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
Jun 5 2012 01:07

Not a huge amount happened, nightly marches carrying on. I would like to point out that the open house which was cancelled by the Grand Prix was the free to the public, not profit making event. The other events are listed here
http://www.clac-montreal.net/en/node/272

This video released yesterday
http://vimeo.com/43330466

Meanwhile, Chris Hedges has an opinion
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/72-72/11755-focus-canadas-casserole-movement-is-ours

http://wi.mobilities.ca/it-didnt-start-with-occupy-and-it-wont-end-with-the-student-strike-the-persistence-of-anti-authoritarian-politics-in-quebec/

According to La Presse, hotel revenues are down on last year.
Like I said, nothing dramatic today, just wanted to bump Quebec back up to the top of recent posts smile

wojtek
Jun 7 2012 19:17

Aljazeera documentary - Canada's Maple Spring: Student protests in Quebec grow to nationwide movement

Quebec legislator arrested as state repression of student strike continues

Quebec Student strike: Daughter of politician Amir Khadir arrested

'About 8-10 police are searching Amir Khadir's home right now. They apparently have taken Yalda Machouf-Khadir into custody (not sure if she's formally been arrested, or just "accompanied" them downtown). She is a Cégep student at Vieux-Montréal and an activist who was last reported detained and ticketed during a brief blockage at a local bridge a few weeks ago. Seven locations are being raided this morning, allegedly looking for 11 individuals police say they suspect of involvement in Métro smoke bombs and other actions.'

Some (mainly nationalist) pantings about the Maple Spring. They are all based on real photos:

More here.

Edit: Are the images showing up, they're not on my laptop?

Fleur
Jun 7 2012 22:15

No, images not showing.
You beat me to posting all that! tbh, been a bit quiet up to the arrests, by which I mean business as usual, nightly marches. Casserolesencours all over Canada and the US and further afield last night. Some arrests, I believe in NYC. Note to US comrades, it's pronounced Ke-bec, not Kwe-bec. wink
Amir Khadir spent most of yesterday comparing himself to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, the UN weighed in on the subject of an elected representative being arrested for peacefully demonstrating. A bit of a weird day yesterday, someone thought it amusing to leave a fake severed foot lying around, prompting the city to think that Magnotta had killed someone else, and a whole bunch of suspicious packages were sent to Quebec politicians and media heads under the name of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Quebec. Turned out to be baking soda, prompting lots of jokes about revolutionary bakers.
Anarchopanda revealed his identity, probably the first time a major press conference was called for a panda, he's challenging Montreal's anti-mask law in court.
http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/montreal/text/anarchopanda-fight-montreals-anti-mask-bylaw-court-identity-revealed
On a personal note, Anarchopanda sent me a tweet, which made me ridiculously happy!
Grand Prix events start today, the student associations have declared that they are not disrupting them. CLAC, not so much.
http://www.clac-montreal.net/en
Kicking off with what they are hoping to be the largest ever naked protest in Quebec in a couple of hours time. Nice weather for it.
One of the scuzzier, nastier media outlets, Sun News (bit like Canada's Fox News on a budget) ran an expose on CLAC yesterday, but all through the article referred to them as CLAQ, which is actually stands for the Brotherhood of Antiquarian Booksellers. So as well as the radical bakers, were had dangerous booksellers to watch out for!
As of yesterday, Grand Prix not sold out, which is unheard of.
Other than the rounding up of the usual suspects today, few arrests of late in Montreal. Khadir was among about 50 in Quebec City. The police have obviously been told to back the fuck off, as nothing says Welcome Tourists quite like rubber bullets and tear gas. Will be interesting to see how the summer pans out.

