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Lisa-Marie Gervais May 2, 2013
Photo : Annik MH De Carufel Le Devoir
The Saint-Pierre-Claver school is located in the Plateau-Mont-Royal at the intersection of two major streets.
A citizen assembly aiming to sensitize drivers to the security of the children attending the Saint-Pierre-Claver school, located at the intersection of two major arteries in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, ended unexpectedly Thursday morning when the police intervened by virtue of municipal bylaw P-6. The assembly, that was attended by several elected officials, ended abruptly at around 8am, coinciding with the beginning of classes.
According to Marianne Giguère, a mother who is very involved in matters of security in the vicinity of the school, around six police officers in cars and on bicycles announced to the 80-odd parents and children who were crossing from one corner of the street to the other, all while respecting the street lights, that the demonstration was illegal by virtue of P-6. The intervention was even more surprising to the parents because the community agent assigned to the school had been advised about the awareness action and had already been onsite since 7:30am.
“People had begun to cross without impeding traffic, because we wanted it to be a positive and safe demonstration, and the police arrived in their cars, then another two by bicycle. We were told that our demonstration was illegal because we hadn’t provided an itinerary”, says Mrs. Giguère. “We dispersed and it turned out all right in one way, because school was starting and there was already a movement of children who were going inside”.
Mrs. Giguère underlines ironically the “discernment” the police officers promised to demonstrate, especially by stating that they would not intervene nor demand an itinerary in cases of celebratory demonstrations following hockey games, for example. “That discernment wasn’t present this morning”, she remarked.
Photo from Nous Sommes Tous Art
Don’t take it personally. We all were swept away by a great, intoxicating wave of novel (for many) awareness of the devalorizing and repressive potential of our government’s actions a year ago. We paid reverent attention to political notions, the words of which were exchanged between neighbors, colleagues, friends, family and strangers, all while a great number of us likely thought to ourselves “hey, how did we ever not take the time to examine, dissect, learn, live like this?” With every systematic abuse of power comes the opportunity to join the side engaging against the abuse, to lend support. But momentum changes, our energy disperses, time goes by, and the urgency viscerally felt after holding this object together, this shared value that requires the hands and intentions of many to keep lifted dissipates.
Don’t take it personally. Yes, others were there doing the lifting too, and there they have remained since. It’s just how it goes. We can count on there always being those in whom the mobilizing conviction of engagement remains steadfast. We trade responsibilities. You let your flame of social justice burn for education, and maybe I, for the environment. We might also think that some have more at stake than others because they are more at ease in public forums – the street being one of the most public – and because it’s their cause that they are demonstrating for, perhaps not yours. But this is where it gets taken personally.
We take it personally when we draw lines between the cause of a so-called minority of students, revelers celebrating a Stanley Cup, an abidingly reasonable teacher in a panda suit, the First Nations, the police, the government, minority interest groups (the list goes on) and ourselves. We react against being asked to participate in what has indeed proven to be a dangerous alternative to the status quo. We hesitate, hold back, resist the responsibility we could be embracing that would implicate us in the cultivation of alternatives to the current abuses of rule: ones that remove more and more discretionary powers from citizens and allocate them to law enforcement. What we should be taking personally is this shift on the lever of power that renders everyone less visible and audible due to the discretionary (ie unpredictable, erratic) application of provenly biased power.
Don’t take it personally. We owe it to all struggles past and future to not have silence trump the efforts of all the good people who have been carrying the cause of freedom of assembly and of association. Take it outside of yourself, beyond the personal, and now, because the momentum is there. Here’s how:
Write a letter in support of collective responsibility and against discretionary and repressive law enforcement. Please refer to earlier instructions by the Association des Juristes Progressistes on which city councillors to contact and do so before Monday, when the vote at city council takes place. http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/47550577535/request-of-public-support-of-municipal-officials-to
Please join us on Monday at Montreal’s City Hall in support of the motion to repeal bylaw P-6: https://www.facebook.com/events/465596273510943/
And also, do consider helping those who have been penalized over the course of this bylaw’s enforcement by contributing to Pandaction Against P-6: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pandacti0n-contre-p-6
Please continue to share these links widely.
And we send our gratitude to those who have been devoting their precious time to this fundamental cause.
Translating the printemps érable
& several students from l’École de français pour artistes et révolutionnaires ;)
Josée Legault March 27, 2013
Something is rotten in the realm of fundamental freedoms in Quebec.
Even abroad, many weeks were spent quibbling over a restaurant owner’s “freedom of expression” because the Office québécoise de la langue française (OQLF) would have reproached him his use of Italian words such as “pasta” in his menu, whereas the original complaint had been made about the English in his “English-Italian” menu that didn’t have one word of French.
However, when the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) decides to nip protests in the bud and, in so doing, to deliberately prevent citizens from exercising their fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, the government assents.
