunch of black blocs to show up and show them the way to liberation from their slavery?

There is another day of protest today against the Salon du Plan Nord, and huge marches are set to be held, tomorrow, for Earth Day, so more updates may be flowing in soon, here and elsewhere. For live video coverage of the events, like the other student protests, have a look at CUTV Montreal.

For the liberation of the Earth… in the streets!

translated from an insider’s report… for English-speaking visitors, and as a protest gesture against the RRQ, a Quebec nationalist political group, casting a shadow on Native protesters by attempting to recycle today’s demonstration

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 22 2012 04:13
Khawaga
Apr 22 2012 05:15

And in Ontario... nothing. I can't for the life of me understand the difference in the level of militancy from Quebec to Ontario. Sure in Quebec there is a history of struggle, but still. It's just dead here.

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 22 2012 05:21

Don't wait for struggle.... ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!

Chilli Sauce
Apr 22 2012 10:43

Yeah, thanks for posting this. I hadn't heard anything about it!

Khawaga wrote:
And in Ontario... nothing. I can't for the life of me understand the difference in the level of militancy from Quebec to Ontario. Sure in Quebec there is a history of struggle, but still. It's just dead here.

The French influence, clearly wink

Caiman del Barrio
Apr 22 2012 11:20

Seems kinda reminiscent of Chile last year, especially with the broadening of the struggle to include wider social/ecological issues (in Chile's case it was the privatisation of the copper industry).

Khawaga
Apr 22 2012 16:53
Quote:
Don't wait for struggle.... ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish it was that easy.

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 23 2012 01:25

From Sabotagemedia

Riots and street battles in the financial district of Montreal during the Plan Nord job fair (w/ pics & vidz)

Today, April 20th, was the start of the Salon de l’emploi du Plan Nord at the Palais des congrès [the main conference center in Montreal] as two demos were called to disrupt the unfolding of this government propaganda operation where notably the prime minister Charest was to put on his little show promoting his industrial megaproject of destruction (forestry, mining, dams, infrastructure, etc.) of northern so called Quebec, one of few places on Earth where there still remains wild untouched areas.

A demo called by the CLASSE (the main student coalition in the ongoing Quebec student strike) gathering over 1000 people headed toward the Palais des congrès. With the repressive apparatus already deployed, around noon a group was able to enter the first floor through an inside parking lot and tried to get to the second floor where the Fair was taking place. The cops pushed some people down the stairs. A scuffle with the cops and some vandalism followed as the prime gangster Charest was to do his clown thing. The cops finally pushed people back out. Later, after being set back by the events, Charest gave his speech with an introduction now making its rounds in the media; “To all those who were knocking on our door this morning, we have jobs to offer the furthest north possible.” The veil of political hypocrisy is thinning, not because of the already obvious joke that is democracy, but because we can now see clearly what the “North” represents in the mind of the spokesperson of the rapacious; a place far away, which they feel disconnected from, that they don’t give a shit about who live there or whatever goes on there as long as their bank accounts keep growing. Why not construct gulags while were at it.
Meanwhile another demo called by many groups on anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, environmentalist and eco-anarchist basis gathered a few hundred people and left square Phillips stopping at various places implicated in the pillage of the north, like the Hydro-Québec offices where Innu women were also gathered to recall the colonialist assault by the State and its institutions against their communities. Many texts were distributed like this one (in french).

When news came that shit had started at the Palais des congrès, part of the the demo broke off to bring reinforcements. Over there, as people were gathered in front of one of the entries, a youth who was close to the doors got shot with gas at point-blank and shortly after this people attacked the doors throwing paint bombs and busting its windows. A riot squad came to disperse the crowd and the street battles started. For the rest of the day mobile groups attacked in waves and stirred shit around the Palais des congrès and financial district of Montreal, raising barricades with anything around, pelting the cops with rocks, making them back up many times, the cops shooting rubber bullets and constantly throwing their new flashbang grenades. The official assessment from the cops is 17 arrests and six injured, four of those being cops, but we strongly suspect the number of people injured to be much higher being the level of armament and brutal force used by the pigs from the beginning of the day. The Fair was finally canceled in the afternoon but no one was allowed to enter already from noon on. The disruption was a success.

There was graffiti, attacks on CCTV cameras, a dozen cop cars and media, and many places had their windows busted, notably the Montreal World Trade Center which was attacked on three sides, banks and some luxury hotels. As windows were shattered the crowd applauded and sometimes cheered “C’est pas des pacifistes qui vont changer l’histoire! On pitche des pavés pis on brûle des chars!” [Its not pacifists who will change history! We throw pavement and we burn cars! - transl. Lyrics from a song by local band Mise en Demeure]. The fighting spirit was clear.

The experience of crowds unleashing uncontrollably in the streets in front of such a brutal enemy as the State, Capital and their mercenaries, that moment where we take back our lives, where we free ourselves from morality, fear and the identities imposed on us, cant be stopped around a table of negotiations, isn’t the start of nor will die with a movement: It is to be alive, free and wild!

