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.

Posted By

Redwinged Blackbird
Apr 21 2012 18:48


Attached files


May 23 2012 22:45
May 23 2012 00:59

Now, I was never very good at maths, but that looks a lot more than 50 to me. wink

Woops, changed.

May 24 2012 16:25

518 arrests last night in Montreal, most of which were mass arrests from a kettle. 170 in Quebec City.

University students in Ottawa occupy admin office.

Op -ed article in New York Times compares Quebec to Putin's Russia.

Montreal municipal authorities seriously worried about the economic effect on the city, festival season about to start, grand prix around the corner. Anecdotal evidence of hotel bookings being cancelled.
Been more than 1500 arrests since the beginning of the strike, so if anyone out there has a surfeit of rich relatives, an appeal for support;

May 24 2012 16:38

pirates vs ninjas demo going on this afternoon.

May 24 2012 19:26

University of Ottawa students are occupying the university president's office, demanding a reversal of tuition fee increases. Quebec students from Gatineau are on the way to support. The Toronto Media COOP interviews people on the inside of the occupation.

Interview (5mins) from inside University of Ottawa administrative offices barricade

May 25 2012 17:00

Quebec's 'truncheon law' rebounds as student strike spreads: A draconian law to quell demonstrations has only galvanised public support for young Quebecois protesting tuition fee hikes

Pics from yesterday here.

News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike

As Norman Nawrocki, Montreal, wrote in the early hours of this morning: "How do I tell my friends, across English speaking Canada, in the USA, and in Europe, that what is going on in Montreal these days and nights is bigger than Jesus or Arcade Fire, bigger than the Occupy movement, bigger than anything any handful of anarchists could ever have imagined possible, bigger than what the mainstream media is reporting? It is so hard to describe. The air is electric. The streets vibrate. The mood is open, public defiance of unjust law, rage at corruption at the highest levels, joyous, heartfelt solidarity with students and among people. It is something that has never been witnessed here before. Old, young, politicized or not, in Montreal, and outside the metropolis, something is stirring people's minds and hearts. Something big..."

Quebec police mount mass arrests in bid to break student strike

Mass arrests in Quebec higher than October Crisis in 1970

MONTREAL—The historic scope of the unrest in Quebec was illustrated in surreal scenes and statistics compiled early Thursday: more people were detained within a few hours — at least 650 of them, in mass roundups — than were arrested in all of the October Crisis.

More than 2,500 people have been arrested in a months-long dispute that has catapulted the province onto international news pages, which is at least five times the number jailed during the 1970 FLQ crisis that saw martial law declared in Quebec.

May 26 2012 14:51

Things have been fairly quiet in terms of arrests for a couple of nights, but really noisy in volume, with protesters banging pots and pans - casserolesencours, as seen in most often in Latin America
Torrential rain, thunderstorm and a tornado alert didn't put people off last night. The tornado was a no show, BTW.

Student associations, along with labour groups, civil liberties activists as well as a bunch of other people submitted a challenge to Bill78 in court yesterday, on constitutional grounds.

I rarely put much credence in opinion polls, but most recent one indicates large swing in opinion in favour of the students.

May 26 2012 21:01

An interview with Amelie, a student at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), as the strike reached its hundredth day:


Quebec students ready for tuition hike, says one leader

The outgoing president of Quebec's College Student Federation (FECQ), Leo Bureau-Blouin, says students are "ready for a compromise" on tuition fees, as the Quebec government and the province's student associations prepare to resume talks in an effort to end the conflict that has gripped the province for over three months.

In an interview airing on CBC Radio's The House on Saturday, Bureau-Blouin tells host Evan Solomon that he believes "we are ready for a compromise — and if the Quebec government is ready for it too, I think we can come to something."...

Quebec student strike: Government excludes fee hikes, Bill 78 from proposed talks

Montreal Pots And Pans Video Of Protest Against Bill 78 Goes Viral

A video of protesters banging pots and pans on Quebec streets is going viral on social networks.

