Massive march in Montreal to protest Gov'ts Draconian Bill 78 to deter protests
Protest May 23, 2012
Montreal Protesters while being kettled and arrested shouting at police
Ugly scenes: A Montreal police officer charges at a protester during Wednesday night's demonstration against tuition fee hikes.
Time lapsed Video of Protests Montreal May 22, 2012
What is surprising especially for Canadians is how widespread the protests are being supported by average Citizens in response to the Quebec government's ill-advised legislation to stop any more protests.Ill advised as it were because it has had the opposite effect they had wanted. The unintended consequences are putting the government and police departments on notice that the protesters will not be deterred and simply go away.
'Biggest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History'
Marchers defy Bill 78; Neighborhoods fill with sound of banging pots and pans Common Dreams.org,may 24, 2012
The single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history."
That's how yesterday's Montreal protest is being described today. Hundreds of thousands red-shirted demonstrators defied Quebec's new "anti-protest" law and marched through the streets of downtown Montreal filling the city with "rivers of red."
Tuesday marked the 100th day of the growing student protests against austerity measures and tuition increases. In response to the spreading protests, the conservative Charest government passed a new "emergency" law last Friday - Bill 78.
...Bill 78 not only "enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers." Since the law passed Friday, people in Montreal neighborhoods have appeared on their balconies and in front of their houses to defiantly bang pots and pans in a clanging protest every night at 8 p.m.
Bill 78 mandates:
Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution or who participate in an illegal demonstration.
Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for protest leaders and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations.
All fines DOUBLE for repeat offenders
Public demonstrations involving more than 50 people have to be flagged to authorities eight hours in advance, include itinerary, duration and time at which they are being held. The police may alter any of these elements and non-compliance would render the protest illegal.
Offering encouragement for someone to protest at a school, either tacitly or otherwise, is subject to punishment. The Minister of Education has said that this would include things like 'tweeting', 'facebooking', and has she has implied that wearing the student protest insignia (a red flag-pin) could also be subject to punishment.
No demonstration can be held within 50 meters of any school campus
Ostensibly Tuesday's march was to commemorate the 100th day of a strike by Quebec college and university students over the issue of tuition increases. But a decision last Friday by the Charest government to pass Bill 78 - emergency legislation requiring protest organizers to provide police with an itinerary of their march eight hours in advance - not only enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers into marching through the streets of a city that has seen protests staged here nightly for the past seven weeks.
"I didn't really have a stand when it came to the tuition hikes," said Montrealer Gilles Marcotte, a 32-year-old office worker who used a vacation day to attend the event. "But when I saw what the law does, not just to students but to everybody, I felt I had to do something. This is all going too far."
and from The Montreal Gazette
Calm prevails over large afternoon protest March marks 100th day of unrest; demonstrators, police get testy at night By JAMES MENNIE, KATHERINE WILTON, ANDY RIGA, CHRIS CURTIS, MAX HARROLD and ROBERTO ROCHA, The Gazette May 23, 2012
Tuesday's march was billed as being two demonstrations taking place at the same time. One, organized by the federations representing Quebec college and university students and attended by contingents from the province's labor movement, abided by the provisions of the law and provided a route. The other, overseen by CLASSE, an umbrella group of students associations, deliberately did not.
By 3: 30 p.m., a little more than 90 minutes after the marches began to snake their way through downtown, CLASSE, which estimated the crowd at 250,000, described the march as "the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history."
Other crowd estimates varied between 75,000 and 150,000 protesters. Montreal police do not give official crowd estimates but the Place des festivals, which demonstrators easily filled before the march began, holds roughly 100,000 people.
In Montreal the police obeying the orders of the 1% arrested over 500 people in one night. There are still questions being raised over the police tactics and the use of undercover police or paid thugs or whether the Black Bloc is in fact independent of the authorities or paid agent provocateurs ???
In the 2010 protests at the G20 summit it became obvious that some of the more violent protesters were government organized undercover infiltrators and agent provocateurs who egg demonstrators to commit violent acts and /or destruction of private or public property.
Record arrests as police use controversial kettling to control Montreal protests National Post Wire Services May 24, 2012
MONTREAL — Police made more than 500 arrests Wednesday evening, the largest number of people arrested in a single night so far in the weeks-long Quebec student demonstrations, after using a controversial technique to control protesters.
The evening march that began with people festively banging pots and pans in support of protesting students ended in the early morning hours with police kettling a crowd of demonstrators and arresting 518 people.
Montreal wasn’t the only city to have roundups Wednesday night. There were also mass arrests at protests in Quebec City and Sherbrooke.
The arrests came just hours after the Quebec government signalled it would be getting tougher on the striking students and set strict conditions for any resumption of negotiations with student strike leaders: There will be no talk of a tuition freeze, and no question of scrapping a newly enacted emergency law.
Barring that, Education Minister Michelle Courchesne suggested Wednesday that there will be no return to the bargaining table in a dispute that has made international news.
“I’m not giving up. I’m very tenacious, very determined,” Courchesne said. “I want to talk to them, and it’s up to them to take some steps so that we might talk.”
But within hours of Courchesne’s tough talk, police also flexed their muscles, making hundreds of arrests after a Wednesday night march in Montreal.
Kettling is a police tactic widely used in Europe where riot police surround demonstrators and limit or cut off their exits. It has been widely criticized because it often results in the scooping up of innocent bystanders as well as rowdies.
A recent report by Ontario’s police watchdog blasted Toronto police for their use of kettling during the G20 summit two years ago, saying they violated civil rights, detained people illegally and used excessive force.
The Montreal demonstration was the 30th consecutive nightly march since the student protest against tuition fee increases began more than three months ago.