It has been almost 40 years since the slogan No Future became the standard bearer of a generation, now its of the whole planet. The world they impose on us is decaying, it wasn’t made to last, and while they are accumulating whats left, during this last big liquidation sale, their last big pillage, while they are pushing and fucking us up against the wall, as they want us paralyzed in the trauma of this ongoing generalized rape, even after centuries of denaturation imposed through force around the globe: We still know how to bite back!

pics:










vidz:

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 23 2012 01:37

From GRÈVE MONTRÉAL

BEST 4/20 EVAR! – report on the perturbing of leur salon

we receive and transmit

Everyone likes to claim that, on whatever stupid day that something interesting might have happened, a movement was born. It’s a cliché that ignores everything that happened leading up to it, all of the years of hard work and small struggles that don’t capture the imagination like broken glass and tear gas, and so I’m a little embarrassed that the way I feel right now, as I’m writing this and barely back to my normal frame of mind, is that Friday, April 20, might have been the beginning of an actual anti-capitalist social movement in Montréal, such that I haven’t seen before in all the time I’ve lived here.

Questions of semantics should be clarified now. What is a social movement? It’s not something that needs to be defined too precisely, but a movement is a force, which is to say that it has an impact. It does not need any ideological unity, and it’s safe to say that the key difference between a movement and other things is its absence of unity, which may or may not be replaced with communication. It’s a word that I would sometimes replace with the word struggle, too, probably for no reason other than aesthetics. And so when I think of Montréal, I can think of the student movement (or struggle), the often promising struggle against police, the movements in solidarity with Palestinians or indigenous people or Wikileaks, the movement for social housing, and others. None of these, even when they are full of anti-capitalists (as several of them are) and when their rhetoric is anti-capitalist, meets the criteria of an anti-capitalist movement – and this is even true of the nascent movement against austerity and cutbacks. For its part, the student movement in strike mode has become something of a platform for other fights, but all of this has been a sideshow to the big issue. Up till now, every demo and every action is about something. On April 20, it was about everything.

Two of the three demonstrations that started just before noon were about Plan Nord, the government’s program to turn the largely pristine land that the British stole from indigenous people and Canada later gave to Québec into an industrial gigaproject on the scale of Alberta’s tar sands development. Plan Nord, along with the development of shale gas in the Saint Lawrence river valley, is the plan to save Québec’s capitalist economy and avert a crisis in capitalism – at least for a few decades longer. It represents a continuation and intensification of industrial capitalism. It is the precise kind of future we need to fight. The fact that this issue is so totalizing, affecting every aspect of our society, is not the reason that things went the way that they did – but it does mean that this was one of the better fights for us to choose to step things up.

The demo endorsed by CLASSE, the more combative student federation, was the first to reach the Palais des congrès, the large conference centre between the Chinese Quarter and Old Montréal that was host to the Salon Plan Nord – a job fair organized to better sell to better sell the economic benefits of Plan Nord to the public, featuring a speech by the premier himself. There was some disruption inside and lots of disruption outside, i.e. one of the longer pitched battles that has happened between street fighters and the police in a very long time. The western side of the Palais, particularly at the intersection of avenue Viger and rue de Bleury, was the perfect location for demonstrators to seize and hold the streets while causing the police a headache. Going west along Viger from the intersection, the street is flanked on either side by an empty concrete park with a fountain on the south and a carpark on a bit of a hill to the north. Whenever the police made the attempt to clear the street, people would run backwards along avenue Viger, but also into the park and especially the carpark where the cars provided good cover from plastic bullets. There were two few riot cops and too many people and too much space for any attempt at kettling to be successful. All in all, it lasted for at least two hours.

At one point, in fact, the riot cops sallied forth to clear the streets for what was probably the third time, and very soon they found themselves kettled and pelted with whatever materials were available. This one moment, where the police were surrounded on all sides and clearly expressing fear, boosted morale greatly, even if we weren’t numerous or armoured enough to actually hold them when they made a desperate run back to the safety of the Palais. Later on, after the battle at this intersection was over, a line of unarmoured cops ran for their lives away from a swarm of angry people who had, by this point, already been peppersprayed and gassed and shot and hit with batons. They took safety behind a line of riot cops that was running to meet them and push back against the crowd. Later on still, the demo found itself finally much further away from the conference centre and much closer to the police headquarters for Montréal. Not much time was wasted before groups of people ran from the demo into the parking lot and broke the windows of the police cruisers. All of this in broad daylight.

It is actually impossible to speak of everything that happened at this juncture, but Le Journal de Montréal is reporting that at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown at police forces, that there were multiple instance of commercial windows broken around the city, that there was graffiti, and that at least eight cops were injured in the course of the day’s events. At least some of the vandalism occurred a few blocks away from the Palais de congrès before the battle got really intense there, at the demonstration endorsed by No One is Illegal against federal immigration minister Jason Kenney’s appearance in town and the further intensification of border controls proposed by the Conservatives in Ottawa.

There are at least two very important strategic lessons to be learned from this.

#1. Hiding amongst the cars in a parking lot can be a very good idea.

#2. It is frequently not a good idea to go to these sorts of things on the second day. Although there was no property destruction, the police were much more heavy-handed in their response to demonstrators on the second day of the job fair. The shitty weather, as the well as the sheer and almost universally surprising intensity of the day before, meant that not many people came, and it’s clear that the police wanted to show what they were capable of doing this time. This seems to follow a pattern: after Saturday of the G20 summit in Toronto, or going back a little further after “N30” during 1999′s Battle in Seattle, the repression was stepped up. Worth keeping in mind.

