This is a beautiful video:
This is a beautiful video:
There have been a huge amount of reports on Twitter of people grabbing pots and pans and heading to the streets to bang them around and make noise in Montreal.
While it’s impossible to immediately compare the student fees protest with the Argentine economic collapse, it is perhaps poetic that the same mode of protest is appearing in both locations. In Argentina, it’s a cacerolazo. In Quebec, it’s a “concert des casseroles.”
Watching the Quebec student protests over the past few weeks has been kind of amazing, especially from the Vancouver viewpoint. While the protests have been going on for more than three months – today is the 100th day of protests – they have not really been intensely covered in the English media until the Quebec government of Jean Charest passed Law 78, which is an emergency law aimed at preventing the students from protesting by imposing strict limitations on when and where and how protest can be done. I’ve done some work on drilling down the effects of the law over here.
Now, while the Quebec Minister of Justice is busy declaring that civil disobedience is synonymous with vandalism, it appears that the Quebecoises and Quebecois themselves have decided that they’ve had enough with laws that go too far. The protest held today (22 May 2012) has varying estimates for attendees, but safe to say, it was more than 50.
One impressive thing that’s emerged is a fantastic amount of engagement through art. There have been songs, pieces of performance art, Anarchopanda, and so much more that have come out of Quebec sharing the amazing power of the struggle.
Art, of course, has the power of being beautiful aesthetically, but art can also be so incredibly powerful as to connect us across millieus and disparate experiences towards a common understanding. Parenthetically, that’s one of the reasons I’m involved in the amazing Art for Impact.
From Quebec, recently, I’ve found some music and music videos that should be shared. First up is the song “jeudi 17 mai” by Ariane Moffat, which we’ve featured before, and there is more after the jump. Be sure to play them all – and if you have more, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them.
jeudi 17 mai 2012
This song, by Ariane Moffat, is a piece that condemns the Loi Spéciale passed by the Quebec government.
Per Radio Canada reporter Julie Dufresne, the Minister of Justice of Quebec has decided that civil disobedience is merely a synonym for vandalism. His quote:
“Civil disobedience,” that’s a nice way to say “vandalism.”
Quebec singer Ariane Moffat has released a song, entitled “Jeudi 17 mai 2012”, which is targeted squarely at the Charest government’s emergency law Bill 78.
Chanteuse québécoise Ariane Moffat a lancé une chanson, “jeudi 17 mai 2012.” Cette chanson est contre la Loi 78, enactée en réponse des manifestations contre l’hausse de scolarité. C’est, d’accord, magnifique.
Listen – Écoutez:
Quebec’s anti-protest law Bill 78 passed into law yesterday, and I understand that it has received Royal Assent. Notably, the law did not stop protests last night.
The law was designed to put an end to the ongoing #manifencours protests in Montreal and environs, but it also goes considerably farther – it applies to any protest in the province from now until July 1, 2013. The breadth of some of the restrictions are astoundingly troubling.
Here is a link to the text of the projet de loi in French; there are versions in English floating about but I can’t immediately find one in time for this update. It’s important to note that this document is the draft version of Bill 78; there were a number of amendments that changed aspects of the law – notably, the threshold upon which a grouping of people in public needs notice and consent from the police is set at 50, instead of 10. Ce document est une version preliminaire; la version adoptée a des changes des provisisons; notablemment le montant des personnes où on doit notifier les polices est 50, pas 10.
Update / Mise à jour: The amendments to the Bill 78 have been made available; bizarrely, they are handwritten. Honest to goodness, I can’t believe they passed the law with amendments like this.
Les amendements à la loi 78 sont faites à la main. Incroyable.
The part of the law that requires huge restrictions on protest unless criteria of notification and consent from police is vastly troubling, but so too is Section 29, which says that anyone who encourages, counsels, gives consent, or through other act helps someone else engage in protest is themselves guilty. This is where Twitter comes in; the Quebec government has said that counselling via Twitter would be monitored through this law. When asked if wearing a red square would count as encouragement, the Minister of Education refused to answer, saying that she trusted police. That is not an encouraging response.
Hit ‘read more’ for more, including detailed analysis of various provisions. Suivez ‘read more’ pour plus.
Hot off the Twitter presses, courtesy of @NieDesrochers of Radio Canada, comes this letter from the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce:
NOTICE OF A GATHERING OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE
The letter is a notice to the Gatineau police force, pursuant to the Special Law that the Quebec Government has quickly passed to block student protests.
The law, in part, requires that all gatherings of ten or more people that will take place in a public venue must provide written notice at least eight hours in advance to the police of the location, route, date, time, number of attendees, and must comply with any changes ordered by the police. This law is likely unconstitutional in its broad application.
The letter from the chamber of commerce reads:
Please take note that, pursuant to section 16 of Bill 78, the Chamber of Commerce of Gatineau will have a group of “more than 10 persons” on the 29th of May 2012 between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.
The participants will leave from the parking lot of the Gatineau airport a bit before 5:00 and will go about 300 metres west along Rue Arthur-Fecteau to arrive at the Wings of History Hanger which is at 1669 Rue Arthur-Fecteau.
Here, the participants will engage in discussion and will listen to brief speeches. This is to highlight the ‘team of the month’: the Laiterie de l’Outaouais.
Between 6:30pm and 7:15pm, the participants will go back along Rue Arthur-Fecteau to the parking lot where they will leave.
We anticipate that there will be about 200 people attending. Please be kind enough to let us know the number of plainclothes officers who will infiltrate our event so that we may be able to order the appropriate catering and other orders.
Antoine Normand, President
This is pretty awesome, and shows the flaws in the Special Law that aims to stop student protest. There’s now a rumour that the government will consider an amendment to change the number of people at a gathering that would require notice from 10 to 25, which does nothing to fix the flaws in the law.
Tonight in the Assemblée Nationale, Quebec Premier Jean Charest is pushing through a law that would seek to end the Quebec student protests (the #GGI, or the #manifencours).
The law would prohibit “demonstrations” in a “venue accessible by the public” unless the organizers of the demonstration had provided at least eight hours written notice to the police of the venue, the route, the time, date, duration, means of transport. Additionally, the police would have the ability to force a change to any of the details.
Massive fines are provided for organizers who disobey, but also for participants who take part and do not “ensure” that the law’s requirements are upheld.
These are only two of the clauses in the controversial bill, and two that would not likely withstand constitutional challenge. When and if such a challenge would be undertaken remains to be seen.
Twitter users can follow #manifencours, #ggi, #loispeciale for constant commentary en francais.
And, to the police: “On va manifester partout, tout les temps. A la prochaine.”
More to come.