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.
I've been massively impressed
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.
thans for posting this!
thans for posting this! really interesting stuff
Pretty intense footage
Pretty intense footage
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
And in Ontario... nothing. I
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.
Don't wait for struggle....
Don't wait for struggle.... ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah, thanks for posting
Yeah, thanks for posting this. I hadn't heard anything about it!
The French influence, clearly ;)
Seems kinda reminiscent of
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).
Quote: Don't wait for
I wish it was that easy.
From Sabotagemedia Riots and
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!
From GRÈVE MONTRÉAL BEST
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
The Biggest Student Uprising
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.
15,000 march in Montreal
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:
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
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:
Meanwhile the BBC with all
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...
Don't be so silly, of course
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.
Some photographs of direct
Some photographs of direct democracy in action through March/ April student assemblies:
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.[youtube]pywcnOj3ytc[/youtube]
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:
Though the (non-student) union hierarchies are dragging their feet somewhat...
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.
fleurnoire-et-rouge, are you
fleurnoire-et-rouge, are you in Quebec? I'm wingin' here tbh...
Day 2 of the University is Ours! conference[youtube]JBNPnqPhsbA[/youtube]
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.
Wojtek - yeah, in Montreal.
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.
BTW, the thing about the May
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.
Cross post from the May Day
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!)
There was a march in Ottowa, Canada in solidarity with those struggling in Quebec:
Thanks for the insight,
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?
I'm not sure how useful my
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 :oops: )
Just realised that I've been
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.
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."'
'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.'
University of Quebec and Montreal (UQAM) sociologist Eric Pineault's message to English Canada in regards to Quebec civil society uprising:[youtube]5m-eEujbaOE[/youtube]
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."
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.
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.
Bus of McGill-Concordia
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:
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. :)
During the Victoriaville
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:
Some footage here, beginning at the time the police charged the crowd:[youtube]qAUQTnD8G3Q[/youtube]
Riot police turn bus into
Riot police turn bus into Victoriaville jail cell: A first hand account from the Québec student strike
Also, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are unsurprisingly keeping tabs on anarchists and other revolutionary groups:
Elsewhere, it's looking like an overwhelming rejection of the latest offer by the students and allegations have emerged that a student negotiator was pressured into signing the offer which he “did not agree with”.
An interview with Benoit Renaud, political activist from Gatineau, member of the national coordinating committee of Quebec solidaire, a student in the 1986 and 1990 student strikes, and member of MDE in the 1996 student strike:
Rank and File Radio: The 2012 Quebec Student Strike: Past, Present, Future
An article from the commune on May Day:
yes we canada: the student movement in québec
Three students discuss the
Three students discuss the role of direct democracy and political demands in building a massive movement:[youtube]CQcX1S4xIXc[/youtube]
There's a NCAFC Demo in
There's a NCAFC Demo in London on the 16th May in solidarity:
Demo: Support the Quebec students' movement - no to police violence!
Students at Sydney University in Australia are fighting 340 jobs cuts as well as course cuts, this is Solidarity's banner from their 700-person rally yesterday. They're watching Quebec very closely.
An article at rabble.ca also:
In appreciation of the Quebec student strike
Montage of police repression:
I disagree with the 'workers'
I disagree with the 'workers' government' conclusion, but other than that I don't know what to think of this WSWS article. I thought direct democracy and mandated delegates prevented this sort of thing re CLASSE?
Unions and student associations betray Quebec student strike
It was a tentative agreement,
It was a tentative agreement, subject to approval by individual student groups in their faculties/ colleges at their GAs. So far one college has voted in favour and 15 against. There are many more to come, but right now it looks like the strike will continue. There was a demo this morning in the financial sector and there are more scheduled through the week.
I'd take issue with the comment in the commune article that the CEGEP federation is like the Russell group, there is no equivalent to the Russell group in Quebec. Everybody who goes onto post-seconadary education goes to CEGEP.
Incidentally, it's not just CSIS who are keeping busy. We also have GAMMA squad (it stands for watching the activities of marginalised movements and anarchists.)
Tuition agreement with Quebec
Tuition agreement with Quebec doomed to fail, student votes indicate
Students voting in strong majorities to reject agreement
Fantastic post from News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike:
"The Quebec student movement today: Cegep de Rosemont general assembly votes to not even consider the government's offer. Not to be outdone, facing the threat/possibility of a cancelled semester, the Faculty of Letters and Humanities at the University of Sherbrooke general assembly votes to demand a pony for each student whose classes are cancelled. Oh yeah, and multiple daily demos including 15 straight night time demos in Montreal, over 160,000 on strike for 13 weeks and so far 83,250 students have voted to reject the government's offer, 3,200 to accept it."
NEWS Protesters call for more
NEWS Protesters call for more economic disruption: Anger expressed toward latest government offer
Whole of Montreal metro
Whole of Montreal metro system closed down due to smoke bombs this morning.
I wondered what the
I wondered what the disruption was...
Montreal smoke bomb suspects caught on camera
Protesting CEGEP students target Jean Charest at Casino du Lac-Leamy
It caused considerable
It caused considerable disruption this morning, the metro being down, not least because it was raining, which always causes traffic chaos - 2 foot of snow, no problem, drizzle, nightmare! Protesters also occupied the lobby of the Montreal stock exchange this morning.
CLASSE officially rejected the government offer.
fleurnoire-et-rouge, do you
fleurnoire-et-rouge, do you think it was provocateurs?
Quebec Students Endure Despite Police State Repression
Edit: No one answer my question, I don't think it's wise to speculate online.
Four students from University
Four students from University of Quebec at Montreal have been charged today, after being IDed by fellow classmate from cctv footage, having turned themselves in with their lawyers last night.
Various charges including Mischief ( that one covers a multitude of sins here, and was one of the things the G20 defendants were charged with,) carrying out a hoax relating to terrorism, which is a new one to me, conspiracy and one of them is up on an unauthorised weapon charge. They're due to be arraigned some time today. Other than that, I don't know who they are, but those charged do seem to be students. Obviously, not much other information, other than speculation and I don't really want to do that.