Posted on Friday afternoon, the beautiful black and white film shows protesters of all ages taking to the streets to protest the emergency law Bill 78...

May 27 2012 14:43

Amnesty: Quebec law breaches Canada’s international human rights obligations

“Bill 78 is an affront to basic freedoms that goes far beyond what is permissible under provincial, national or international human rights laws,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

“It is unreasonable and unacceptable to require citizens to apply to the authorities in advance any time they wish to exercise a basic human right. Quebec’s National Assembly should rescind this restrictive law immediately.”

Peeps attend an illegal march amidst a tornado warning LIKE A BOSS! smile

May 28 2012 19:34

‘Quebec protests no longer simply a student issue’ – journalist

The streets of Montreal have been the scene of massive protests against planned tuition hikes, as well as a law that seeks to limit the right to demonstrate. RT discussed the issue with Corey Pool, an editor of Montreal-based newspaper “The Link”...

7 June à 5pm: Disrupt the Grand Prix Opening Cocktail!

From 4 to 10 June: Autonomous actions. Wherever they are, we'll be there too!

The nightly protests will disrupt this crass elite at play in western downtown every night. To kick off the week of activities, the Grand Prix is throwing a "glittering" banquet, where a table with a driver costs a mere $25,000! Let's make their "prestigious and festive" soirée our own "Grand Evening".

May 28 2012 19:42

(UPDATED) FIVE THOUGHTS FROM QUEBEC on organizing student strikes

I thought I'd put together a few ideas about how to organize strikes in English Canada, specifically Ontario. I'm basing this on my own experiences doing student strike organizing at McGill, as well as conversations I've had with close friends and comrades involved with strike organization at Concordia, UQAM, several CEGEPs and elsewhere. I don't want to suggest that social movements can't be predicated on creativity and new ideas, but there are a lot of really good ideas and a lot of really terrible ideas that make the difference between a movement that can be effective, and one that can't be. I've tried to be as concise as possible while still providing background information.I'll periodically add thoughts that folks bring up.

1. Don't reinvent the wheel. An incredible amount of time and energy was wasted at McGill with the assumption that “McGill is different”, and that the methods of organizing which work everywhere else in Quebec will not work at McGill. McGill is different, comparable with the most conservative of English Canada's universities. But the methods that worked everywhere else in Quebec worked consistently at McGill where they were carefully and attentively tried. Not perfectly, but they don't work perfectly anywhere, and nothing else has worked at all. I'm sure the same applies to Queen's or McMaster.

One common mistake at McGill was the holding of “soft pickets” where activists allowed classes to happen despite their strike mandate. Strikes are not about an individual decision to skip class, facing whatever consequences might follow. They're about the collective action of students preventing classes from happening and disrupting “business as usual”. Students at McGill failed their semesters because of improperly enforced strikes. Letting the members of your student association flunk out of school because you feel uncomfortable with conflict isn't okay. Enforcing strikes is difficult to do, at least at first, but it's a lot less difficult than failing a semester. And people eventually come around, building a culture of solidarity and confrontational politics in the process.

2. General assemblies need to make all the real and important decisions. They need to be well-attended. This happens only if people think they're relevant. They need to be used to make the most important decisions, which are then actually respected and implemented. Consensus doesn't work when you have hundreds of people making difficult, controversial decisions like strikes. People will just be frustrated because nothing will actually be accomplished.

Online voting is a dead end too, don't do it. It encourages lazy, individualized “activism”, where each person spends all of thirty seconds, alone, to choose option A or B. Democratic social movements are about bringing people into every phase of decision-making. General assemblies help create a culture where people get personally and physically and meaningfully implicated in politics, which is an essential basis for effective strikes. Finally, one of the main points of protest movements is to change people's minds, which you can do with the careful argument and debate at GA's; you can't do it with online voting, where uninformed decisions are often made based on irrational prejudices. This sort of direct democracy also needs to function not just at the local level, but at the level of federations as well. In English Canada especially, the right-wing media has been able to discredit student and labour unions on the premise that they are anti-democratic, representing the interests of a tiny minority of radicals. A history of anti-democratic practices in a number of unions has only bolstered this (not that this history usually comes from the radicals). But in Québec, because people organized on their own on each campus and felt a sense of ownership over the movement, it was impossible to create this perception. In the climate that exists in Engilsh Canada especially right now, a movement for strikes that is seen as anti-democratic will be crushed instantaneously under a wave of media panic - if it even becomes a big enough deal to warrant one.