Fleur
Jun 7 2012 22:15

FWIW nobody has been arrested under Bill 78. All arrests have been under other laws/ by-laws. I have no idea what was going through the government's heads when they implemented Bill 78, they couldn't possibly have imagined that everyone would just give up and go home and they couldn't possibly arrest everyone, the court system here can't cope with the usual volume of traffic. OTOH the Liberal government are under serious pressure right now over corruption issues. The day the bill was passed there were 19 arrests on corruption charges, including the mayor of Montreal's former right hand man. There is currently a (toothless) public enquiry underway investigating corruption at provincial and municipal levels, it's well known that there is collusion between government, the construction industry and the mafia. It really is endemic, a few months ago a Municipal mayor was found guilty on this issue. The education minister who resigned just before the law was passed was under serious pressure to explain why there was a top rank mafia member at a recent fundraiser of hers. It's just a given that the government is up to it's eyeballs in mob money. I can only imagine that Charest thought that passing this law would take people's eyes off the other things going and that perhaps he thought that he could improve his ratings by showing himself to be a strong leader and beating the students. Anyway, just a few personal thoughts, I really have no actual idea what goes on in his head ( nor would I want to...)

Fleur
Jun 8 2012 11:51

double post

Fleur
Jun 8 2012 11:51

Montreal welcomes the Grand Prix.

Four demos disrupted the Grand Prix events downtown last night.

@wojtek, thanks for the instructions how to embed video

Fleur
Jun 10 2012 21:12

Not had time to post, so here's a recap on the last few days.
The quiet time for a week or so was obviously the lull before the Grand prix storm, Thursday night seeing the F1 cocktail party, see videos above and
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/06/07/montreal-grand-prix-protests.html
So it was back to tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bangs. Jacques Villeneuve (former F1 driver and Quebec native son) gave an press conference, calling the students lazy, rebels without a cause, an embarrassment to Quebec, badly brought up and then gave an impromptu recitation from Atlas Shrugged. Stirring words from a man born into money and used to drive race cars from a living. A number of flash cars and limos damaged.
Friday, downtown metro was crawling with cops by the time I was using it first thing. Friday evening protesters back in downtown core, Grand Prix activities going on in side streets off St. Catherine (I suppose the London equivilent is Oxford Street.)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/06/08/grand-prix-race-underway.html
Saturday same thing, somewhat more personal account because I was there. Protesters playing cat and mouse, and winning with police. Masses and masses of riot police all over the downtown area, chasing people up and down streets, meanwhile business as usual socialising and drinking going on. Saw hoards of cops hurtling after bands of protesters, only to lose them as they melted into crowds of tourists and festival goers. Cat and mouse is the expression that's been in use here a lot, and they were doing it very well. It was a beautiful sight to see, they were running the police ragged, whether some of these dashes were to decoy the police away from other groups or to just exhaust the cops Idk. Was finding it really hard to get onto twitter, I guess the system was overloaded.
At one point I found myself in a kettle, but it was obvious that they couldn't have barged in and arrest anyone because of where it was and that there were so many tourists in there, the SPVM having already taken some flak for detaining F1 tourists. Some very nice people in masks helped me find my way out.
It was quite honestly the most surreal experience i have ever had. All this partying going on, with armies of riot police on every corner and helicopters hovering overhead. There are stages with live entertainment set up, and the sight of a phalanx of riot cops rushing past me in synch with "I love Rock and Roll" which someone was belting out on stage was really bizarre. Not to mention the strange mix of pepper spray and the usual industrial strength weed.
Total love and respect to the protesters.
Not got a lot of time, need to work, but I'll post later/maybe tomorrow with some media.
edit: forgot to mention, chasing up and down with protesters- BEST night out I've had for ages!

