23 May 2012

Hundred days of student rage

There were 20,000 clogging downtown Montreal, and lesser numbers in other centres. Yes, most were students upset about an annual increase in tuition of about $250, the admission to a typical rock concert or good seat at a football game. But that was almost secondary now. Some angry mothers were seen carrying signs. Their babies were wearing red shirts, some carrying fleur-de-lisé flags — no Canadian in sight. It was almost like another St-Jean Baptiste on the streets, a beautiful day of the printemps érable that began 100 days ago.

There were so many cell phones in one area that circuits got badly congested and tweets were delayed or impossible. But quite a few still got through to Montreal Gazette, with minute by minute info and pics.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, history student at UQAM and spokesman for CLASSE *, yelled himself hoarse on the loudpeaker. The scene was pure mob. and lots more fun than classes, lectures, and labs. Mocking government, he openly defied the special law of 18 May 2012.** He has not been charged so far.

It was obvious to observers that the student movement was being hijacked by tons of others who disliked the current Liberal government of Quebec — unions, separatists of all kinds, radical socialists, and Black Bloc anarchists who could hardly resist smashing bank windows along the way, or throwing a variety of projectiles at police. There were numerous injuries and more than 100 arrests during the night.

* Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante

Dans ce conflit, les étudiants québécois sont représentés par quatre grandes fédérations étudiantes : la Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), la Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), la Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) et la Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TACEQ), qui participe aux négociations depuis le 23 avril.

** L.Q. 2012, c. 12:
An act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend
Loi permettant aux étudiants de recevoir l’enseignement dispensé par les établissements de niveau postsecondaire qu'ils fréquentent
It expires 1 July 2013.

This happened on 22 May 2012.

See also: Montreal municipal by-law P-6 of 18 May 2012 (re wearing of masks and notice of march route, effective 19 May 2012) — Le conseil municipal adopte un règlement sur la prévention des troubles de la paix, de la sécurité et de l'ordre public et sur l'utilisation du domaine public

Newly elected spokeswoman for CLASSE (along with Gilbert Nadeau-Dubois and Jeanne Reynolds) ia Camille Robert, a history student at UQAM, and member of CLAC (Convergence des luttes anti-capitalistes).
[La Presse, 3 June 2012]