Quote: The CARRÉ NOIR
Rouge Squad: The CARRÉ NOIR Manifesto (The Black Square Manifesto)
See also this interview on the role of anarchists in the Quebec student general strike.
A wall on the second floor of
A wall on the second floor of a social science pavilion at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal near the student cafe.
Montreal subway sabotage accused face terror-hoax related charges
Force étudiante critique have a website here.
UK print media roundup: The
UK print media roundup:
The Guardian managed its second article on May 2nd. Similarly, 'Aunty Beeb' on May 7th - in the strike's 12th week. Meanwhile, the Metro dedicated its first 113 words on the strike or rather the metro disruption yesterday:
Quebec students reject
Quebec students reject union-promoted sellout of their fight for accessible education
Meet Canada’s Ruling Oligarchy: Parasites-a-Plenty!
Mask ban bill penalty doubled to 10 years
Warning for any tourists courtesy of M'sieur Zen:
Two post from News from the
Two post from News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike:
I've added this 2005 interview with Nicolas Phebus of the Collectif Anarchiste La Nuit (NEFAC-Quebec City) to the library:
The Strike of the General Assembly: An Interview with Nicolas Phebus
Quote: There's a NCAFC Demo
Elsewhere, Force étudiante critique have called for a vigil of solidarity with those arrested in connection with the Montreal Metro disruption case as part of the ongoing battle. It will be held today (Monday, May 14) at 11:30 at the Palais de Justice in Rue Saint-Antoine, Quebec.
Student have been fairly busy this morning. There was also a downtown protest, starting at 7am. There was also a march last night, for the 20th consecutive night, although only a couple of hundred yesterday.
There's going to be a session at the Montreal city municipal council to push through by-laws against wearing masks at protests ( on top of the federal one which is on the table at national level) and also making it compulsory to log protests in advance with the police.
BTW everything in relation to the student strike is under the remit of provincial law. Quebec handles education entirely and the police involved are the SQ (provincial police) and the SPVM (Montreal.) Even if the federal govt. in Ottawa were inclined to, they would have no jurisdiction to intervene. The Quebec consulate in London is in Pall Mall. I seem to remember that it is in a nice strolling distance from Grosvenor Square.
Defendants in metro smoke
Defendants in metro smoke bombing bail hearing put back until May 23.
Education minister resigned.
Quebec government defends
Quebec government defends police assault on striking students, plans further repression
Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Quebec Student Movement
Riot cops open school, staff shuts it downStudents protesting against tuition hikes battle with Quebec Provincial Police at the Lionel Groulx college Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in Ste. Therese, Quebec.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
BOOM! YOU JUST GOT FACED!
Police arrest 122 as student
Police arrest 122 as student protests turn violent in Montreal
Montreal protesters shut down classes at university: Protesters screamed 'scab!' at students in classrooms
Striking Québec students enter UQAM campus in protest against court injunctions on the morning of Wednesday May 16, 2012.
Edit: added video footage :)
There's been a lot of chatter
There's been a lot of chatter over the last 24 hrs that Quebec is working on some special legislation to force the students back to college and/or force the colleges open where students have got injunctions to go back. I don't know exactly how that would work. Striking workers have been legislated back to work before, under sanctions of really stringent fines if they don't comply but I'm not sure how you could force a student back. Certainly it would involve giving the police more powers to enforce the injunctions, as if the tear gas, rubber bullet and other assorted weaponry isn't enough.
Quote: Quebec tonight: 8,000
News from the 2012 Quebec student general strike
Charest suspends classes in response to student strikes
Berri-UQAM metro station closed, crowd told to disperse
The teachers union reports
The teachers union reports that in many cases where police enforced the injunctions, teachers ended up with just one or two students in the classroom. "There was even a volleyball class with just one student".Quebec Government to "Lock-Out" Striking Students: If picket lines not removed, Liberals will suspend classes across the province
Quote: "I am 67 and at first
Quebec legislature currently
Quebec legislature currently sitting, special law to be enacted later today. All protests of more than 9 people will be illegal unless logged and OK'ed by the police 8 hours in advance. Huge fines. $1000 -$5000 for an individual ( first offence, doubling thereafter) $7000- $35000 for student leader, $25000-$125000 for student organisation. Student protesters not allowed within 50 meters of college building.
Meanwhile, Montreal legislature pushing through law today criminalising wearing of masks during protest and also requiring demonstrations to be logged and approved in advance by the police. Thousands out on streets last night, no arrests, as far as I am able to tell.
Also woke up to the news that the cops who shot and killed a homeless man for the crime of rifling through rubbish, killing another man as well in the incident, will face no charges. So much for liberal, progressive Quebec.
Haven't picked my way all the way through it yet, but above link is the the law currently being debated. (Very unlikely that it won't pass.)
Guardian's actually got round
Guardian's actually got round to giving it a mention.
That's fucking bullshit,
That's fucking bullshit, state of emergency it is then and on Bakunin's birthday as well!
Quebec to adopt emergency law to break student strike
Montreal metro smoke-bomb suspects released on bail
From the Chilean Winter to the Maple Spring: Solidarity and the Student Movements in Chile and Quebec
CLASSE`s twitter feed reports
CLASSE`s twitter feed reports that public sector workers in Quebec belonging to the CSN union have voted unanimously in favour of a motion to engage in an open-ended general social strike.
Marc Daoud: 'I organized a march of 50 people once the came into force, this is our journey.'
A petition against the new law. Over 60,000 signatures in a few hours:
Petition in support of the request for revocation of the special Bill 78
Canadian Association of University Teachers - Quebec special law violates student rights and civil liberties
Thank you to the admins for
Thank you to the admins for putting this back on the front page.
The government of Quebec have effectively just declared war on the students.
From the 16th at a
From the 16th at a demonstration against the special law:
Demo ends in kettles, arrests: Student journalists from The Daily and Concordia’s Link held
update; Emergency law has
update; Emergency law has passed. Number people allowed to assemble raised to 50. Now wearing a red fabric square, which has become the emblem of the protest is in violation of the law and subject to a fine.
So freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom to wear what you want is now subject to emergency measures.
