If you would like to volunteer and join the effort, please contact us at the above email before embarking on any translation work, in order to avoid any redundancies. We cannot accept translations that have not been cleared with us first.
For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Véronique Robert June 28, 2012
It should come as a surprise to no one that police officers are accorded the power to detain and arrest people . These powers, however, are bounded by the criminal code and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
These days, in the tumultuous times we are living in, anyone who complains of an arbitrary detention or arrest is confronted with article 31 of the Canadian criminal code.
Like magicians pulling a rabbit out of a hat, supporters of the forces of law and order believe that they have found irrefutable support for the behavior of police officers that seems at face value to be unjustified. (Unjustified, not unjustifiable – every case must be considered on its own.) I am referring in particular of the arrests made at Ile Ste-Helene during the weekend of the Grand Prix F1 and of the mass arrests made on the bus coming back from Victoriaville.
Virginie Larivière - Doctoral student in Environmental Sciences at UQAM and author and spokesperson for a petition of 1.5 million signatures against television violence in 1992.
June 19, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/actualites-en-societe/352769/malhonnetete-ehontee
Dear Premier Jean Charest,
I hope, in this space, to express my trouble with your repeated appeals condemning the banalization of violence and intimidation. Not because I do not condemn these myself; I was even inclined to denounce the banalization of televized violence at the beginning of the 1990s, after the murder of my young sister Marie-Ève.
If my activism is nowadays less public, know that I always denounce and condemn the recourse of violence and intimidation in all situations. In one breath, and like you, I condemn the smoke bombs in the metro, the riots of April 20 around your salon du Plan Nord[event announcing the government’s plans for exploiting natural resources in the north], the Victoriaville riots, the breakers of the windows, the “sung” violence of the music group Mise en demeure.
That said, since the beginning of the student conflict and the social crisis that are shaking Québec, your government has demonstrated a shameful dishonesty by appropriating the themes of violence and intimidation, posing at the same time as victims of this and as ardent defendants of law and order.
Francine Lamarche June 12, 2012
The author is the mother of a young 25-year old man who was subject to a search related to a break-in at the University of Montréal.
Thursday, June 7, 6:01am…
There is ringing at the door. That’s rare at this hour… But me, I end up hearing the knocking, and loudly, because I am already in front of the building’s main door, downstairs, with my coffee and my dog, ready for my morning walk. I see through the glass the shadow of several people and they are wearing the insignia of police officers… I am perplexed! Finally, I open the door.
We are at 3471?
Paul Red-Square, that’s here?
Yes. That’s my son.
Come in, ma’am, we have some questions to ask you.
I enter with my dog and my coffee. Shit, this messes up my routine. But I was scared that they would tell me that something had happened to Paul in China, and that he’d had an accident. Thankfully, it wasn’t that…
June 11, 2012 Original French Text: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/hpnscq
I experienced my first political profiling today.
I had to go out to the Grand Prix as a volunteer to pick up garbage from Scouts who were running an ecological consortium at the request of the Grand Prix. I went by bike. A police officer approaches me, and tells me up front I have no business here.
I explain to him why I was there and he retorts that that was the most original excuse he’d hear all day for needing to enter the site and stir up shit. At this moment I was not trying to access the site: rather, I was waiting for others at our meeting point next to metro Jean-Drapeau. They search my bag, take my ID and call their superior to see if I am on any lists, and they read all my personal papers. They find only a lunch and sunscreen.
Julie Théorêt June 12, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/justice/352188/pourquoi-m-a-t-on-arretee
Sunday, I took the subway with a friend to Île Sainte-Hélène. We arrived around 10:40AM. There were a lot of police at the Berri-UQAM station, but we told ourselves that because of the F1, that was normal.
We wanted to picnic near Place de la Fontaine or go to La Ronde, we weren’t yet decided. We were thinking about what we were going to do when I saw a group of red square wearing young people sitting on the steps near the fountain, facing the subway exit. I leaned in to ask if there was a protest planned. A policeman on a bicycle stopped behind me, almost causing me to fall face-first down the steps. He told the group that they were suspected of wanting to vandalize or cause trouble.
I tried to explain to the policeman that I was asking the young girl a question and that I did not know them, but he didn’t want to listen. Another policeman asked us for our ID and to search our bags. I gave my driver’s license and opened my purse and picnic basket. There was obviously nothing signalling that I was there to cause trouble, but since I was close to the group and was talking to them, I was supposedly with them.
Vincent Marissal 14 June 2012
I was talking to Carl Vallée, press attaché for Stephen Harper, in the hall of the Hilton Bonaventure, where Harper had just given a speech, when an officer of the Montreal City Police (Service de police de la ville de Montréal, SPVM) swept in, huge sunglasses covering half his face, chewing gum in his mouth, a day-glo green bib over his back and his baton almost dragging on the floor because of his diminutive stature.