Fleur
Jun 11 2012 16:03

Well, festival season kicked off in a lively sort of fashion in Montreal with the Grand Prix cool (Please excuse if not in strict chronological order, some of this weekend's been a bit of a blur.)
An account by someone taking part in Thursday's welcome to the F1 folks.
http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/blog/cindy-milstein/11247

Another account of Thursday night, by a Mtl based journalist
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/montreals-crescent-street-becomes-fault-line-in-battle-over-grand-prix-158042755.html
Again, Friday
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/06/08/grand-prix-race-underway.html
And Saturday
http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/story/grand-prix-tourists-get-caught-protest-chaos-downtown-montreal-streets

Saturday, I noticed a distinct lack of red squares pinned to shirts, probably because people had done what I did and took it off when word spread that the police were stopping and searching people wearing them and preventing people from accessing areas downtown, or near the Grand Prix, if they had a red square on. Police actively profiling people over the weekend, an account (translated) by a journalist from Le Devoir on this
http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/24867871356/francois-arguins-testimony-of-political-profiling-at

Sunday the action went daytime, when protests moved out to the Grand Prix circuit, which is only a few metro stops away on an artificial island built in the St. Laurence river.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/06/10/grand-prix-race-protests.html

Last night, activities moved back into the downtown core, emphasis being very much on protesting against the police. I think there were about 12 arrests last night, some property damage.
http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/story/photos-grand-prix-weekend-ends-protest-arrests

And just when the Grand Prix have packed up, there's a whole new bunch of tourists to welcome.
http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/blog/2012/economic-forum-americas-attracts-few-protesters-lots-police

Fleur
Jun 11 2012 16:49

Update: CLASSE called a press conference to denounce political profiling, although I don't see that the SPVM are adverse to a bit of profiling on any given day.

Some video from the weekend.

Note the duct tape covering police ID numbers on helmets.

As you can imagine, most of the chants have been in French, but "Fuck You Pigs" also works well.
Other chants in English which have been popular-"No justice, No Peace, Fuck the Police," and "1,2,3,4, this is fucking class war."

So, not all of it is about tuition fees...

Fleur
Jun 11 2012 22:26

Just spotted this. It's got that weird google translate thing going on, but the gist of it is still there.

http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/24903237409/student-protester-arrested-en-route-to-his-sisters
Bastards.

Edit: Changed link -been translated by the Translating the Printemps Erable folk.

Ed
Jun 12 2012 12:02

I took loads of the pictures from here (and other places) and made a photo gallery. If people have more pics to add then just go ahead..

Also created a new tag for these protests..

wojtek
Jun 15 2012 09:27

Occupation (1970) 47 minutes

Quote:
In this short documentary, striking political science students concerned with the democratization of their university occupy the offices of the Political Science Department at McGill University. The issue: greater student control over the hiring of faculty. The film crew lives with the students and follows their action through confusion, argument, dissent, and negotiations with faculty. The result is an intimate view of a student political action.

http://www.nfb.ca/film/occupation/

Fleur
Jun 15 2012 15:31

Been fairly quiet for a few days, night protests continuing, I think we're at about 52nd or 53rd consecutive night, although I'm losing track a bit. tbh though, had a bit of a personally dramatic few days, so all hell could be breaking loose out there and I wouldn't know. So, sorry if I'm missing anything significant.
Student groups in court this week trying to get Bill 78 partially suspended. The case to have it declared illegal is scheduled for sometime in July.
Some of the media, bearing in mind that the student strike has largely been relegated to background noise and is not getting that much coverage, lost their shit a bit about protesters raising their arms in nazi salutes at the police. B'nai Brith issued complaints, apologies were issued all round. Not exactly a lot of discussion on the activities of the police, until this, from LaPresse of all people, which has been very hostile to the student strike from the beginning.
http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/25114417182/politics-police-and-protests-la-presse

Anyway, a few articles I found. Sorry I can't be any more informative.
http://rabble.ca/news/2012/06/quebec-government-steps-police-repression-student-movement-seeks-broaden-struggle

http://rabble.ca/news/2012/06/quebec-students-keep-pressure-charest-ponders-electoral-options

http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/25133138624/opinion-piece-why-was-i-arrested-le-devoir

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/campus-notes/2012/06/maple-spring-blooming-how-attempt-hike-tuition-quebec-set-powder

wojtek
Jun 18 2012 14:33

I can't believe no one has took advantage of the sexual innuendo/ Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" yet especially with nude protests going on!