3. Mobilize extremely broadly. To hold strikes a huge number of people must be involved. Real majorities are needed, or at very least active pluralities, not of whoever shows up but of the whole association. The difference between the level of support that a lot of anglosphere activists are envisioning, and what you actually need, is around an order of magnitude. At one of the more mobilized CEGEPs, 63% of the student body crammed into two gyms for the first strike assembly. The vote passed 70%. This is totally possible, but it does require a change in how we do things. You need demonstrations and sit-ins, workshops, concerts and street art and culture; you need an incredible amount of one-on-one flyering, conversations with strangers and assholes, as well as people who are ecstatic to meet you and get involved. It's hard work but it needs to get done, even when it doesn't look like it's working. Also, you need to publicize things really intensively; one of the most destructive things to a strike movement is the realistic perception that decisions were made in secret without proper notice. Petitions don't work at all, ever, except as an excuse to talk to people one-on-one (which is super important), or when they're required to hold general assemblies according to a student association's bylaws.

One consequence of this sort of mass mobilization is that there are a lot of sexist, racist and homophobic chants at student protests in Quebec, something virtually unheard of in Ontario. Obviously, this presents a problem. On the other hand, it represents a massive number of people being politicized and brought into contact with an opportunity to change their views. If you structure your movement in such a way that only people who already have amazing politics can be involved, not only will your movements be tiny and ineffective, they will fail to fight these very real social problems at their source.

4. Department by department. If the student movement in Quebec didn't focus on small, easy-to-mobilize units like CEGEPs, departments, and faculties, it simply would not work. Period. Think about mobilizing a few hundred students in geography at one university, or a few thousand in social sciences at another. Not 80 000 students for a “University of Toronto” strike, or 300 000 students for a CFS Ontario strike. If you think of it that way, getting involved is a lot less terrifying. It's basically impossible to mobilize a strike for business students, med students, or all of McMaster. But it's fairly easy to mobilize a few hundred students here and there, especially in welcoming programs. You can start where it's easy and move out. For a while, every philosophy student on the island of Montreal was on strike with the exception of a handful of CEGEPs. But only one university was ever entirely on strike, for one day in November. You need to mobilize department by department whether or not department-level associations are active, or even exist. The Arts Undergraduate Society at McGill held its first three general assemblies in history because of this strike. Unaccredited departmental associations held weeks-long strikes with no legal standing or history of mobilization. Relying on ineffective associations just because they exist isn't going to be effective.

One final note, and this is really important. You simply can't have an organization like the CFS “declare” a general strike. A general strike will happen if each association, mobilizing on their own, makes it happen on their own campus, with support and solidarity from outside. Federations like the CFS can provide logistical and material support, a negotiations front, networking capacity etc., but they're simply not designed to mobilize for strikes. They make decisions far too slowly (the CFS has general meetings twice a year – the CLASSE has general meetings once a week), and they don't have the extensive networks of close personal contacts that are needed to mobilize for strikes. Mobilize on your own campus and get the CFS to do what it's good at.

5. The student movement is a protest movement. We need a student movement, and we need protest more broadly, because the world is really messed up and needs to be changed. In the process of social change, we do actually have to fight people in power to get what we want. The media is going to be against us. The police are going to be against us. In some cases, we don't even have popular opinion on our side (although often we do). Witness the black civil rights movement, or attacks on early Vietnam War protests, or virtually the entire history of the feminist movement.