We’ve almost become accustomed, in Montreal, to seeing cops everywhere, but the scene, with business folk in suits in the hall and hotel guests in swimsuits lounging beside the pool seemed, nonetheless, a bit surreal.
A few minutes later, I heard the same officer say to a hotel guest, in front of the elevator: “There aren’t many of them [the protestors in front of the hotel] but they are there, stuck to the asphalt, and there is no way of getting them off.”
Me Claude Laferrière, Lawyer June 11, 2012
Original French Text: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/me-claude-laferri%C3%A8re/arnaque-temps-supplementaire-police_b_1585323.html
Québec taxpayers are being treated like cash cows or, at best, taken for patsies. Now you have retired cops and criminal experts providing colour commentary on police actions during student demonstrations, as if they were hockey games.
We have gone beyond all predictions for the number of demonstrations and of arrests.
On the ground, police officers hurry to their assignments which they seem to enjoy — at double overtime, of course — while small businesses are going broke — with the exceptions of café patios now serving a new clientele — and Montreal’s mayor is freaking out.
By Charles Faribault | TVA News 12 June 2012
Original French Text: http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/infos/national/archives/2012/06/20120612-175641.html
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (ACLCL) is preparing a damning report on the use of excessive police forcethat has occurredsince the beginning of the student strike in Quebec. The organization, which had severely criticized the conduct of Toronto police during the G20 summit, recognizes similar abuses in the current conflict.
Student Demonstration against tuition hikes in front of the National Assembly of Quebec, Thursday, March 1st, 2012. (Archives, Journal de Québec)
Mass arrests, violations of fundamental rights, police misconduct, excessive force, preventive questioning, restriction of civil liberties, no, this isn’t Montréal 2012, but Toronto 2010. After Toronto, the ACLCL had produced a devastating report on the conduct of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the RCMP. The organization is now concerned by what it sees as a repetition of the same excesses on the part of the Montreal police (SPVM) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
“What we are witnessing is the replay of the same police techniques. We’re talking about so-called preventative arrests, where people who haven’t done anything are being arrested just because police think they could be dangerous. It’s very troubling. This conduct is excessive and illegal,” explains Nathalie Desrosiers of the ACLCL.
According to the association, what’s happening in Quebec is dangerous for democracy and risks undermining police authority in the long term. The consequences could have a domino effect and important social ramifications. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has even taken up the case.
“An increasing number of surveys reveal that Toronto’s citizens have less and less confidence in the police. There are legal and financial consequences,” added the association’s representative.
The organization is compiling a series of witness reports and facts about police conduct that is expected to be published in a scathing report and once again tarnish Canadian police forces’ international image.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.
June 11, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/hpq5u1
This Sunday, June 10, 2012, I attempted to take part in a protest-action: over the course of a few hours, I would take the metro back and forth from Berri to Jean-Drapeau station to peacefully protest my disagreement with the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which in my opinion promotes sexism.
Dressed in a flowered dress and with a bag full of dangerous objects such as an apple, a bottle of water and three books, I wanted to draw attention to the heightened police presence and the actions of the SPVM [Montreal police] who have themselves been like terrorists from the start of this conflict. I would read George Orwell’s 1984, a novel describing a society overtaken by a police state.
Catherine Lalonde & Raphaël Dallaire-Ferland
Are the identity checks in the metro for wearers of red squares we’ve been hearing about since the beginning of Montreal’s Grand Prix real? Are those who show their opposition to the tuition hike now getting searched, taken to the nearest police station, as people have been saying on social networks for the last few hours? Saturday, two journalist from the Devoir tried to bring the situation to light by putting red squares on their chests before going into the metro station. The result? They were soon questioned and held for investigation. “We do just that, criminal profiling,” a Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM) agent then said while searching our journalists.
Saturday, 1:50 PM: under the bright sun, the journalists Raphaël Dallaire Ferland and Catherine Lalonde meet up at Place Émilie-Gamelin. Carrying backpacks, they each put on a red square, she adds a black one. He wears a red scarf around his neck, loosely, that leaves his face bare. She carries two big white pieces of cardboard. Signs? Not even, not posters either. Just two big blank pieces of cardboard. Off to Berri-UQAM station.
In the metro, before getting to the platform, Raphaël gets stopped. Four police officers ask to search his pack “for security reasons.” The SPVM officers are polite. “We’re searching everyone,” says Agent Norbert, “because yesterday people threw flaming beer bottles at us. We even searched a guy with a hockey bag.” Yet Catherine passed without a problem.
On the platform, a few minutes later, our journalists, still unidentified, ask a half-dozen people, of all ages, carrying bigger bags than theirs, if they got searched. Five say no. The only one who had the same experience is a young man, twenty-something, who was wearing a red square when he was intercepted.