A few weeks ago, CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois commented that education could be funded with the revenues from Plan Nord. This was, understandably, rejected by most anarchists, and some of us were quick to dismiss CLASSE activists as lacking a good analysis of the situation, even those far from the leadership positions. Today’s events may lead us to change our minds, but we shouldn’t do so too quickly. This is, for many people, a fight against the government of Jean Charest and the plan to exploit the resources of the North to reinvigorate a neoliberal capitalist economy, but it is perhaps a fight for a different government that would use those same resources to save the Québécois welfare state and prolong the existence of capitalism that way. The fact that people are using tactics typically associated with us troublemaking anarchists doesn’t mean that they are adopting our essential ideas; it does mean, however, that we (whether us in Montréal, or us everywhere) have been influential.

On the side of tactics, there are a lot of ideas that still need to be spread. Generally speaking, people need to understand that they need to be prepared to do certain things, whether that means wearing a mask while vandalizing a police car or making sure to only throw shit from the front so it doesn’t hurt bystanders or comrades. At many points today in particular, shields would have been useful, and this is a shame because shields have been making a regular appearance at demos throughout the strike. It also needs to become better understood that, when bystanders in business suits who fancy themselves heroes attack demonstrators, it is perfectly appropriate that people should do what is necessary to make them let go of their target. The notion that we don’t always have to run from police is also something that needs to spread, but it could certainly be helped if people started to carry things heavier than bamboo rods and plywood. Anarchists often count among the more experienced street fighters in a given population, for obvious reasons, but the question is how can we socialize this information and see these tactics taken up by everyone?

We also need to figure out a way to create a strategy in the midst of hectic moments like these. This battle lasted long enough, and it included enough people, that it would have made sense to call for a spokescouncil and take a little bit of time to hash out some ideas. At no point was the intersection of rues de la Gauchetière and Saint-Alexandre, for example, threatened by the police. It was, in some ways, a gathering location for demonstrators pushed back by police offensives and needing to find friends. Given how long the fight was, it may have made sense for some people to call a meeting and determine what people could do to intelligently disrupt the conference, rather than doing their best to follow the mood and proclivities of what was still a very fickle crowd. This would have been the sensible place, for example, to determine that we should lure the riot cops out from their hiding place once again and then have a large crowd burst out from the carpark and break through the windows of the Palais. Or we could have assessed if there were supplies that we needed from elsewhere, if we thought that we could hold our ground long enough for those supplies to be obtained, and whatever else. For example, after a few hours of fighting, it was clear that many people were hungry and dehydrated, and so this kind of spokescouncil would have been the place to actually see to it that these needs could be addressed. Looking back on it, we had all the time in the world – we evidently had all of the SPVM’s available riot cops tied up, and it was hours before they were able to call in the Sûreté du Québec to back them up – and a spokescouncil, which is basically another way to say a general assembly, could have been more useful than any single other one of the general assemblies that have taken place in the course of the strike thus far.

When it comes to ideas, the most important thing for us to remember is that what people do, what people desire, and what people think are often very contradictory. If an insurrection ever happens in this city, it will not include only people who think more or less like us, but also the people who comprise the vast majority of society, i.e. people who are in many different ways fucked up or misguided. Many of the people who were throwing rocks yesterday might say that what they want is an independent and social-democratic Québec, or perhaps they are hardcore Marxist-Leninists who believe in authoritarian revolution, and it’s all too likely that some think that 9/11 was an inside job. None of these discourses are desirable, but it is unrealistic to think that a genuine insurrection – the flower that, if well-tended and kept safe from the pestilence of the state, our seed of an anti-capitalist movement will turn into – will ever happen in this city without the participation of people who harbour the previously discussed ideas.

Insurrections can be good or bad. As but one example, when the insurrection against Muammar Gaddafi led to pogroms against sub-Saharan African (i.e. black) people in Libya with a large participation, that was very bad. It was bad in a different way that the revolutions in North Africa could be cast as revolutions for the implementation of democracy. To make sure that the flower that blooms here is a good one, it is key that we continue to spread anarchist ideas and not let them be silenced. As much as it seems that we already produce a lot of propaganda, we need to step it up. This is more important than pretending for half a moment that we can shut down all the boring, distracting, and strategically/historically bankrupt discourses that pollute the anti-capitalist movement at this time. We should be confident that our ideas – which emphasize the importance of freedom, of standing up to oppression and fighting back, and maybe even a chance at adventure and happiness in an increasingly miserable world – are more seductive than those we are sometimes going to rub shoulders with on the streets and elsewhere.

(Of course, there are some ideas for us to try and silence. Fascists, many of whom call themselves anti-capitalist these days and have taken up some of the causes of which we are fond, are trying to become a part of this movement too. We should fuck them up at every opportunity.)

There’s no point in trying to be conclusive, because this ain’t over, not even hardly. It should be noted that, closer to 4:00 pm, people started marching towards parc Jeanne-Mance on the eastern slope of the mountain. A day like that deserves a few victory joints to top it off, after all.

- one more anarchist, April 21, 2012

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 24 2012 04:50
wojtek
Apr 25 2012 07:26

The Biggest Student Uprising You’ve Never Heard Of

Plenty of video coverage from Concordia University Television here .

Extensive strike news at The McGuill Daily.

An English language news feed including photographs on Facebook here.