Social protest on the side of justice and human progress is legitimate whether or not it has a majority of popular support. What's important is that movements are both internally democratic, and committed to expanding to wider and wider sectors of society. This takes time and doesn't happen automatically, and you will receive no help from the media or police. Don't count on receiving it. Of course, sometimes this is a tricky balance – there are a whole lot of tactical choices which are unpopular but effective, and knowing what to do and when to do it isn't easy. But, if you let the state set the terms of your protest, your protest can't fight the state.

Creating a real mass student movement in English Canada is totally possible. Certainly there are cultural differences between Quebec and Canada that make this sort of organization more challenging, but a lot of these differences are differences in organizing tactics, and these can change. The tactics used in Quebec work and the tactics used in Ontario simply don't.

I welcome any comments, questions, or corrections from people who know better than I do, of whom there are many.

May 28 2012 20:40

Student associations and government in talks right now, meanwhile casserolesencours are breaking out all over and red squares are multiplying. Been trying to upload a picture of Public Enemy sporting a red square which I got from twitter, but obviously my technical ineptitude is letting me down again.
March going on as normal tonight, with a large contingent of lawyers joining in to protest Bill 78.
A Guardian journalist rolled into town a few days back, hence the now daily coverage.

May 29 2012 19:22

Just click the the 'image' icon and type the code at the top into where it says URL. smile

Edit: that is Public Enemy right, I've no idea what they look like? embarrassed

May 29 2012 18:23

Talks still on today, and rumours that an offer is going to be put to the students. Also a rumour that if a settlement isn't reached by Friday then Charest is going to call an election.
Several thousand out in Montreal last night, no arrests. I suspect the the Mayor and the Premier are feeling dead nervous about any upcoming disruption to the Grand Prix and festival season. 84 arrests in Quebec City, where the negotiations are taking place, including Philippe Lapointe, lead negotiator for CLASSE, who was rounded up with the peaceful protesters as he was leaving. Banane Rebelle was amongst those collared.
Fortunately, Anarchopanda is still at large.
Anarchopanda is a professor and has been out every night.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was in court today, pleading not guilty to contempt of court charges.

May 29 2012 19:28


May 29 2012 19:55

Yes, that's Public Enemy. And I guess that means my age and decrepitude is showing cry

May 29 2012 21:28

I'm really loving these updates from you guys! But wouldn't it be nice to have a post about this strike on the news area of the forums? If kept in here, soon we'll have to skip three news pages to access these updates =/

May 29 2012 23:09

I doubt if there will be too much going on in Montreal tonight, as there's been torrential rainstorms and much of downtown is flooded, storm drains and sewers backed up, metro stations shut down etc. There's a storm watch on for tonight, looks like it might get worse. OTOH, a tornado alert wasn't much of a deterrence so who knows?
If you are following on twitter, useful hashtags are #manifencours #ggi #loi78 #polqc #casserolesencours and #casserolenightincanada ( a play on words of popular hockey show - hockey night in Canada - covering events slated for wednesday night across the country.) A lot of the tweets are in french, naturally, but there's a fair amount in english too.
If you want to follow the local anarchist superstar, you might want to follow Jaggi Singh , he's pretty much in the thick of it.
One rumour which is far more interesting than any thoughts of an impending election is that there have been grassroots assemblies popping up in the Montreal neighbourhoods, independent of the student protests.

May 30 2012 01:37

@ Davi, I'm not fussy either way tbh. I've started clicking on 'recent posts' where it's normally near the top...

@ fleurnoire-et-rouge, don't be silly. Public Enemy are a classic, it's my bad! smile Thanks for the twitter hashtags.

United Church takes students’ side in protests

MONTREAL - Representatives of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination added their voices Sunday to a growing number of social justice groups denouncing the Charest government’s special law aimed at bringing an end to months of student unrest.

About 300 delegates attending the Montreal and Ottawa Conference of the United Church of Canada adopted a motion calling for the law to be annulled, saying that rather than restore peace and order, it has “thrown oil on the flames.”

