May 26, 2012 - No. 77
Support for the Just Struggle of
Quebec Students Continues to Grow
Courage and Determination of Students
Brings Out the Best in Society
One of the Montreal
neighbourhoods that every night hold the manifs de casseroles to
support the students and
show rejection of the attacks on civil liberties through the Special
Law. (Marie-Michelle B.)
• Courage and Determination of Students Brings
Out the Best in Society - Serge
• Court Action Filed to Annul Special Law
• Montreal's Anti-Mask Law Denounced at
Ceremony for Mayor's "Award for Democracy"
Actions in Support of
• March to Gatineau from Ottawa -
Canadian Union of Public Employees
• Ontario Students Announce Support Actions
• International Support
Support for the Just Struggle of Quebec
Students Continues to Grow
Courage and Determination of Students
Brings Out the Best in Society
Montreal, May 24, 2012
What comes to the fore in recent events is the people's
fully participate alongside the students in the struggle for the right
to education, which has become the struggle for a modern Quebec that
recognizes the rights of all. That participation is growing daily and
highlights the people's rejection of the
Special Law that criminalizes political life in Quebec. Despite the
fact this law imposes onerous penalties and the danger of being
assaulted by the police, the law is being defied.
Despite the unprecedented mass arrests the night before,
the manifs des casseroles
continued across Montreal on Thursday night, as did the nightly
demonstration that begins at 8:30 at Émilie-Gamelin Park.
there was a large police presence, they did not attack the
demonstrators so there were
no incidents of violence, proving once again that it is the police who
incite violence, not those who are expressing their opinions.
There is something deeply moving in seeing thousands of
young families with children to elderly people, take over streets
across Quebec with their pots and pans to show their support for the
"Yes we are afraid of being arrested, but increasingly,
it has become our duty to get out and demonstrate," one protestor said.
This opinion is reflected amongst the thousands
Montreal neighbourhoods, including Villeray, Verdun, St. Henri,
Rosemont, Notre Dame de Grace and Outremont. In defiance of the Special
Law they chanted, "We are more than 50!" "People are angry! Hurrah!
Hurrah!" Around 9:00 pm two
groups of thousands of people merged at the corner of St. Denis and St.
Zotique Streets. There was only one police car in sight. One young
protestor said, "It feels good to stand up and oppose the Special Law
without being beaten."
It appears that no one listened to Montreal Mayor
who asked demonstrators to protest on their balconies in order not to
paralyze Montreal's streets. A few thousand protestors demonstrated
outside the Mayor's residence to be sure he heard the sounds of the
By 9:00 pm nearly 10,000 people gathered at
Émilie-Gamelin Park for
the 32nd consecutive night protest. From the start the event was
declared illegal by Montreal Police (SPVM). Many protestors didn't hear
the announcement, including a journalist from Le Devoir.
Simon Lévesque, a doctoral student in semiotics
at the Université du
Québec à Montréal (UQAM), expressed his concern
about the police
brutality. "[The police] forget their role as citizens. Is there no
ethics course at Nicolet Police Academy? If there is, they must have
forgotten it," he said. "We are all on tenterhooks,
this entire generation is on edge," he added.
Karine, from Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, said that she
participates in at
least three events a week. "The Special Law is a major injury to our
fundamental rights," she said.
In Quebec City more than 500 people demonstrated in Old
the Old Port. Once again they received the population's support,
including that of the Anglican Bishop of Holy Trinity Cathedral who
gave a speech supporting the students.
In Granby there were 500 protestors.
"I'm really happy to see that more people have mobilized
time," said organizer Tristan Rivard, a student at the Granby
Haute-Yamaska CEGEP. "Not only were there more people, but the assembly
consisted of people of all ages," he added.
"Your mission is to demonstrate every week here in
Granby. See you next week!" said Rivard just before the start of the
Placards read: "Wake up! Liberals Out!" "What are you
doing with our
taxes Charest?" "Bad Law, Bad Faith!" Demonstrators shouted "Charest
Out! We'll Find YOU a Job in the North!"
"I'm here because I want to leave something positive for
generation," said a protestor in his sixties. "It's time for a real
At a time when everyone is condemning the mass arrests,
of Public Security Robert Dutil said was, "In our political system, it
is the law that decides what should happen. Otherwise there would be
chaos. Is that what the Parti Québécois wants? Should it
be the laws of
the street that dominate or Parliament?"
He could not understand the manifs de casseroles. There are
no political police in Quebec, he said.
The students have also come to learn that in this
the electoral law does not facilitate their participation in political
life. Many students have been going door to door on a campaign to get
the Liberals defeated in the next elections. Here is the rebuff these
students received from the Chief Electoral
Officer Denis Dion:
"If the student associations currently on strike want to
the Jean Charest Liberal government, they must do so in accordance with
the laws of Quebec regarding election financing." Students associations
have received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Quebec
unions and from outside the
province, he said. If they want to campaign against the Liberals they
fall under the electoral law. "Donations leave open the possibility
that funds coming from other provinces could indirectly pay for
political activities in Quebec, where the law has very strict rules:
individual donations cannot exceed $1,000. There
are limits regarding how much candidates can spend," Dion said.