Latest: Several high schools have voted to join the strike for a few days.

wojtek
Apr 27 2012 03:39

15,000 march in Montreal while government block negotiations. Simon Abdela wrote on the News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike Facebook Page:

'Negotiations that started 2 days ago were stopped an hour ago (around 21:15), when minister Beauchamp excluded the CLASSE (representing half the striking students) from negotiations for not respecting a fake and ridiculous 'cease-fire' (treve in french) between students and government. The three other student associations, in a feeling of solidarity, also left the negotiation table. The ground is going to shake in Montreal tonight.'

What follows is an account of the Montreal protest:

Quote:
Montreal - I was at last night’s demonstration in Montreal. What was most impressive was that 15,000 people showed up to a night demo, knowing that there was a certainty of brutal police repression, but they showed up anyway. It was without a doubt the most intense demonstration I’ve ever been to: but its been par for the course for people here in Montreal, and they keep showing up in the streets, day after day.

I showed up in the park around 8:45, having been adopted by some awesome Quebecois militants (this is not the kind of demo you want to go to by yourself), I was shocked at the amount of people. They weren’t just students either, there were many grey heads in the crowd, workers, people of all ages, showing the broad base of support the student movement has. With the recent history of police violence, everyone there knew with a certainty that this demonstration was going to get bad, and that they were risking a beating or an arrest or worse simply by showing up. And yet they were there, in solidarity with each other, in the dark.

The march took off, heading under an overpass. You really felt the size of the crowd once it was on the move*. Montreal seems to have a much better protest culture than Toronto (or maybe its developed it over the past months) with spirited chants and songs arising from the crowd. “A- A- Anti capitaliste” was common, as was the French version of “whose street? our streets. You saw many red flags everywhere, and of course everyone had a red square, but I only saw two Quebec flags in the entire protest.

The night demo, called by a subsection of the militant student union CLASSE, came after an earlier CLASSE demonstration during the day which involved a few thousands people, mostly students (see Tim McSorely of the MMC's post for the political background to last night's protest). Notably, the afternoon demonstration had no ‘violence’ of any sort- because the cops left it along, tailing behind the protesters in vans but not showing their presence march or attacking the protest.

This was not to be the case in the night. As the march continued, tensions began to rise and some in the crowd started to pull bandana’s over their faces in anticipation of tear gas (many did not however). The demonstration still had not been called illegal. But nothing happened yet: there was an air of nervous tension, everyone knew what was coming and was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Would the police really tangle with such a large crowd? Protesters shot off one or two fireworks into the air. The militant demo on Friday had been about 2000, although some people had dropped off over the past hour or so of marching (mainly the older people) it wasn’t many and the crowd was still over 10,000 ( I didn’t do a serious crowd estimate at this point, but it didn’t seem that we were losing that many).

As we walked down Ste. Catherine’s street the march slowed to halt. Suddenly we could see tear gas glistening in the streetlights ahead, and before that had time to register ‘BOOM’, ‘BOOM’. The police shot their explosives at us. I was some distance, maybe 100 meters, from the explosions, but they were really scary, not just for me but for the whole crowd who has been dealing with this for weeks. They reminded me of the artillery simulators with a quarter stick of dynamite we used to use in the army (but at a safe distance in training on each other- I know the cops have no such concern the safety of protesters as we did back when we threw artillery stimulators near our friends). The crowd, despite being experienced militants all started to run panic, we were simultaneously running away from the explosions and urging each other to slow down, the same people doing both things. I hugged one of my comrades and our small group of four all grabbed each other to stick together as our section of the crowd headed away from Ste. Catherine’s

I couldn’t hear it at the time but if you watch the CUTV footage (and you should- CUTV reporters have been bravely throwing themselves into the thick of the protests day after day) the police then announce the demonstration is illegal, after having shot the tear gas and explosives at the protesters. They then pepper spray the CUTV reporters and even the camera after they try to film police brutality. Reports from comrades say that at the same time, people at the rear of the march were attacked by police with clubs and beaten badly. (Montreal police now carry extra long clubs that look about 3 ft long, which they didn’t have before the student strike)

Our section of the march ended up being about 200 people, which was too small. We tried to avoid kettleing and then ended up trying to hold an intersection at one point, but there just weren’t enough people for the number of cars and the mini-section started dissolving in every direction. We ended up walking on the sidewalk for a long while trying to see if any significant group of people had stayed together, it seemed that there were small crowds of few hundred or so everywhere. It seems that this was a common experience, the march in general seems to have split at this point.

Some windows were broken, but it appeared to me to be very targeted, almost all bank windows. And as a justification for police violence against eight or nine thousand people, collective punishment for a dozen or so broken windows and a few knocked over garbage cans is a pretty thin excuse anyway. What you won’t ever see on mainstream TV is people pouring water into the eyes of comrades injured from pepper spray, or walking from safety right into a demonstration that’s being attacked. CUTV even showed a protester in a hoodie putting the garbage back into a garbage can even as he marched.

The violence last night was by the police.

We walked around for some time trying to find a demonstration of significant size- occasionally we found one but the road was always blocked off by riot cops. At about midnight at St. Denis and Maisonnueve a greyhound bus almost ran over several protesters, turning left through the intersection at an unsafe speed. And then the demonstration found us, marching up St. Denis, there was a big crowd of 1000 people, still together, still marching after about 4 hours of serious demonstrations.