Thousands march throughout
Thousands march throughout the night
'Protesters are directing traffic. No, I'm not kidding. #manifencours'
by monique_muise via twitter 3:09 AM
'Bikers make a racket with horns as crowd passes. #manifencours twitpic.com'
I think 10,000 or so
I think 10,000 or so protesters told Charest what he could do with his emergency law.
Apparently the SPVM (Montreal police) switchboards were inundated with people phoning up to log their protests.
Went out this morning with my now illegal red square and got the biggest thumbs up and cheesy grin from the bus driver! OTOH, about an hour later, someone spat at me in the street.
I know it's small fry
I know it's small fry compared to what's going on in Quebec, but my experience of student action and the law is this:
One week 50 or so occupied management offices, they fabricated a hostage situation, brought in riot police and dogs and roughed a load of people up. They secured a High Court injunction criminalising further occupations (on pain of fines/immediate prison). The following week 300+ occupied in open defiance of the High Court and there wasn't a cop in sight. The only way to react to this is to escalate imho, make it unworkable. Looks like that's happening, but it could get pretty nasty with yet more repression.
Quote: CLASSE`s twitter feed
fleurnoire-et-rouge, has there been any more information on this?
That's what I've got on my
That's what I've got on my twitter feed too, but I can't find any further information. Certainly the unions have said that they support the students, and have done since the beginning, but whether this will translate into anything concrete, beyond the symbolic hanging of the red flag outside the union buildings, I really couldn't say.
Joseph Kay - as for the escalation, I really don't think it's going to get any quieter. To call this law draconian is a bit of an understatement. Under the fine print, student associations can be banned from campuses potentially for years and replacement student associations won't be allowed. The police now have even more power to pile into protesters and they've hardly been sparingly using their tear gas and stun grenades and everything else they have in their arsenal. Because of the layout of downtown Montreal, there are so many colleges/campuses, the 50 meter exclusion zone will make it impossible to legally protest anywhere down there. People are really mad, I can't see them just stopping. A new website has gone up, to call out for protests without having it traced back tio individuals or organisations.
Certainly if they thought that people would go home, I think that they are very much mistaken.
Quote: Certainly the unions
Yeah, beyond rhetoric, donations and a few symbolic strikes they've done well... nothing.
Regarding esculating the general strike into a social one, has there been any movement from rank-and-file workers, the unemployed, indigenous peeps and secondary students? From what I've read of the alternative news in Quebec and Canada, I get the impression that there's not much light at the end of the tunnel, at least up until now... I'm not saying things can't or won't change by now by the way!
Does anyone know how, in what conditions the massive wildcat strike of May '68 arose?
I know there's been a couple of Molotovs, whether that's provocateurs or not we'll probably never know and it's early days, but can you see a minority splitting ala the Red Brigades or Quebec Liberation Front?
Excuse all the questions, I'm just trying to look at historical precedents ('68 and Italy '77). figure out the prospects for better or worse that's all. :) *regrets not being a history buff*
I really can't emphasise this
I really can't emphasise this enough, I am not a student and I have no inside track on what's going on. I just want people to know what is happening here. Got a friend staying from overseas this weekend and they had no idea at all.
Apart from unions saying that they are supportive, not seeing any general move towards turning this into a social strike. It is really, really polarised here. Over the last couple of weeks, especially after the smoke bombs on the metro, a fair amount of public opinion has turned against the protests, not all but a fair amount. Not surprising really, given that the media is so biased, both in English and French. All the lead stories today about last night's demos emphasised a couple of molotovs, the actions of the police are secondary. Most people don't read the alternative media. Massive hostility towards the journalists from the protesters, especially the Journal de Montreal.
However, everybody was expecting some kind of emergency law, but what we got is far more draconian than anyone expected. People are comparing it to the War Measures Act, which was used in the 1970's to bring the army onto the streets of Montreal in response to the FLQ and the October Crisis.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_de_libération_du_Québec
I think, maybe I just hope, that people have longer memories than the powers that be think they have.
There have been some sympathetic walk outs by secondary students, but schools out in a few weeks, not sure that it will go anywhere.
Also, it's dividing the population along language lines. Quebec is a francophone province, but there is a significant anglo minority and I hate to generalise, but they tend to be fairly affluent. Anglophone Montreal far less sympathetic to the strike.
It's hard to look at Quebec politics in the same way as many other places. You can't just look at it in terms of left and right, there's also language and nationalism/federalism. Lines can be very blurry at times.
IMO, things are not looking too good, but then I'm feeling pretty pessimistic about loads of stuff at the moment, so hopefully, I am wrong.
Montreal relies on the tourist trade in the summer. Hot, sultry weather and masses of festivals, Just for Laughs, jazzfest, film festivals,outdoor concerts, the grand prix etc. This could hit the city where it really hurts. Americans (we're really close to the border) are being warned to keep away. American tourists bring huge amounts of revenues in, given the reputation as a bit of a sin city and party town. Economic disruption looks like an optimal tactic.
Another huge demo tonight. No sign of much compliance with loi 78.
Sorry, rambling and incoherent, dead tired.
Sorry, just realised that I
Sorry, just realised that I posted up the same link as YOu :oops:
Really knackered, not thinking too straight.
FWIW though, not seeing any
FWIW though, not seeing any massive FLQ type thing going on. The FLQ had a strong nationalist/separatist agenda and there's very low levels of separatist interest these days.
I really don't know how it's going to go. Montreal's a fantastic city, and despite a somewhat turbulent history, I've never felt anything but welcome, even when my french was shit and I couldn't find my way around. But, like I mentioned before, a stranger spat at me in the street today and I was really shocked.
Anyway, need to go to bed. I'll think clearer tomorrow, hopefully.
More protests last night, 69 arrests, teas gas etc, including group of people enjoying a few beers on the terrasse of a bar ( see above.) More planned for tonight. No sign of it letting up. Some of legal opinion questioning the emergency law as being unconstitutional.
Quebec artists showing support for students abroad.
Has this already been posted up? I'm losing track a bit. An account of Victoriaville, not very current, had it saved but couldn't work out why I hadn't posted it, unless it's already here.
300+ arrests last night. The guy in above twitterpic has serious head injuries, fortunately not life threatening - note that he has cuffs on his wrist, was injured after he was arrested. Apparently a lot of people in Montreal don't feel a strong need to obey the special law.
