Protesting every single day.
For those not in the know, a student strike started a 100 days ago over a 70% tuition hike decided by Quebec’s PM, Jean Charest. The students decided to wear red squares to show their disapproval, they picketed and fought against right-wing arguments and lousy rethoric.
Negociations with the Minister of Education, Line Beauchamp, were attempted but failed miserably.
As protests grew, young and old took to the streets, loudly expressing their discontent, asking the government to consider taking the money from those owning large bank accounts instead of trying to find it in the average indebted student’s pocket.
What followed was a harsh response from Jean Charest: deployments of thousands of police officers, riot police and helicopters. Peaceful protests turned into nightmares, students were beaten, arrested and held in custody, one lost and eye, another was trampled by a horse….
Then they decided on a new law. This was just 2 days after my recent arrival in my native town of Montreal. The law was a called a ‘special law’.
People are now prohibited from protesting without warning the police 8h beforehand.
People cannot wear masks or they will be arrested.
People cannot protest near a school or university.
If the protest has more than 50 people, it can be declared illegal and police can arrest anyone they choose.
… and they did.
So far about a 1000 have been arrested.
As you can imagine, the law was not greeted well. Teachers, lawyers, jurists, philosophers decried it and started flocking to the protests with their students, pinning red squares on their chest. More than 200,000 marched on May 22nd. People who had no opinion began taking the streets, grandmothers too and soon enough 1 out of 2 balcony in Montreal banged on pots and pans at 8PM everynight. Anonymous is also on our side, and is currently doing everything it can to annoy Charest’s government.
I still have 2 days left before going back to Saigon. I’ll try and tell more when I come back.
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