It was shortly after this that I started to feel exhausted and I left the march with a friend from the Media Co-op, saying goodbye to the comrades who had stuck with me all night even though we’d just met. CUTV reported that part of the crowd I was with got split off and kettled and mainstream media reports 82 arrests. There are many more injuries, from shrapnel from the explosive devices, from beatings and from tear gas and pepper spray. We’ll never get accurate numbers on that. Twitter reported that people were being arrested in the Metro as well.

That was my experience last night in Montreal as a visitor from Toronto. I’m heading back to Toronto tomorrow to help organize for Mayday, because the best solidarity is organizing on your own ground. I hold the greatest respect for the people here who have been facing this throughout the ten week long strike and continue to come out in greater numbers, defying the police and the state in a brave stand against austerity capitalism. I wish them the best of luck in the critical few weeks to come.

*It's difficult to do estimates of the size, La Presse originally reported 12,000 people last night, but Radio Canada (CBC in Quebec) said 3000-4000 which was clearly a ridiculous underestimate. Montreal Media Co-op estimates 15,000.

Montreal Demonstration “Turned Violent” When Police Shot Explosives at Us: Front-Line Account of April 25th Montreal Student Demo

Two more articles here:

Fifteen thousand take to Montreal streets as Quebec government plays semantics, blocks negotiations

Quote:
Many marchers have taken to calling these events the, "Quebec Spring," or, "Maple Spring," casting their cause as part of a broader, international Occupy-style fight for a new economic order. A number who marched in Montreal this week also demanded the resignation of Premier Jean Charest — or general elections.

"A lot of people have stopped calling it a student movement; now it's a social movement, and I think that it affects people in a much deeper way than just tuition fees," said Catherine Cote-Ostiguy, a French literature master's student at McGill University.

Another French literature student at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Martin Gendron, added: "The whole protest is against the neoconservative and neoliberal point of view of doing politics... People in Quebec are using this movement as a means of venting against the current government."

Quebec Student Strike: Montreal's Riotous Night Leaves A Mess After Government Talks Break Down

Some brilliant pictures taken by photographer Toma Iczkovits. More on his Facebook page here:

Regarding solidarity actions...

Over 200 Gatineau Students Rally in Quebec Solidarity Strike Action: UQO students snake-march late into Hull evening

A post from the News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike Facebook Page:

Quote:
A day of solidarity in Ontario and Quebec with the student strike:

Over 1000 red squares were handed out and many are currently being worn at Pearson Airport, in Toronto. Members of all three airline unions participated.

Teaching Assistants and community members also handed out red squares both downtown London (Ontario) and at the different campus locations at Western University.

Campus workers at McMaster University covered the campus in flyers calling for solidarity with the strike and for a fighting movement in Ontario.

In Montreal, three different marches descended on Museum of Fine Arts where ACE shareholders were meeting. These three marches included groups of Students, Community Groups, and Airline Workers. Over 250 union workers marched together in one column.

Across the Quebec and Canada, there was a coordinated 1 minute work stoppage— standing up, stopping answering phones & putting on red squares—that occurred at Air Canada call centre-employees at 11am EST this morning.

There was more solidarity actions today (Wednesday) and there is more coming tonight.

wojtek
Apr 27 2012 04:46

Meanwhile the BBC with all their huge resources have only just caught up and produced this prioritising TEH VYLUNCE!111!

Edit: Has anyone seen any news coverage of the protests in the UK media or is there a blackout? I just did a Lexis Nexis search of UK publications from 20th April of 'quebec' and 'students' and found nothing, similarly 'canada' and 'students'. I couldn't find anything either on the websites of the Guardian, Independent or the Telegraph...

Fleur
Apr 27 2012 15:41

Don't be so silly, of course the British media won't report on the situation in Quebec, as long as there's a Middleton or a Kardashian to report upon. The only coverage it will get is if some hapless British tourist accidentally wanders in front of a stun grenade.
To be honest, the national media in Canada isn't joining up the dots either. They are focussing on the tuition fees, and can't make the connection between that and an ambient fury, especially in Montreal, where there is a level of dissatisfaction with just about everything you can name, across all sections of the public. There is an appalling amount of corruption, the city is literally falling to pieces ( the main road bridge onto the island of Montreal was officially declared to be in a state where it could "fall down at any time." ) The press does't seem to see that the "jobs for the boys" Plan Nord is really pissing off people who can't get to see doctors, whose kids go to schools which are full of mould, who have to live with crumbling infrastructure and I could go on and on, but people are very unhappy here in Quebec. Even the most mild-tempered liberals are as mad as hell. Throw in the way Air Canada fucked over the Aveos workers, who were laid off and didn't get get their pay or employment records, so they could claim any unemployment benefits, for weeks, in a city dependent on the aircraft business and some of the highest unemployment in the country, and you are talking about a situation which far transcends tuition hikes. But as far the media in English speaking Canada is seeing it, it's just uppity Quebeckers with a sense of entitlement making a fuss again.

wojtek
May 1 2012 12:57

Some photographs of direct democracy in action through March/ April student assemblies:

More here.