We can’t make head or tail of it.
One can’t help but notice that since the tabling of the Marceau budget – with few exceptions -, the government’s only “left” is its own gauche yoke of ill-advised political decisions.
It remains to be seen how far it will go to keep on alienating itself from the support it needs nonetheless from its allies and traditional constituents. Que sera, sera, as the song goes.
That it stands firmly behind an abuse of power that consists of aborting protests under the pretext that these do not respect a municipal bylaw otherwise contested in court and highly criticized, namely by the Barreau du Québec [the Quebec Bar Association], crowns this whole situation in a quite spectacular manner.
René Forget August 23, 2012
Original French text: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/rene-forget/police-montreal-_b_1824609.html
I have become aware of an article written by Karim Benessaieh on the web site lapresse.ca. In this article, the author reports that the city of Montreal and its police officers are at an impasse, that the city claims to no longer be able to give its contributions to your pension plan and that it is thinking of calling on an arbitrator to impose a settlement.
Apparently, the situation has sickened you but, pardon my frankness, I am incapable of being sympathetic to your cause.
Make no mistake, I know that your pension fund is one of the best managed in Canada and that its success is that of its administrators, I know that the city of Montreal hasn’t contributed to it for what? 10 years? And I also think that the city of Montreal seems to be run by a 4 year-old child that likes to push crayons far too far up its nose… but… I am not sympathetic to you.
Gabrielle Duchaine August 8, 2012
Photo caption: Garda security agents in front of UQAM Tuesday night. Photo credit: Robert Skinner, La Presse.
With less than one week before what students are calling the “rentrée forcée” (forced return to classes), CEGEPs are doing everything they can to keep things from getting out of hand. Many have hired security guards, and a meeting is even scheduled for this morning with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to discuss operations having to do with the return to classes, La Presse has learned.
On Wednesday afternon, after a wild ride through the entertainment district, hundreds of demonstrators blocked the main entrance of Hydro-Québec’s headquarters in Montreal.
“This first demonstration announces the return to the strike!” chanted through a megaphone one of the protesters, perched at the foot of the statue of Edward VII on Phillips Square, where several hundred demonstrators had responded to the call for “national action disturbance”, launched by CLASSE.
Tommy Chouinard August 8, 2012
Incumbent Premier Jean Charest will defer to the judgement of police to determine if Law 78 has to be forcibly applied.
Jean Charest, unlike this CAQ adversary François Legault, does not envision sanctions against professors who refuse to cross picket lines to give classes.
The Liberal party leader was walking on eggshells on Wednesday as journalists asked him what he would do if the return to classes did not go smoothly in any of the 14 universities and colleges affected by the student strike.
Valérian Mazataud August 2, 2012
For the first time in five weeks, the streets of Montréal were filled with the sounds of casseroles and slogans, as the start of the election campaign coincided with the hundredth night-time march.
Marching orders were given many hours earlier on social networks. Keywords like #manifencours and #casserolesencours began trending on Twitter. For this hundredth march, and for the first day of the election campaign, people would be armed… with their trusty casseroles, ready to restart the high times of last spring’s protests.
From 7:00 PM on, the most die-hard of casserolers, accompanied by protesters, hit the pavement at the corner of St-Denis and Jarry. At 7:15, the group of a few dozen started to move, quickly joined by students pushing a huge red cube. A few minutes later, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a similar group started down Ontario street towards Place Emilie-Gamelin.
Gabrielle Duchaine August 1, 2012
PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE
(Montreal) Summer vacation hasn’t taken the drive out of the student movement. One hundred days after the first night demonstration against tuition hikes, and 12 hours after the official launch of an electoral campaign, thousands of casseroles and demonstrators took to the streets of Montreal Wednesday night. A warning to disperse was given by the SPVM at 10:30pm.
Even the famous Anarchopanda came to the head of the demonstration. He received a veritable ovation on his arrival, which galvanized the crowd, already feverish under a stormy sky.
Masks, a giant red square, mascots, flags, fireworks, whistles, scarves…there was everything, and there was a lot of it.
Daniel Renaud July 18, 2012 (updated July 19, 2012)
Original French Text: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/07/18/une-escouade-plus-mordante
Photo caption: The 2012 version of the Urban Brigade has more teeth and is mobilized to assist other services charged with controlling the student demonstrations. (Archive photo.)
Compelled by student demonstrations and social context, the traditional Urban Brigade of the Montréal Police is presenting a somewhat more repressive face this summer, the Journal has noticed.
And by reason of the more movement-oriented social context, the mandate of the brigade, which normally terminates at the end of summer, could be extended into the fall if the situation warrants it; that is to say, if the protests resume in earnest.
Created in 2009, at its origin to ensure the smooth running of the many summer festivals in Montréal, the Urban Brigade of 2012 has more teeth than the three previous incarnations.