The motion denounced violence by “a minority of protesters and some police” and called for a negotiated settlement. It called on both parties in the dispute to “approach the search for a negotiated settlement in the spirit of flexibility and compromise”...

Lawyers take to the streets with students for Montreal’s 35th consecutive night of protest

MONTREAL — As negotiations between student leaders and the provincial Liberals resumed in Quebec City Monday evening after a supper break, more protests took place in different parts of Quebec including Montreal, which hosted its 35th consecutive night of demonstrations.

Lawyers dressed in their courtroom gowns paraded in silence from the city’s main courthouse through the streets of Old Montreal to join the nightly march.

“It is one of the first times I’ve seen lawyers protest in public like this…and I’ve been practising for almost 30 years,” Bruno Grenier said outside the building surrounded by about 250 people, some carrying copies of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The lawyer said his colleagues wanted to show the public that they oppose a law they “find unjust and which is probably unconstitutional”...

Reading Lolita in Montreal: Canada Doesn’t Want More Journalists

...The other [border] agent, now done examining my roll of dental floss, flipped through the copy of In These Times, and saw my name on the masthead. So you’re a big time journalist? You must be embedded in the student movement, right?

This was the surprise and, to be honest, it was kind of refreshing. For the first few years of my adult life, I’ve dealt with extra screenings at airports and crossings, mostly outside the United States, particularly in the European countries I’ve visited. It was due to my race. My first hour in Canada was like that. Now I was being harassed because I was a leftist going to possibly talk to people in a country terrified of a militant left-wing movement. And I was a “known journalist”...

...They looked through my phone for an hour and spent lots of time on Google. They were cautious, but maybe they have a reason to be afraid. Downtown Montreal is the scene of a continuous class struggle, with constant demonstrations that show no sign of slowing down. The government has its hands full with the activists, journalists, and intellectuals they already have. Why would they want more radicals in the country?

Finally, the verdict: You can enter the country, but you have to leave on Thursday. I wasn’t granted a visa, but rather a visitor’s pass. Avoid the bad protest elements, stick to the girls at McGill instead, kid.

And don’t write while you’re in Canada.

May 30 2012 15:25

Apparently my predictive powers are on their usual dismal form, and thunderstorm watches and wading around in raw sewerage didn't put everyone off last night in Montreal. Obviously hardy folk not prone to nightmarish, Glastonbury toilet-inspired flashbacks.
Court challenge to Bill 78 put back to friday.
Negotiations continuing today in Quebec City today. Last night, student spokespersons said that the government is budging on tuition fees.
Casserole Night In Canada events
A site which is translating french news reports into english
IMHO the Anarchopanda song is is not the best protest song I've ever heard. Perhaps someone could ask Public Enemy to rework it.
An Al Jazeera report, written by local activist.

May 30 2012 16:42

An Anger March for Police Murders of Mario Hamel and Patrick Limoges and all victims of SPVM violence June 7th, 9PM.
In 2011, Mario Hamel was shot to death by four SPVM cops. There are reports that up-to ten shots were fired. There is CCTV footage of the incident which has never been made public. During the police assault, Patrick Limoges was struck by a bullet some fifty feet away, hitting him in the head. He died in hospital later that day.
Recently the four pigs being investigated by other police were let off with a decision that there was no wrong doing in either death. This is to be expected when the SSPVM has gotten away with more than 50 murders with no accountability or disciplinary action.


June 7th, 2012 21:00 Carré Berri


May 31 2012 02:47

As state repression continues student associations in talks with Quebec government

Philippe Lapointe and Justin Arcand, two negotiators for CLASSE (The Broader Coalition of the Association for Student-Union Solidarity), were among those detained by the police, but unlike the others were released without charge.

CLASSE leaders had said that Bill 78 would be the first issue they raised at the negotiations and threatened that they would walk out of the talks if the government was not prepared to discuss suspending or repealing parts of the repressive law.