A photo uploaded from Montreal, Quebec on Saturday (28th April) which I assume was taken during the same day. The CLASSE banner reads: "Dirty sexist hike"

Photgraphs from that evening when 4,000 people took to the streets in Montreal are here. Also a McGill Daily article here which far surpasses my shitty attempts to follow events:

Students reject Quebec government’s offer

On Sunday (29th), Toronto students protested in solidarity with the strike as part of the University is Ours conference.

An inevitable piece critiquing the domestic media's focus on and liberal criticism of students' violence...

Resistance is not violence: Putting property damage and economic disruption in perspective

A brilliant and really extensive article on the strike published here (there have been solidarity actions in Belgium, Paris and Taiwan, see link):

The Québec Student Strike: From ‘Maple Spring’ to Summer Rebellion?

Yesterday (30th April), in a declaration the teachers of the Cegep of Saint-Laurent have among other things demanded the immediate resignation of Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Line Beauchamp and recognised the general assemblies as the prime authority, don't know whether they've followed up their strong rhetoric with any action though.

CLASSE have made a statement calling for a social strike. Some choice paragraphs:

Quote:
...If it is to do this, the student movement cannot remain alone, and must be joined by all of the forces that make up our society and make it live - whether it is the workers in healthcare, education and social services; the workers locked out by Rio Tinto and laid off by Aveos, victims of unfettered capitalism; the casual employees of the Couche-Tard convenience stores, denied the right of association; the women faced with Conservative threats to their rights; the elderly forced to work longer; or the Indigenous peoples seeing a new colonization that pillages the territory remaining to them...

...We must build this social strike from the bottom up, by initiating a discussion in the workplaces on how to desert our day-to-day occupations. Let us call for general meetings in our local unions to discuss the possibility of instituting such a strike.

Let us contact the community groups in our neighborhoods, to hold citizens' assemblies on the social strike. These assemblies are the expression of our capacity to deliberate together and to build a movement that goes beyond the limits established by the elite.

Though the (non-student) union hierarchies are dragging their feet somewhat...

Quote:
Richard Fidler of the Life on the Left blog wrote on the 23rd April:

Where are the unions?

And indeed, the students’ appeals have been supported by a wide array of organizations in civil society. The full list, regularly updated, can be found at the web site 1625$ de hausse, ça ne passe pas. But while all three trade-union centrals support the students and favour free education, they have so far failed to back their rhetoric with economic action – not even the one-day general strike in solidarity with the students promised by the CSN. A petition urging such action by the unions is now gathering mounting support. It urges the union leaders to speak out forcefully, to organize a “national mobilization, beginning perhaps with a one-day symbolic general strike across Quebec” and, if that proves insufficient to defeat the fee hike, to follow it up with stronger solidarity actions.

Yesterday, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), one of the major Quebec union federations, has called on its members to stage symbolic pickets outside their workplaces at lunchtime on 1st May.

On the UK media coverage front, the Guardian have managed to dedicate their first piece to the Quebec student strike here.

wojtek
May 1 2012 22:58

fleurnoire-et-rouge, are you in Quebec? I'm wingin' here tbh...

Day 2 of the University is Ours! conference

and

Quebec scuttles talks with striking students, unveils plan to nearly double tuition fees

The May Day demo in Montreal has started now and has been declared illegal apparently with reports of tear gas and rubber bullets. Shit loads of riots police. Follow the hastag #manifencours on twitter.

Black Bloc taunting police with donuts lol!

Earlier in the day black-clad protestors heckled reformist unions leaders, probably those of FECQ and FEUQ if this interview is anything to go by.

Fleur
May 2 2012 01:48

Wojtek - yeah, in Montreal. For someone who's winging it, you're doing a good job. I've been directing my English friends to libcom, because there's better coverage here than in the British press. I was wondering if I should post something up, but tbh my personal life is an utter trainwreck at the moment, so I'm finding it hard to commit to anything beyond getting through the week. I'm not a student, so I can't give you any inside track, but I can give you some background though.
The education system is different here in Quebec than the rest of Canada. Kid's leave school at 17, but high school isn't of a sufficient enough level to get into uni, so students have to go to college (CEGEP) for 2 or usually 3 years, before university, meaning that post-secondary education to bachelor level takes 6 years. Tuition fees are lower here, but you have to take into consideration that it takes twice as long.
It's hard to discuss anything about Quebec without using the phrase "it's complicated." As long as I live here, I won't fully get it. I'm just an immigrant trying to get a handle on it. And it's hard to explain why Quebec is different from the rest of Canada without a little historical context. Putting aside the nationalism issue, Quebec is more leftward leaning than many other places, as a legacy of having been under very authoritarian, right-wing, one-party rule until the 1960's, with the Catholic church intervening in every aspect of peoples' lives, and massive poverty. After the death of the premier Maurice Duplessis, his rule being a period known as la grande noirceur ( the great darkness), Quebec went through something called the quiet revolution, in which education reform was pivotal, taking Quebec from having the lowest levels of education in the country, to where it is now, about level pegging. People also stopped going to church.
Like everywhere else, most people don't engage very much politically in their everyday lives, but, especially in Montreal, there is a core sense that people will stand and defend their rights, given that they had so few in recent collective memory. Access to decent affordable education is seen as something fundamental. Talking to some younger people, I get the impression that they feel that the generation which gave themselves this right are now taking it away from their children.
On a street level, whenever I've been in the vicinity of the protests, and they have been almost daily since the beginning of march, I've been able to smell the tear gas. The day before this years annual march against police brutality in march (200 arrests) the police called a press conference to show off their weaponry; tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades, some kind of chemical dust they've been firing at people. It's the same weapons they've been using on the student protests. A few weeks ago, a student was blinded in one eye by a stun grenade. Despite the fact that the police, which already have a terrible reputation here already, are seriously tooled up and prepared to use it, there were 10,000 protesters out last night. I'm really impressed with the students, and it's not just about the tuition fees, they've been standing shoulder to shoulder with laid-off aviation workers and the native people of Quebec.
My prediction skills are really shite, I have no idea where this will go eventually. The student movement is not one solid unit and there are schisms. OTOH, there is a lot of dissatisfaction in Quebec on a broad range of issues, so who knows?
I hope that was a bit of useful background, albeit a bit rambling. Quebec is a place which is full of contradictions, but it's a pretty ballsy sort of place. Latest news on the Mayday protests tonight is that there have been 95+ arrests. Maybe it's going to be an interesting summer here.