It is unlikely that this electoral law will prevent
their allies from continuing their preparations to put forward the
call: Defeat the Liberals!
Education Is a Right!
Support the Just Struggle of the Students!
31st Nocturnal Demonstration Across Montreal
Hundreds of youth, students and their supporters took to
the streets again, despite the mass arrests the night before. Despite
the calm atmosphere, police made an arrest around 11 pm, at
which point a sit-in and discussion as to how to proceed was held. This
was another in the series of nightly protests
that begin at 8 pm outside the National Assembly.
The demonstration continued with broad support from the
local population encouraging the protestors from their balconies as
the demonstration passed.
The riot squad made an appearance around midnight,
arriving on public transit buses.
May 24 saw a lively protest of students, youth,
families, seniors and others in Trois-Rivières. Everyone was
equipped with their casseroles
which they banged enthusiastically from the start of the action on the
steps of the Cathedral of the Assumption at Bonaventure and Royale
before heading through the downtown. The protestors received a warm
welcome from all those they met. Recents days have seen some 50 to 200
people coming out to express their support for the students and anger
at the Charest government's Special Law.
A heavy thunderstorm could not
desire to take collective action to oppose the Charest government's
Special Law and express their support for the students. Hundreds of
people marched through the downtown banging on their casseroles,
including students and professors from the Cégep de
along with parents, children and friends. They were warmly received by
local shopkeepers and passers-by.
Around 8 pm, about 150 people of all ages marched
the streets of Chambly in full view of the police. A similar
march took place in Vieux Beloeil that went to the Jordi Bonnet Bridge
spans the Richelieu River on Route 116.
Around 8 pm,
residents of Alma, including several of the locked-out workers from Rio
Tinto Alcan took part in a manif de
Lafrance, a student who took part, said, "With
all the information that circulates on social networks and on the news
media, people are realizing the importance of this conflict. They want
to change things and change the government."
to the Quebec Police, the demonstration took place peacefully and was
legal, even though organizers did not provide police with any route for
The demonstrations across Quebec continued on Friday
night and despite a huge deluge
that struck various cities in the early evening the numbers continued
swell. A Radio Canada TV reporter pointed out that it would be
easier to name the cities and towns which had no demonstrations than to
list all the ones that did.
Court Action Filed to Annul Special Law
On May 25, student associations, union centrals and
community groups filed two actions with the Quebec Superior Court to
annul the Special Law. Those involved in the action include the Quebec
Federation of College Students (FECQ), the Quebec Federation of
University Students (FEUQ), the Broad
Coalition of Student Union Solidarity (CLASSE) and the Quebec Student
Roundtable (TaCEQ), as well as the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ),
the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), Quebec House of
Labour (CSQ) and the Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (CSD). In
total, there are some 140
claimants from 70 organizations who are part of the two legal actions.
From left, Leo
Bureau-Blouin, president of FECQ, Martine Desjardins, president of
FEUQ, and CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois walk into the
Montreal courthouse on Friday, May 25, 2012. (CSN)
The two actions are aimed at the suspension of the
application of certain provisions of the Special Law. The hearing to
consider the actions is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30. One of the
actions specifically seeks a judgement to have the entire Special Law
annulled on the basis that it is unconstitutional.
In their press release, the spokespersons for the
student associations and the unions affirmed, "This law infringes
on fundamental freedoms and rights, such as the freedom of expression,
freedom of opinion and freedom of association. It does not respect
judicial guarantees -- its penal provisions are vague
and imprecise so as to impose excessively severe punishments. This
contemptible law is for purposes of muzzling, crushing and dominating
the student and other groups which wish to express themselves publicly."
Montreal's Anti-Mask Law Denounced at Ceremony for
Mayor's "Award for Democracy"
The city's new anti-mask law was denounced along with
government's Special Law and the mass police repression at the first
for Democracy ceremony, presided over by Montreal Mayor Gérald
The two groups awarded the
prize -- the Montreal Women's
Centre for Education and Action and the Working Group on Urban
Agriculture -- both denounced the "draconian measures" imposed on
to end the conflict and urged the city to better protect democracy.
Their remarks were met with vigorous applause
from the hundreds of people attending the event at City Hall.
A speaker at the event, the
Director of the city's Task Force on Democracy Dimitri Roussopoulos,
criticized the city, the Mayor and the Quebec government. He noted that
even with the mass anti-austerity protests in Greece, no such anti-mask
law has been implemented there, nor have Greek authorities passed
a law to restrict the right to protest. His remarks were also warmly
applauded by the audience, many of whom wore the red square.
One audience member was escorted out by security when he
donned a festive mask to protest the city's anti-mask law.