Jean Charest's public address

The Popular Roots of the Quebec Student Strike

Quebec: Protests continue against Bill 78 and the attack on education

fleurnoire-et-rouge, you got your $10 red 'square' tattoo yet? wink

Fleur
Jun 18 2012 18:39

Feeling horribly remiss for not posting, but mini fleurnoire got hospitalised for a nasty virus, got released and passed it on to me. Note to any prospective parents - they are germy little plague carriers and you are in for a good decade of being sick. So, a bit blurry, but this is what I know (or think I know.)
As I mentioned before, relatively little news coverage at the moment. To a large extent people have just got used to the nightly marches, which are still carrying on, but much depleted in numbers.
There was a show at the Francofolies, supporting the student protests
http://tinyurl.com/7h33eld

Also on a musical note, there was an anarchist band, Mise en Demeure, asked to perform at the St.Jean-Baptiste day celebrations (Quebec saint day/bank holiday celebrating all things Quebec, mostly in my experience in the form of drinking and general carousing) and Jean Charest had a little temper tantrum about it
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/charest-denounces-new-tolerance-for-violence-in-quebec/article4265193/
Mise en Demeure were subsequently dropped and the upshot being that almost no-one had heard of them last week and now they're fairly famous, at least in Quebec. Their poster has also generated the usual 15 minute outrage
http://www.miseendemeure.org/img/medguidantlepeuple-web.jpg
a take on the French revolution painting Liberty Leading the People, the corpse at the feet of the banana is Jean Charest. The easily offended were upset that this was spotted on the wall of Amir Khadir's house and Mise en Demeure had to issue a press release saying that they did not know each other.
A prominent Quebec artist (no, I don't know who, not been really keeping up to speed) refused to accept the equivalent of a knighthood, the Minister of Culture declared the red square to be a symbol of violence and intimidation, and then about 200 other Quebec artists protested and she issued an apology. Honestly, it's all been a bit petty.
There's a new ad campaign by the Liberals explaining why tuition fee hikes are good for students, which has obviously cleared everything up.
Because I've not been bookmarking anything, there's all sorts of stuff I can't find, including one that's been going around of a 6 year old boy having his backpack and mask taken off him by the cops at the grand prix weekend. The place where the grand prix circuit is a large public park and this kid went there with his dad for a picnic, his dad being a sympathiser with the students said that if they wanted they could join in with any pot banging which might be going on. For this he was searched by 6 armed policemen, who took his stuff and reported his father to child protection services. This would be one of the reasons why Quebec has bee put on a UN human rights watch list
http://www.unwatch.org/cms.asp?id=3235583&campaign_id=65378
Yesterday, there was pillow fights against tuition hikes and role playing games of protesters vs riot police. There was a pinata in the shape of Jean Charest, filled with brown envelopes stuffed with candies symbolising the brown envelopes stuffed with cash which is synonymous with the Quebec government. They let a bunch of kids have at it with sticks.
I get the feeling that the student protests are changing tack. I think that people in general have just got used to the marches and they've to a large extent just become part of downtown activities.

PS. I passed on the $10 tattoo. Tattoos on me fade faster than a teenage love affair, a red square this week will be a pink blob by xmas. It'll just look like an unpleasant rash. smile

wojtek
Jun 20 2012 21:39
Quote:
I experienced my first political profiling today.

I had to go out to the Grand Prix as a volunteer to pick up garbage from Scouts who were running an ecological consortium at the request of the Grand Prix. I went by bike. A police officer approaches me, and tells me up front I have no business here.

I explain to him why I was there and he retorts that that was the most original excuse he’d hear all day for needing to enter the site and stir up shit. At this moment I was not trying to access the site: rather, I was waiting for others at our meeting point next to metro Jean-Drapeau. They search my bag, take my ID and call their superior to see if I am on any lists, and they read all my personal papers. They find only a lunch and sunscreen.

Obviously disappointed by not being able to arrest me right there, they tell me I have five seconds to leave otherwise I would be picked up and taken to prison (!). I am completely speechless. It goes without saying that during this time, none of the fifty police officers around me bothered to search any of the young hotties with their the Gucci handbags.

You’re a douchebag? Welcome. You look like a student? Get the fuck out, or you go to prison. AND THEY SAY THERE WAS NO PROFILING AT THE GRAND PRIX? Finally, when they are about to arrest me, a Grand Prix official passing by tells the police officers that yes, the ecological consortium did exist and I could enter the site without problems. I was thus able to spend the day picking up crap after other, more “welcome” people.

I have always thought that the slogan, “The police, to serve and protect the rich and the fascists,” was grossly exaggerated but as of today it expresses exactly what I am feeling.

#ggi #manifencours #loi78

Testimony: Isabelle de Grandpré

Fleur
Jun 21 2012 16:13

It's still been fairly quiet here, in terms of the nightly marches being fairly small and low key and there's been a hiatus in the gassing and beating rituals of the police. There's been little reporting in the media on the marches and I'm not sure how much impact they have, given that people in Mtl are so used to them now, they've become a part of the night time environment of the city. Also, there may also be something of a practical issue involved, there's been extreme temperatures here - for the past few days it's been hotter here than in Jamaica - so playing cat and mouse with the police would probably be a bit hazardous to your health. Having said that, there's a Casseroles Night in Canada scheduled for Friday, with events across Canada, the US and as far away as Costa Rica, Croatia, Germany, Denmark and London (Euro2012 schedule permitting, I guess..)
https://www.facebook.com/events/306990322722976/
There were a some arrests earlier in the week in Quebec City, at a council meeting, where Montreal-style municipal by-laws were being passed against protesting.
CLASSE issued a statement relating to the strategy it is planning to take over the summer.
http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/25501690812/the-classe-defines-its-plan-of-action-for-the-summer
Obviously I don't know what they are going to say when they talk about talking directly to the Quebec population, but given that the big political story dominating the news right now is the hearings into political corruption in Quebec government, which is systemic at all levels, I imagine that they might find it helpful to tie the two issues together in some way. A bit of background on this -
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/ethan-cox/2012/06/bombshells-left-and-right-hearings-political-corruption-quebec
There's definitely the smell of an election in the air and members of the opposition Parti Quebecois have stopped wearing the red square, most notably the leader Pauline Marois, who strongly criticized Jean Charest for producing his address to the people of Quebec commercial, and then promptly went and did one of her own, which I'm not going to post up, because it's very boring, says nothing interesting, a bit about national unity (national meaning Quebec) and I would have to translate it and, quite frankly, life's too short. It's on Youtube.
Actually, I thought I'd post this one up, just because the google translate is really funny. I wasn't familiar with the term "peace officer" before I move here, I don't remember it being in use in the UK, but it pretty much refers to any government employee with any kind of legal capacity, from police, coastguard, customs officials etc. I would like to point out that summary justice in Quebec is not as harsh as the translation implies, and that the court official in question was actually fired, not executed.
http://tinyurl.com/6p72fta
This is a video which has been doing the rounds, Super Mario against the Hikes

Fleur
Jun 21 2012 18:55

Forgot to mention, Jean Charest is in Rio for the G20 at the moment, where Brazilian students have been making him feel welcome with their casseroles, just in case he was feeling homesick.

wojtek
Jun 23 2012 13:08

Apparently over 100,000 in Montreal, 3-5000 more in Quebec City were on the streets yesterday.

wojtek
Jun 24 2012 16:58
Fleur
Jun 25 2012 15:55

There were large demos in Montreal and Quebec City on Friday, but the numbers in MTL were nearer 10,000 - 15,000, still a pretty good turnout. CLASSE were out collecting donations, legal costs are mounting, even though people are being arrested under by-laws, as apposed to Bill78. The court system is very slow here and legal aid is a pittance.
There was a solidarity rally in Paris yesterday
http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/25827179221/parisians-demonstrate-in-support-of-quebec-students
Students are apparently changing their tactics, away from the nightly marches to a door to door campaign to talk directly to the public.
It's a long weekend here, St.Jean, an only in Quebec bank holiday. There were some red squares in the parade, etc, but it's really just a weekend to relax and party.

Fleur
Jun 28 2012 15:00

It's still quiet here, the nightly marches are now very small.
Yesterday there was a ruling denying an emergency injunction to suspend Bill 78, pending the full hearing into it's legality, later this summer, which I don't think surprised anyone. Below - a piece translated by the Translating the Printemps Erable people, questioning the neutrality of the judge. I'm posting it because it's just an example of how everybody feels that corruption and collusion are endemic in Quebec. It's not just a section of politically inclined people who feel that way, everyone feels, with good reason, that anyone in a position of power is on the make in some way.
http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/26070716181/bill-78-striking-students-foiled-by-a-judge-biased
Another take on the failed injunction, including Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois'
take on it.
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/ethan-cox/2012/06/quebec-court-rejects-emergency-injunction-against-bill-78-gabriel-n

This article appeared in the Montreal Gazette, which is a shitty paper, not fit for cleaning out the cat litter with and certainly not improved on by including the analysis of Chris Hedges in it's stories. Anyway, I thought I'd post it because if the Gazette has noticed that people are really, really pissed off, then there's quite a big deal going on in this city.
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/symphony+discontent/6825165/story.html

In case anyone was feeling pessimistic about potential outcomes in the dispute, the students now have mighty extra-terrestrial support, now that the Raelians are onside.
[url]http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/blog/2012/raëlians-support-students-while-blasting-media-coverage[/url]

wojtek
Jun 29 2012 12:43
Fleur
Jul 2 2012 00:55

Little to report, two long bank holiday weekends in a row, tends to make everyone pretty laid back.
I thought that the Even Rebels Need To Rest article posted up by Wojtek was interesting, as I've been getting the impression that fatigue has been setting in. As I've said before, I'm not good at making predictions, but I would be surprised if anything major, beyond the legal challenges which are in process, happens before school goes back in August. But don't lay any money down based on my opinions, it's not like I'm not often wrong.
Anyway, an interview with Anarchopanda (who is aware of the interest on this site) about his legal challenge to Bill 78.
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Anarchopanda+fights/6864914/story.html

Khawaga
Jul 4 2012 15:17

Ontario organizing is heating up at the moment. Several CLASSE speaking/workshop tours have been organized, and slowly slowly a network of student organizers is being built. Unlikely that anything will happen in the fall, but at least it's a start.

wojtek
Jul 5 2012 20:21
Fleur
Jul 6 2012 00:13

@wojtek: I've noticed a fair amount of Fuck the Police grafitti about, as well as Fuck la Police, showing that it's a word which has been really embraced by the French Quebecois language.

According to Martine Desjardins (FEUQ), the student strike will resume on August 17, by which time it is expected that an election will be called. It seems that FEUQ and FECQ are concentrating their efforts in the summer on campaigning to unseat Liberal MNA (Members of the National Assembly. )
Also, it's summer, the weather's hot and humid and everything slows down here in at this time of year.
There's been a conference on the French language in Quebec City, where the Mayor of Paris met student representatives.

redsdisease
Jul 9 2012 01:34

If anybody is interested, here's a talk that some ASSE organizers did about the history and practice of Quebec's student unions from a conference I was at a couple of years back. I feel like there is some really useful background information on the current student strike in this.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 11 2012 17:53

thanks for all the updates FER