Fleur
May 2 2012 02:01

BTW, the thing about the May Day protest being declared illegal doesn't mean much. People protest here all the time, and hardly any of them are legal. Even when routes are logged in advance with the police, which isn't that often, protests tend to go in different directions anyway. There's a lot less kettling here. The thing about declaring it illegal is that they cannot open fire until they do.

wojtek
May 2 2012 11:11

Cross post from the May Day thread:

18:21 Montreal time - Protesters meet Montreal Police on the streets downtown:

18:36 - For a moment police were almost overrun at berri square! #1mai #manifencours

In Montreal, students, backed by Quebec’s big unions, gathered outside Premier Jean Charest’s office on McGill College to continue their 12-week fight against tuition hikes, and anti-capitalist anarchists demonstrated near Champs de Mars on the edge of Old Montreal. Photo gallery here.

May Day march turns violent (with video)

Footage of the evening protests from CUTV Montreal here:(recommended!)

http://cutvmontreal.ca/videos/1096

There was a march in Ottowa, Canada in solidarity with those struggling in Quebec:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3515444838378.152126.1039659703&type=3

wojtek
May 2 2012 11:37

Thanks for the insight, really appreciated and I hope everything goes well with you personally as well.

What are your/ anarchists' criticisms of CLASSE? In comparison to the NUS in the UK they seem a god send (as much as any union bureaucracy can be), where are they ideologically?

Fleur
May 2 2012 17:24

I'm not sure how useful my criticisms are, not being involved in the student movement. I'm just getting my info from the media and any poor, hapless student I can corner on the bus. CUTV (Concordia University) is a good place to go for video and it's in the English part of the educational system, so language won't be an issue.
I don't know how to compare the student unions here to the NUS, because it's been such a long time since I was in the NUS (late '80s) and things may have changed since then. From what I remember, the NUS didn't seem very effectual at either organising for it's members needs or engaging politically on a wider level. Maybe I'm being a bit disingenuous, but holding any kind of NUS office was often seen as a good thing to have on your c.v. for future career prospects. I'm thinking particularly of all those Labour MP's with NUS backgrounds. As to student issues here, there has been some conflicts in recent years, but until relatively recently it was inconceivable that anyone would fuck about with Quebec's access to higher education in any kind of substantial way, as it would be politically disastrous for any govt. to do it.
Anyway, CLASSE is a temporary offshoot of the Association pour une Solidarite Syndicale Etudiante (ASSE), formed around the single issue of the strike. (BTW, there should be accents all over the french text, but I'm using an english keyboard at the moment, so apologies for the bad french.) ASSE is one of 3 student organisations and certainly the most militant - it's newspaper is called Ultimatum! - and is somewhat critical of the other 2, especially in relation to their tactics of negotiating with the govt. in previous conflicts. It's platform is based on, primarily, free education for all and better financial support for students. It also wants all private financing out of education, especially an problem in the scientific and technical spheres, which have become dependent on corporate financing, with private enterprise setting course requirements etc. It's constitution refers to it being part of a mass organisation with other workers, the unemployed and the oppressed. It has a strong feminist agenda and mobilises around issues such as social housing and anti-militarism. ASSE students are well represented at the anti-globalisation demos wherever politicians show up in the province for the various free-trade junkets, and they expressed solidarity with the G20 arrestees. As for a definitive ideological label to put on them, I don't really know. I'll just go for left, from what I've seen, there seems to be a fairly broad section of people represented. They don't really look like the NUS to me, not as I remember them anyway.
My personal thoughts on student movements is that, because of the transient nature of membership, unless they can forge really concrete alliances outside the student base, they are not going to be very effective. However, in Quebec, attitudes to students are a bit different to in the UK, for a number of reasons. Higher educ. isn't necessarily seem in terms of elitism, as it has been relatively affordable and also, people don't tend to go out of Quebec for college, so students are also locals. There are loads of overseas students, but generally most students aren't seen as a bunch of people who sweep into town for 3 years and then disappear off, so they are much more integrated into communities here, have more local connections and as a consequence people are more receptive to students being involved in local issues. Also, with several universities and a number of CEGEPs in the downtown core of Montreal, where everyone goes for socialising, shopping, eating out etc, students are enmeshed in the general life of the city, not a distinct group apart from everyone else. They also tend to be older, given the nature of the education system.
One issue I can see as a problem for the student movement, is that there's going to be a provincial election, sooner rather than later, and I can't see the governing Liberal party winning, unless something really bizarre happens. OTOH really bizarre stuff has been known to happen here, so I won't be placing any bets. Currently, the opposition parties are strongly in support of the students and are very likely to make fragile, breakable promises to them. ASSE/CLASSE have a policy of no allegiances to any political party, but I'm not sure about any deals the others will make. I'm guessing that a lot will depend on whether or not the other 2 unions will continue to stand with CLASSE, like they did this week when the refused to go to the negotiating table with the education minister.
Anyway, like I said, I have no real connections with the student protests, so these are just my thoughts. If you want a much better, in the thick of it, boots on the ground analysis, you might want to try contacting these people http://www.clac-montreal.net/
convergence des luttes anticapitalistes . They're probably mad busy at the moment, given the number of arrest recently though. Montreal's largely francophone, but there's a large anglo minority and most people are bilingual, so there shouldn't be any language issues.
So, I hope that's been a bit helpful, and I think you've been doing an excellent job in posting on the issue ( you've been making me feel dead guilty for not doing so muyself, given that I'm actually here embarrassed )