Media coverage predictably lousy, all emphasising that police provoked by demonstrators throwing projectiles.
Police from SQ (provincial police) are being drafted in to Montreal because the SPVM (Montreal police) are getting really tired.
Grand Prix and festival season just around the corner.
CBC coverage: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/05/21/montreal-protests-students-police-teargas.html
Incidentally, loads of TV
Incidentally, loads of TV coverage of royal visit. Why aren't Charles and Camilla coming to Montreal? ;)
Just when I thought no-one
Just when I thought no-one outside of Quebec was noticing, a solidarity demo in Paris
From a friend's FB feed.
From a friend's FB feed.
I also read on someone's feed that the police had started using their service revolvers/guns. Not sure if just for threatening ppl or actually shooting.
Khawaga wrote: Quote: You
Lol, I didn't see that before
Lol, I didn't see that before now. I'll give my friend a history lesson when he comes back.
What happened: Amnesty
Amnesty International condemns Bill 78.
After Bill 78, two nights of violence in Montreal streets: 308 arrested Sunday night, and 69 Saturday night, as protesters defy new laws
2nd night of protest under Bill 78: More than 300 arrests, flooding, injuries
Police state bill passed to suppress Quebec student strike
CLASSE held press conference
CLASSE held press conference this afternoon to say that they will be defying Bill 78.
No illusions about the media, but this article about how La Presse has been doctoring their coverage (sorry, but it doesn't want to run through google translate. ) Last night 2 of their journalists were arrested. Ist account online in La Presse, roughtly translated
...later 2 journalists (female) were kettled by the police. One was wearing ski goggles to protect her eyes against tear gas and debris from projectiles. She was knocked over and injured on her mouth. In spite of their protestations and trying to reason with the officers on the scene, it took 20 minutes for them to be freed; police officer said that they didn't give a shit/fuck (depends on tone of voice, that one) that they were journalists.
Article modified until references to being knocked over and verbally abused removed.
Personally not surprised, but most of the public are getting their news from a biased and hostile media.
All sorts of rumours circulating, that the army is going to be called in. Personally, I see that as unlikely at the moment - you do regularly see military vehicles in Montreal, because of local military bases, but people are also understandingly very jumpy. Also rumours that local internet provider is censoring emails. Also, IDK, but certainly the atmosphere is very conducive to paranoia. I really couldn't say, but the situation is pretty head-fucky. Suspension of civil rights is not something I saw coming.
Anyway, big one tomorrow, planned before Bill 78 came in, to mark 100 days since beginning of strike.
The Industrial Workers of the
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies) in Canada have officially endorsed the Quebec strike and have donated funds to CUTV.
Other union support too.
Bill 78 not going down too well with public in Quebec. This is just me talking personally, but there does seem to be a turn in attitudes, not necessarily in support of the students, but definitely against the actions of the government. I'm not nearly as gloomy as I was a few days ago. :)
Malcolm Harris and Max Fox
Malcolm Harris and Max Fox have a write-up trying to link the frame-ups of black blockers in Occupy with the Quebec protests.
“We didn’t know it was
“We didn’t know it was impossible, so we did it!”: Student Strike celebrates its 100th day
Reports of 50,000 on streets.
"Sellout student orgs & unions like FECQ and FTQ have shared demo route with police. Instead of defiance they collaborate."
Jaggi Singh (jaggimontreal) on Twitter
But no one seemed to followed the route. Total civil disobedience.
On Day 100 of Quebec student strikes, Montreal protest goes international
Now, I was never very good at maths, but that looks a lot more than 50 to me ;)
STM ( Montreal public transit) union refusing to allow police to use STM buses. Posting up their own copwatch videos. Middle video is of SQ pre-emptively arresting a bunch of students on their way to a demo
100+ arrests last night.
EDIT: videos removed from STM union website
Solidarity Means Attack - Call For Support From Montréal!
On Friday, May 18, 2012, two new laws came into effect in montréal. Their purpose is to stifle the anti-capitalist revolt that has emerged from the student strike that began in this province fifteen weeks ago, to restore order and clear the way for the implementation of austerity measures in this territory.
The first is a municipal by-law. It aims to discourage people from wearing masks at demonstrations by threatening them with fines from $1000 to $5000. It comes as the federal government is contemplating a law, to be implemented across the whole territory of the canadian state, that would punish those who conceal their identities “while participating in a riot” with a maximum of ten years in prison.
The second is the provincial government’s Special Law which demands that all public manifestations of popular dissent submit themselves to fastidious control by the state. Any demonstration, anywhere in québec, must submit a start time and a complete route to the local police at least eight hours in advance; if it does not, it is illegal. The route can also be changed at any time by the police. There can be no demonstrations on the grounds of academic institutions, nor even within fifty metres of them. Any leader, spokesperson, or rank-holding member of a student association that blocks access to classes or counsels others to do so will be subjected to a fine ranging between $7000 and $35,000. If a student association as a whole is found guilty of the above, they will be subjected of a fine between $25,000 and $125,000. The amounts are doubled for second offences, and student associations can lose one semester of membership fees for every day that the law is violated. It is also illegal to encourage any other person to attend an illegal demonstration, and it is potentially illegal to livetweet where the demo is and what it’s up to at any given time.
In the three days that the Special Law has been in place, its tangible effect on the movement has been that CLASSE, the most radical student union, has taken down its calendar of events, which listed all of the actions that were happening in montréal and other cities across québec. A new anonymous website has gone up.
In and of themselves, these two new laws will probably not contribute much to putting more people behind bars in the same way as the federal government’s project of prison expansion and criminal justice overhaul. Instead, the aim is to destroy the finances of organizations that have accommodated themselves to the system and perhaps recoup some of the enormous costs incurred as a result of economic sabotage, traffic and commuter chaos, and police overtime over the last few months. To be clear, the fat bank accounts of the student federations were a crucial component of this situation beginning, and since they could be helpful in the future, they’re worth defending. Sustaining the revolt, however, does not require money so much as courage, will, and creativity. We will get what we need to keep fighting, even if it becomes somewhat harder to do so.