But by Monday evening, they were singing a different tune. CLASSE’s principal spokesman, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, praised Quebec Premier Jean Charest for joining the talks for 30 to 50 minutes (depending on the source). “The presence of Mr. Charest,” said Nadeau-Dubois, “shows that the government recognizes the scale of the current crisis. It shows the government’s sincere attitude toward the negotiation process.”

May 31 2012 03:22

Negotiations still going on.
Major rally tonight in Montreal and as I gather all over the place.
For the first time in a while, student strike has been bumped off the headlines by this story
It's been a really weird week, tornado alerts, flooding, mad, freaky psycho-killers.

May 31 2012 21:48

Negotiations back on today, apparently having met an impasse yesterday, the government having made an inadequate offer relating to tuition hikes.
CasserolesnightinCanada happened in over 70 places last night, in Canada and beyond, including in the Arctic, where a manifencours happened in the kitchen of a mine in Nunavut.
The ticketing website for the Montreal grand prix was doxed by someone claiming to be Anonymous.

Afraid that's all I've got, the media is absolutely dominated, unsurprisingly, with coverage of the body parts killer and not a lot else and I'm losing a battle with the cold from hell and I'm crawling under a quilt with a bottle of benylin and staying there, possibly until I die or grow up and stop being such a baby.

EDIT: negotiations broken down.

Jun 1 2012 12:07

I think someone needs a big hug from a certain black and white Chinese man! smile

Jun 1 2012 15:45

Visit Montreal this summer!

edit: you have no idea how spectacularly pleased I am with myself for embedding that!

Jun 1 2012 22:13

Student/government negotiations broke down yesterday, the government having put an offer on the table which added up to $35 reduction in tuition hikes. Student associations put forward some proposals, which were not even considered. IMO I doubt if the student associations would have accepted that offer anyway.
Unfortunately, was rather groggy on cold meds and (entirely medicinal) Jack Daniels when the Charest/Courchesne press conference was on, but what I got from it was a lot of waffle about tax breaks that the Liberal government have given middle class parents to save for their children's education, moaning about the "threat" to Quebec by protests, concern for the Grand Prix, describing himself as the careful father of the province, or something like that. TBH, he's a very boring man to listen to when I'm not somewhat out of it. He looked a bit stressed and worn out.
About 10,000 out on the streets in Montreal last night. A big one planned for Saturday.
Generally, during the Grand Prix, part of the downtown is closed to traffic and people can go up to and gawp at a whole bunch of expensive cars. According to news reports, they're not showing off the Lambourghinis and Ferraris this year. I can't think why.
There's a new president of the FECQ.

BTW total love and respect to Anarchopanda, not least because in my top 10 list of shittiest jobs I've ever done was dressing up as Garfield to hand out leaflets, so I know just how foul and fetid it gets in those furry suits.

Jun 2 2012 18:19

We are all Quebecois (even if we don't know it yet)

Quebec red squares in Auckland protest yesterday as police make 43 arrests on education cuts demo:

Solidarity from Sudbury, Ontorio:

And from London:

Jun 3 2012 23:46

Yesterday (Saturday) there was a march in Montreal, estimates put it about 20,000, despite lousy, cold and rainy weather. Saucepans clanging and a banner at the front which read "This isn't a student strike, this is society waking up." Incidentally, Jean Coutu (local equivalent of Boots or Superdrug) have been running special student offers on saucepans.
Today the Grand Prix announced that they are cancelling their Open House on Thursday
This is the event when people can wander around the Grand Prix circuit and get a look at the cars ( I think, not exactly a fan any year.) As far as I know the cocktail parties etc are still on.
Story today that Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was interrogated by SQ (provincial police) about inciting violence. I ran it through google translate, so the grammar's a bit bizarre.
Also the head of the Just For Laughs festival has asked to meet with student spokespersons to discuss possible disruptions to the festival.

Jun 4 2012 00:46

A website making solidarity posters available as pdfs.

Facebook page of artwork, posters, graffiti, photos etc