At the end of the ceremony, a protester climbed on stage
to deliver a "Special Prize for Democracy" to the Montreal Police for
the 2,000 arrests they have made in 102 days of the student strike.
Actions in Support of Quebec Students
March to Gatineau from Ottawa
Students, union members, and supporters will hold a
rally and a march to Gatineau on Tuesday, May 29 at 6 pm at
Confederation Park. Their call reads:
Post-secondary institutions across the country are
facing major funding shortages, and students -- already struggling with
major debt loads after graduation -- are being asked to pick up even
of the tab.
But students in Quebec are fighting back in impressive
Over the past three months, hundreds of thousands of
students and supporters have taken to the streets in Quebec, striking
in protest of growing debt loads, a proposed 75 per cent hike in
tuition fees, and the recently imposed Special Bill 78, which
represents a disturbing violation of basic rights to freedom of
assembly in Quebec.
Students in Ottawa recently took action as well,
blocking access to student administration offices at the University of
Ottawa campus in protest of a proposed 5 per cent tuition hike.
CUPE leaders have offered their full support
in Quebec. To read their statement click here.
Ontario Students Announce Support Actions
L-R: Benoit Dupuis,
Ontario Public Service Employees Union; Sandy Hudson, Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario chairperson; York University student
Xavier Lafrance, at Queen's Park press conference, May 25, 2012.
A group of students and staff confirmed today at a
Queen's Park press conference that Ontario students are planning to
take to the streets to support striking students in Quebec to oppose
the Charest government's draconian Special Law and in common struggle
against tuition fee increases. A rally is planned for
June 5. The action is the initiative of the newly formed Student
Solidarity Network, comprised of student, faculty and community
The network is calling on the Ontario government to
lower tuition costs, stating that since 2006 fees have been raised by
much as 71 per cent. In comparison, they pointed to the fact that
Quebec's students are opposing a 75 per cent tuition hike.
"We have to turn back what has happened here in
Ontario," said Sandy Hudson, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of
University of Ottawa, May
In related news, University of Ottawa students occupied
the university's administration offices on May 24.
Anne-Marie Roy, VP Communications of the University of
Ottawa's Student Federation in an interview with Media Coop stated, "We
are there in protest
of the recent tuition fee increase that was
adopted at the last board of governors meeting ... The University of
Ottawa has yet to approve the budget; it is scheduled to be approved on
Monday May 28 and this [protest] is in hopes they will reverse their
to increase tuition fees ..." She described the tuition increases as
follows: "Overall 5 per cent, for certain programs; if
they are first year students or returning students, it varies between 4
and 8 per cent, but overall average is 5 per cent." She expressed
the Quebec students and added "the success of Quebec students is very
important and crucial to students in Ontario
also but this is nothing new, it is not the first protest we've had
here in the University of Ottawa or in Ontario."
Despite the school year being over, expressions of
support for Quebec students continue across Ontario campuses.
University of Guelph
Quebec Exchange Students Express Their Support
A website called "J'etudie la" (I study there) has been
set up where Quebec students on study exchanges around the world can
express their support for their counterparts at home and participate in
the fight for the
right to education. Students are pictured holding up a red square on
which is written the country in which they study and how much tuition
they pay. There are students studying in Latin America, Africa and
Europe. The fact that so many of the students pay no tuition and that
some are even paid to go to school shows that the Quebec students'
opposition to the tuition hike to defend the right of all to education
is both just and reasonable.
The creators of the blog point out, "The idea for
this blog came in response to the fact that in Quebec, the tuition
increase is often justified by comparing the amount of our fees to
those of other Canadian provinces and the U.S., the discussion being
'Everywhere else in Canada and the U.S., they pay more than in Quebec.
Quebec must adjust.' As exchange students, we have the chance to meet
people from around the world and have a broader view on this issue. The
idea is to share this broader vision by creating this blog. This is
our way to get involved from a distance in a cause that is dear to our
The website is: jetudiela.wordpress.com
Chilean Students Declare "We Are All
On May 24, the Students' Federation at the University of
Chile issued a statement signed by academics and student leaders to add
to the growing worldwide denunciation of the persecution of Quebec's
student movement by Bill 78 of the Charest government.
They point out that this law is the most severe such attack since the War Measures Act of October 1970,
that it is an attack on fundamental rights and freedoms and as such has
been widely denounced by Quebec society.
Their statement outlines the
various ways in which the Special Law attacks students and their
defence organizations and also presents a threat to everyone's right to
express their views and freedom of association.
"The Quebec people, through their active solidarity, have stood by the
Chilean people for many years, which is why today we are called to
express our strong support for the student organizations and their
leaders, with the union centrals and with the people's movement.
"We do this not just out of solidarity but also because we understand
that such attacks on liberties in any part of the globalized world is
an attack against our own freedoms. The law known as the 'Hinzpeter
Act' put forward by the Chilean government has the same repressive and
"The struggle of students, academics and workers in Quebec is also
Students in Taiwan
fighting for the right to education express support for the Quebec
Students, April 2012.
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