Still, what happened in legislative assemblies and city council meetings has had and will have an effect on the streets. Demos are being declared as illegal from the moment they begin, which emboldens the SPVM (local cops) and the SQ (provincial cops) to use more intense dispersal techniques and greater levels of force earlier on. Prior to this law, they’d taken eyes, broken arms, shattered jaws, and put people into life-threatening comas. But people are still in the streets, throwing asphalt at riot cops and building burning barricades...
To contextualize things, the strike – if defined as students refusing to attend school – began at the start of February when most of the cégeps in the province of québec, as well as two of the largest universities, voted to strike. Through a series of consistent general assemblies, the student unions and specific faculties of these schools have maintained that they are on strike, each of the bodies defining their intentions and goals. For some of the schools, continuing the strike has been a week-to-week re-negotiation while others voted right from the beginning to participate in an unlimited general strike, and still others voted to strike until all education was free.
At first, the government refused to negotiate with the student federations, insisting that the decision had already been made. It took until the latter half of April before talks could happen, thanks in large part to the unilateral call for a truce by CLASSE’s executive without the consultation of the membership. This truce took the form of CLASSE stating that no actions would happen under their name while negotiations were in progress. Talks broke down when a confrontational demo, not planned by CLASSE, took the streets on April 24, the government refused to sit down with CLASSE any longer, and the other two federations walked out in solidarity. Whether the government knew it and was being manipulative, or didn’t and was being stupid, it should have been clear that the federation bureaucrats no longer had any control over the people in the streets – and this was no longer simply about increasing tuition fees. When further talks two weeks later produced an actual proposal for a deal, the federation memberships rejected it. There is no reason to think there will be any more talks for some time. That leaves significantly fewer options for a leftist recuperation.
Right now, the general sentiment in the street is that we will not stop, we will not be contained, and we do not want this to end now. We have watched the situation transform from a limited strike with reformist goals to a generalized revolt with revolutionary aspirations. The diversity of tactics being used, the cries that ring out during demos, and the kinds of targets that get attacked are pretty clear indications that this is about so much more than tuition fees – and many moments have been beautiful in a way that is hard to convey. We won’t give up on this.
And we want you to feel what we’re feeling. We know you feel something, but we want you to feel it like we feel it. We know that every time one of us goes to jail, every time a comrade in the streets loses their eye to the shrapnel of a concussion grenade or their ear to a rubber bullet to the head, that there are so many others who feel the heat of vengeance swell inside them. Knowing the global situation, knowing that people are approaching the breaking point not just here but everywhere, it needs to be insisted upon that what is happening in québec is not exceptional. What has happened here can happen elsewhere and it needs to happen elsewhere. Everything we’re doing has been inspired by the revolts and uprisings that have taken hold in other places. If it can’t inspire social disruptions of its own, then it will die out quick.
So this is a call out for solidarity as much as it’s our heartfelt hope that one day you’ll feel this around you as well. This needs to spread past montréal, past québec. Bring it to your cities and communities in whatever way you can, using whatever methods and means are at your disposal.
Our hearts and heads are tired, but we’re still smiling.
We want to see the strike spread. We want to see this social upheaval spread.
When shit is fucked, fuck shit up.
Please circulate widely.
Quote: May 23 2012
518 arrests last night in
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;
pirates vs ninjas demo going on this afternoon.
University of Ottawa students
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
Quebec's 'truncheon law'
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
Quebec police mount mass arrests in bid to break student strike
Mass arrests in Quebec higher than October Crisis in 1970
Things have been fairly quiet
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.
An interview with Amelie, a
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
Quebec student strike: Government excludes fee hikes, Bill 78 from proposed talks
Montreal Pots And Pans Video Of Protest Against Bill 78 Goes Viral
Amnesty: Quebec law breaches
Amnesty: Quebec law breaches Canada’s international human rights obligations
Peeps attend an illegal march amidst a tornado warning LIKE A BOSS! :)
‘Quebec protests no longer
‘Quebec protests no longer simply a student issue’ – journalist
7 June à 5pm: Disrupt the Grand Prix Opening Cocktail!
(UPDATED) FIVE THOUGHTS FROM
(UPDATED) FIVE THOUGHTS FROM QUEBEC on organizing student strikes
Student associations and
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.
Just click the the 'image'
Just click the the 'image' icon and type the code at the top into where it says URL. :)
Edit: that is Public Enemy right, I've no idea what they look like? :oops:
Thanks! Talks still on today,
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.
Yes, that's Public Enemy.
Yes, that's Public Enemy. And I guess that means my age and decrepitude is showing :cry:
I'm really loving these
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 =/
I doubt if there will be too
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.
@ Davi, I'm not fussy either
@ 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! :) Thanks for the twitter hashtags.
United Church takes students’ side in protests
Lawyers take to the streets with students for Montreal’s 35th consecutive night of protest
Reading Lolita in Montreal: Canada Doesn’t Want More Journalists
Apparently my predictive
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.
Quote: An Anger March for
As state repression continues
As state repression continues student associations in talks with Quebec government
Negotiations still going
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.
Negotiations back on today,
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.
I think someone needs a big
I think someone needs a big hug from a certain black and white Chinese man! :)
Visit Montreal this
Visit Montreal this summer!
edit: you have no idea how spectacularly pleased I am with myself for embedding that!
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.
We are all Quebecois (even if
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:
Vimeo Documentary: Red Square
Vimeo Documentary: Red Square Revolt | Quebec Students on Strike
Yesterday (Saturday) there
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.
A website making solidarity posters available as pdfs.
Facebook page of artwork, posters, graffiti, photos etc
Not a huge amount happened,
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
This video released yesterday
Meanwhile, Chris Hedges has an opinion
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 :)
Aljazeera documentary -
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:
Edit: Are the images showing up, they're not on my laptop?
No, images not showing. You
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. ;)
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.
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.
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.
FWIW nobody has been arrested
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...)
Montreal welcomes the Grand
Montreal welcomes the Grand Prix.
Four demos disrupted the Grand Prix events downtown last night.
@wojtek, thanks for the instructions how to embed video
Not had time to post, so
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
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.)
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!