Fleur
May 2 2012 18:25

Just realised that I've been writing about Montreal as if it is the whole of Quebec, which it obviously isn't, although it is by far the most populous place. I've evidently picked up that arrogant, local why would anyone want to leave the island? attitude. Social attitudes outside of Montreal are generally far more conservative, for the record.

wojtek
May 3 2012 14:45

Anti-capitalist demonstration ends in 107 arrests:Record-turnout for annual May Day action

Plastic bullets fired in recent demonstrations: Police downplays risks despite past deaths and industry spin

Two posts from the News from 2012 Quebec student general strike Facebook Page:

'Lead paragraph: "It is becoming routine, a group of students obtain an injunction forcing the restart of classes at a college on strike. In reaction, students and teachers opposed to the tuition hike block the entrances and force the administration to cancel classes. This is what happened yet again at Maisonneuve college."'

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/dossiers/conflit-etudiant/201205/01/01-4520744-nouvelle-levee-des-cours-au-cegep-maisonneuve.php

'The top provincial judge is not all that happy that his colleagues injunctions are not being respected as hundreds of students enforce their assembly's decision to strike against a handful of wealthy students. But he is threatening further legal action against students that resist the injunctions.'

http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/dossiers/conflit-etudiant/201205/02/01-4521224-greve-etudiante-le-juge-en-chef-sen-mele.php

University of Quebec and Montreal (UQAM) sociologist Eric Pineault's message to English Canada in regards to Quebec civil society uprising:

At the occasion of a press conference held in the East end of Montreal, hundreds of Quebec artists and cultural icons signed an Open Letter to the Charest government titled "We are with the students. We are together."

Fleur
May 3 2012 18:29

http://linchpin.ca/English/interview-CLASSE-spokesperson-Gabriel-Nadeau-Dubois

I found this, originally published in french in march, before it really started kicking off in the streets. A bit of an insight on CLASSE.
FYI La Presse is an very conservative newspaper, and has taken an editorial stance against the students.

anonarqui
May 5 2012 10:01

http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2012/05/04/002-victoriaville-preparation-conseil.shtml

Some intense fighting last night in Victoriaville, which is about 150 km from Montreal, where the Liberal Party of Quebec (the PLQ) had moved it's meeting in order to avoid disruptions eminent in downtown Montreal. Over 1000 people bussed into the small town to protest not only the proposed 75% tuition hike but the general corruption of the Quebec government. The militant crowd overwhelmed the provincial police and nearly succeeded in penetrating the conference center where the PLQ's annual convention was being held.

[url] http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/infos/regional/sherbrooke/archives/2012/05/20120504-174747.html [/url]

wojtek
May 7 2012 20:57

Bus of McGill-Concordia students arrested: Protest outside Liberal Party general council clashes with Sûreté du Québec

Victoriaville protests injure 11 after clashes with SQ police

Video footage from Victoriaville of a cop driving into protesters who then 'un-arrest' a dude and proceed to kick the bajesus out of the cop:

http://www.twitvid.com/3V2OM

From the 3rd May (Thursday):

Quebec students strip down for tuition protest

(Photos: Vincenzo D’Alto/Postmedia News; Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Edit: included first video and photographs. smile

wojtek
May 6 2012 15:14

During the Victoriaville protest, police shot a protester in the head and then delayed the ambulance.

[url=http://www.facebook.com/CUTVmontreal]CUTV (Concordia University Television) Facebook status:

Quote:
Yesterday CUTV News tried to help get an ambulance for a demonstrator shot in the head. SQ refused to get help and told us to call 911. It took around 20 min to get help. CUTV (Concordia University Television) will release video in a few hours.

SQ must be held legally responsible for shooting a high velocity plastic bullet at close range at the head of a demonstrator and then blocking access to an ambulance.

To add insult to injury the SQ took advantage of demonstrators opening a gap for the ambulance to attack the crowd which delayed the ambulance for another 5 minutes. Crucial minutes in the life of head trauma.

Even if the Private and Public media would like to fudge on how was the Student injured, the SQ purposefully delayed any possibility of aid arriving at the site.

#manifavicto

Some footage here, beginning at the time the police charged the crowd: