P-6 BYLAW: QUÉBEC SUPERIOR COURT INVALIDATES THE PROVISION ON MASKS AND RECOGNIZES THE RIGHT FOR SPONTANEOUS PROTESTS TO NOT DISCLOSE AN ITINERARY
This ruling (see link) has landed four years after Anarchopanda pour la gratuité scolaire filed an application for unconstitutionality, following the Tremblay administration’s amendments to the P-6 bylaw at the height of the student protests of 2012, presumably the result of a political order by Jean Charest’s Liberal government.
The ruling confirms article 3.2 of the bylaw, which prevents face-covering by any participant in an assembly, gathering or march in the public space “without reasonable cause”, as being “excessive, unreasonable and arbitrary”. It has also been deemed unconstitutional according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it infringes freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly. Continue reading →
The way that cops treat students is different than the way they treat other advocacy groups
Thursday April 2, Montreal. A motley crowd in the street, a street flooded by the spring sunlight that is finally warming our faces, faces coloured with the red of protest, a protest suddenly halted by shots of teargas and the charge of police officers.
Montreal, Sunday March 29. On this chilly day, women take to the streets and step out of Émilie-Gamelin square while shouting chants aimed at reminding Couillard’s government that no one is to hinder abortion access. Around 500 people make their way towards Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s office then turn back around. The police flank the march but never intervene.
In both cases, no itinerary was provided to the police administration. No “violent” incidents were noted by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). And yet these two protests came to two very distinctive conclusions. Why?
“It’s quite obvious from the dozen recent protests: when they are not organized by student groups, but by feminist groups for example, they are not subject to the same treatment. The treatment is notably differential, and it amounts to political profiling.” Continue reading →
I know you are a bit far from here, from Montreal and the hot spot of the protest. You only have access to mainstream media, to [Education] Minister Blais who threatens students with cancelling the semester and right-wing commentators who are bent on pointing out spelling mistakes instead of listening to the message. Only if you would inform yourself a bit better, you would know we are more than 50 000 on strike, without counting the one-off strike mandates and the votes yet to come. Even medical students will take a day or two to denounce the measures of [Health] Minister Barette. Many unions also have their collective agreements ending next week and for them too, it smells strongly of protest.
It is not a question of illusions, it is not a question that only touches students. It is not like 2012. This time, it is a global political struggle.
Tonight, I experienced my first “real” protest. I thought that it would be relaxed, that all would go well. Me and my enormous naiveté. At the beginning everything was ok; the police marched alongside us, without anymore more. Then, they started charging, blinding, asphyxiating. At the Place du Canada, it was chaos. It was crazy everywhere. In the middle, on the sides, in front, in back. Explosions; too much noise, too much light. People were running everywhere, trapped.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to [nearby restaurant] Jimmy Guaco’s for having welcomed us with open arms, with glasses of water and smiles. It was the first time that my body trembles, it was the first time that I looked at my boyfriend and told him, “my love, I can’t breathe any more, I can’t see anything. It burns.” It was the first time that he was powerless, as he himself could not breathe either. All of this, why? We are still looking for the reason. Everything was happening in a peaceful manner; we were doing nothing, other than marching for our rights.