Well, festival season kicked
Well, festival season kicked off in a lively sort of fashion in Montreal with the Grand Prix 8-) (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.
Another account of Thursday night, by a Mtl based journalist
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
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.
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.
And just when the Grand Prix have packed up, there's a whole new bunch of tourists to welcome.
Update: CLASSE called a press
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...
Just spotted this. It's got
Just spotted this. It's got that weird google translate thing going on, but the gist of it is still there.
Edit: Changed link -been translated by the Translating the Printemps Erable folk.
I took loads of the pictures
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..
Occupation (1970) 47
Occupation (1970) 47 minutes
Been fairly quiet for a few
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.
Anyway, a few articles I found. Sorry I can't be any more informative.
I can't believe no one has
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? ;)
Feeling horribly remiss for
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
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
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
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
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. :)
Quote: I experienced my first
Testimony: Isabelle de Grandpré
It's still been fairly quiet
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..)
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.
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 -
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.
This is a video which has been doing the rounds, Super Mario against the Hikes
Forgot to mention, Jean
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.
Apparently over 100,000 in
Apparently over 100,000 in Montreal, 3-5000 more in Quebec City were on the streets yesterday.
146 Greek Academics Shows
146 Greek Academics Shows Solidarity With Quebec Students
There were large demos in
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
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.
It's still quiet here, the
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.
Another take on the failed injunction, including Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois'
take on it.
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.
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.
Even Rebels Need to Rest,
Even Rebels Need to Rest, Montreal, Night 65
“With you in the shadows.”
The (Street) Art of Stirring Things Up, Montreal, Night 66
Little to report, two long
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.
Ontario organizing is heating
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: I've noticed a fair
@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.
Listen, You Can Hear the
Listen, You Can Hear the Sound of Direct Democracy, or Orchestroles, Montreal, Night 72
Manifest Your Dreams, Montreal, Prelude to Night 73 (in C minor)
Photos from yesterday:
And more generally:
(thanks anarchopanda! :))
If anybody is interested,
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.
thanks for all the updates
thanks for all the updates FER
Thanks, but all I'm doing is
Thanks, but all I'm doing is passing on my observations, nice to be appreciated though! :) Also, I'd like to pass on some appreciation to Wojtek, who's been posting up some good stuff.
Very little happening here, as far as I can see, although I've been working a lot, and when not, I've been taking advantage of the hot weather and making like a lizard on a rock, outdoors a lot, so it's not impossible that things have passed me by.
There's going to be an election, possibly 1st week of September, which will have some bearing, in one way or another on the student strike, especially if some of the student associations throw in with the Parti Quebecois.
It's actually felt quite weird in Mtl the last few weeks, it's funny how habituated I had got to a huge police presence in the downtown area. Not that I miss them. It's not surprising that it's gone quiet, it is a student movement, and most of whom need to work full-time over the summer and vacate their apartments, move in with parents for the summer. I really hope that they have a good summer, recharge their batteries. It started off as a really large, very peaceful protest movement and before long was met astonishing brutality. I didn't have any touch-feely sentiments about the SPVM, but I could't quite believe it back when it first started kicking off and I wandered too close to a protest and realised that they were being tear gassed and having stun grenades launched at them. There were figures released last week detailing the figures of police injuries, but I have no idea how many protesters have been hurt.
Anyway, I'll log in with anything interesting/significant, but I'm not anticipating much.
Quote: Cross Canada speaking
CLASSE are also doing a tour and have published a manifesto here. Would the admins like to have that in the library?
With the election around the
With the election around the corner, Quebec's lost another education minister, which appears to be a pretty stressful job these days, education being a massively political issue in Quebec, even without the student strike. Michelle Courchesne has announced that she won't be running in the forthcoming election. She was widely regarded as one of the least tainted by corruption members of the Liberal cabinet, although there was some scandal over awarding of licenses to daycare operators a few years back. (Quebec has a system of state subsidised $7 a day daycare, but there are never enough places, and there issues around who the licenses are awarded to, where they are located - often not where there are higher concentrations of pre-school children.)
From the people at Translating the printemps erable :
CLASSE held a meeting over the weekend, declaring it's neutrality during the election, as in not supporting or recommending it's members to support any particular party. Also outlining issues it wanted emphasise, democracy, social justice, feminism and the environment.
This is an account of an anarchist from the US, who's been here for a couple of months.
I think it's interesting, because I've become so habituated to Mtl not only being bilingual, but a city of many languages, that sometimes I forget that language issues are really such a big deal at times, which is ridiculous really, given the sheer weight of politics around language here. I think the person you left the comment at the end was a bit hard on her, it can be a bit difficult to get your head around at first, I'd just forgotten. Which, in a rambling way, brings me to my point. People talk about Canada as being Two Solitudes, that English and French speaking Canada don't talk to each other and don't really get each other. Because I live in a strange enclave where people pretty much get along most of the time (which is not always the case in Quebec, but has largely been my experience) I forget that the rest of Canada (ROC) is not so bilingual and that there is a degree of not understanding, which I think has manifested itself in some of the outright hostility to Quebec, which has shown up in the media in the ROC recently. So when I say I'm just posting my observations, I've come to realise that they are very skewed observations. I do have an annoying habit when I talk of assuming that everyone knows where I'm coming from, and it did occur to me not everyone is particularly aware of some of idiosyncrasies of here. Which is where I think the Translating the printemps erable is really valuable. It can be easy to dismiss the mainstream media, in any language, but it's not easy to get a handle on any story, without seeing how it's being reported on locally. La Presse, La Devoir etc, are not exactly overly sympathetic to the student strike, but they do report on it, within a wider context of Quebec politics and social issues, which is not often picked up upon very well within the English press outside of Quebec. And the Montreal Gazette has such an anglophone bias. Although there's not a huge volume of translation, I would recommend looking in on the site, if only to get a feel of how the student strike is playing out within the context of the rest of life here.
In spite of speculation that
In spite of speculation that the student protests have been losing steam, there was a massive demo here in Montreal today, some people saying 100,000 , local media calling it at 10,000 ( it was much more than that,) The Gazette's probably reporting it as 3 men and a dog. It was immediately declared illegal by the SPVM, but not under Law 78, under another bylaw. Obviously, this is predominately a dispute over tuition hikes, but to a large degree it has also become a locus for a lot of other issues, not just the corruption issue, but also environmental issues ( the government has just thrown down a bundle to re-open asbestos mines to export, mostly, to India,) and all sorts of other things. Also, just to call it a student movement kind of disregards the large number of non-students there, older people, people with kids. I'll try and post up some media over the next couple of days.
I think someone posted this up, or something related a few days ago, but the link didn't seem to go anywhere;
It's a list of classes scheduled for the return to school timetable, which went up earlier in the week. It doesn't specifically call for them to be blocked, just where they are and map reference.
edit: double post. My
edit: double post. My computer is within an inch of being taken outside for a bloody good kicking, not behaving well of late.
Some video from
Some video from yesterday
And because no protest in Montreal is complete without drumming and interpretive dance
And again with the drumming
Video and transcript of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois' speech from before the march set off
Also ( doing this in bite
Also ( doing this in bite size chunks, because internet spotty & keeps crashing on me)
Something about the nude protests. I honestly didn't much think about this, toplessness being a bit of a way of life (weather permitting) in Montreal, with topless greasy spoon cafes, topless sugar shacks, the main street downtown ( like Oxford Street) being an eclectic mix of corporate chain stores, strip joints and sex shops, I'd honestly forgotten that people are want to get excited about this sort of thing. Anyway, here it is.
And something about student solidarity with Indigenous people over logging.
Leo Bureau-Blouin, who
Leo Bureau-Blouin, who stepped down as head of FECQ student association is standing in forthcoming election as a candidate for the Parti Quebecois.
(As run through google translate)
I was just going to post
I was just going to post about that. What is it with union bureaucrats turning into political careerists :roll: Lovin' the updates btw, keep them up! :) x
Damn! Was kinda hoping that
Damn! Was kinda hoping that no-one was looking in at the moment, because I've scored a whole bunch of free movie tickets to an ongoing film festival here and have been spending much of my time in darkened rooms with a load of other genre movie nerds. I guess I'm going to have to go back to paying attention. :)
Leo B.B standing as a PQ candidate is not much of a surprise, he was the student leader most likely to sell out. He may well be a committed pequiste, but it is a fairly big propaganda coup for the PQ. Youth voter turnout is generally as low as most other places here, except for last summer, in the federal election young people in Quebec turned out en masse and voted for the National Democratic Party ( leftish) taking them from a handful of seats in Ottawa to the official opposition, obliterating other parties, including the Bloc Quebecois (sovereignist). The PQ are trying to capitalise on young people in Quebec being more politicised. No idea how that will work out, as it is the election is a few weeks away, and no-one is making any clear predictions. Quebec has the same first past the post voting system as in the UK, and last time I looked there were 5 parties fielding candidates in most ridings, as well as the usual fringe candidates. Also, the raison d'etre of the PQ, beyond an independent Quebec, seems to be fucking with the education system, so I'm not sure how many people who are taken in by Pauline Malois' sudden down with the youth stance. tbh, the impending election is annoying me at many levels, not least because I'm being bombarded by phone calls from political parties and pollsters asking me for my opinion. There's a new right wing nutbar party on the block, risen from the ashes of another right wing nutbar party, a new leftish wing nationalist party (yeah, I know, what can I say, things are different in Qc ) and I can't see what difference any of it will make, given that we all know that the place is run by the mafia anyway ;)
Incidentally, at a federal level, despite being swept from having a handful of MPs to being, what they see themselves as being, a government in waiting, on a massive surge of the youth vote in Quebec, the NDP haven't made a single, solitary statement about the student protests, not just lacking any support, but not even acknowledging that it has been happening. I would think that might be just a little disillusioning to a lot of people swept up in the excitement of electoral politics last year.
Anyway, I imagine that it all might have some bearing on the student movement, if a sizeable number of young voters vote PQ. I don't know if many people are buying the PQ's support of the students ( especially now that they've suddenly shut up about it. )
Anyway, electoral politics in Quebec gives me a headache! So I'm off to watch an apolcalyptic gorefest.
Some video which was posted
Some video which was posted up today.
Call out to block returning classes
And fliers for it, in English
Last night marked the 100th
Last night marked the 100th night time demonstration in Montreal. Over the summer these nightly marches have dwindled down to as few as 30 -50 at times, but last night there was a crowd which has been estimated as many as 10,000. It was very soon declared illegal (still, not under Bill 78, but under another by-law.) Pepper spray, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets. As far as I can see, there were 17 arrests. One protester was hit by a car, in hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The SPVM put out a announcement that the use of water pistols will not be tolerated.
What there has been in the media this morning has mentioned that last night's protest was in response to yesterday's official announcement of the election (Sept 4), although there had been a larger 100th night march planned for a while. 10,000 protesters and riot police in Montreal would have made headlines a few months back, but it's become a small story lost in Olympic reporting. Not a lot has been posted up as yet this morning (9 am here) and I'll post any media that I find up later.
Been waiting to post up good
Been waiting to post up good video, then I realised that I was just too picky about finding footage with good camera angles, interesting content and commentary, and that they are cell phone footage and I'm not a movie critic and I should stop waiting for the perfect Manif 100 film to be posted. So here's some, non-award winning footage from August 1st 100th night demo.
(pretty much 37 minutes of people walking)
(2 minute combo of people walking and standing still)
Video of a projection on side of a building.
This blog has some decent stills and some video:
Interruption dealt with,
Interruption dealt with, second part of post -
Tomorrow the student associations are starting the process of asking their members at their GAs whether or not to continue with the strike, a process that should take about a week. This could be where the election exerts some influence. The Parti Quebecois, including Leo Blouin-Bureau have publicly asked the students for a truce, during the election campaign. It seems also that Quebec Solidaire has been doing the same behind the scenes. All normal logic would suggest that a government as unpopular with just about all sectors of the electorate as the Quebec Liberals are and a Premier as disliked as Charest would lose the election, but Teflon Jean has a habit of surviving. It has been mooted that the sections of the electorate that the Liberals always take for granted, such as federalists, anglos, may chose to abstain in this election as a protest, rather than vote for parties which to one degree or another have a separatist agenda. However ( making crass generalisations here) the anglo vote in Montreal is significant enough to make a difference to the Liberals, and as a whole they have been far less sympathetic to the student movement. The argument is that if major disruptions happen on the streets of Montreal during the election campaign, then it might well propel enough voters out to vote Liberal, Charest having been portraying himself as the living embodiment of law, order and stability. Charest is such a figure of hate in the student strike, some people may see his defeat at the polls as a priority. I guess we will find out as the GAs convene.
Generally, right now the student movement is right on the back of the back burner in the media and general public consciousness. Last weeks 80,000 turn out barely got a mention, way after the election and the olympics. The next big call out is for August 22nd. Going to have to see what happens over the next few weeks.
EDITt: the first GA took place this evening (Monday 6 August) The Department of Social Services, UQAM, and they voted to continue the strike.
Monday, representatives of
Monday, representatives of Quebec teachers/professors (including Anarchopanda, cunningly disguised as a human) called a press conference to release a manifesto denouncing the special law. There's a link at the bottom of this piece to an English translation of this.
Today the offices of Hydro Quebec were blocked by several hundred protesters. To put some context on this, Hydro is the state monopoly electricity utility, it makes shit loads of money, has massive surpluses and is raising electricity prices again. This is not a part of the world where you can particularly skimp on energy, it can be -20, -30 in the winter and there's not all that much going in alternatives, some older buildings have oil heating, some places in the city have gas, or else it's wood fires, but most people rely on Hydro to heat their homes and successive hikes over recent years have hit people on low incomes. There are also issues relating to appropriation of indigenous lands and proposed drilling for oil on Anticosti Island. I mention this, and there are also other issues relating to Hydro, because this is how it was reported by the CBC today
Pretty much, bunch of students showed up at Hydro for no particular reason and were swatted away.
Radio-Canada (French language part of CBC) at least mentioned the raising of electricity tariffs and Anticosti.
I realise it's no point in having high expectations in the MSM, I just thought I'd post up both reports, as an example of how the student strike is being reported differently in both languages. The English media is doing it without much regard to wider context.
Three student associations
Three student associations have voted tonight (Wed 8th), one to continue the strike, one to hold an electoral truce and one to go back to class.
EDIT: Gabriel Nadeau -Dubois has resigned as spokesperson of CLASSE tonight.
Hi is there any reason
Hi is there any reason noone's posted that the new Premier's cancelled the fees hike? Is it cos all the quebecois are too busy partying or is there some context I don't know?
Sorry, my bad. Context being
Sorry, my bad. Context being that I harbour the delusion that everyone knew, because it's such enormous news here. Obviously though, Quebec news is not covered extensively elsewhere. Apologies offered up.
Yes, tuition fees hike and Law 12 officially rescinded by decree this week. Also, students also keep the additional funding in bursaries/loans promised by Charest government as a sweetener against the tuition hikes.
The student movement has not completely gone to bed, the monthly demo ( always a big one every 22nd) is going ahead today, emphasis on working for free education, an amnesty for the 3000+ arrests and a call for an investigation into the police brutality which took place.
There's a bit of ambiguity about what is going to happen to people who were charged under the Special Law, given that it no longer exists, although most of the arrests were under municipal bylaws and other parts of the criminal code.
The spokeswoman for the Green Squares - students who were in favour of tuition hikes (whose name I can't be bothered to look up) has seen the light - by glory! - and has now realised that she was wrong and that tuition hikes are actually bad for students and is remedying this by embarking on a political career in a new separatist party, that almost nobody voted for in the election.
And in Montreal, it never requires much of an excuse to get busy partying.
Technically there will still
Technically there will still be tuition hikes, but they will be pegged to the rate of inflation. And it's not such a big victory considering that the new PQ premier (or was it the education minister) was pretty gung ho about tuition increases the last time they were in power. Pretty sure there were strikes against that back then as well.
@Khawaga - aw downer! It felt
@Khawaga - aw downer! It felt like a good week here for a change, don't want harsh reality to butt in until Monday, at the earliest.
You are right though, the PQ have no commitment to student issues, it was Pauline Marois as PQ education minister who first brought up tuition hikes, and they had to back down then as a result of student strikes. Looking at it cynically, I think the PQ are trying to play a long game with the youth vote. The backbone of the PQ's agenda is a sovereign Quebec, something which there is little appetite for in younger people here, people born after the October crisis and all the turmoil in the 1970's. The fact that the PQ only just scraped a minority government, despite going up against the Liberals, who are universally seen as corrupt, in bed with organised crime, incompetent, and only have the interests of big business,(should have been a slam dunk) indicates that sovereignty is not the compelling issue it once was here. Actually, the PQ in government have the same record, but people have short memories in politics. I suspect that Marois et al's recent love-in with the students is in hope of snagging a few extra voters in order to further their agenda for separation. I think this is also playing out in the PQ pushing the line that Harper Government (Federal) is starkly in contrast to "Quebec values."
Thanks for that guys. Don't
Thanks for that guys. Don't take it as a personal sleight Fleur, if I'd just won a massive struggle, my priority would be getting extremely fucking pissed rather than posting to Libcom.
I also appreciate Khawaga's sombering tones. Clearly any victory is only temporary, and there will be further attempts to hike the fees when the student movt appears weaker (lest we forget the lesson of the CPE struggle in France in '06, of which this now seems vaguely reminiscent). Encouraging that demos are continuing.
The demo yesterday ended with
The demo yesterday ended with the cops ploughing in with their usual aplomb. I caught some of the march, I had my kid with me and decided to forgo the standing around in the rain listening to speeches part and join the march proper. By the time we got there though, it was obvious that it was going to kick off, massive police presence in riot gear, trapping people in side streets, so we didn't hang around long, no desire to get the kid pepper sprayed or tear gassed. Totally different atmosphere to the last 22nd demo I took him to. Took it totally in his stride though, I was more stressed out about him being there than he was. Anyway, some video from yesterday.
The media said there was about 1000 people there. Others were saying about 2000-2500. My best guess isn't worth having, because I'm useless at judging these things.