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Today in NYC: Solidarité avec les étudiants québécois!

Posted 2 years ago on May 22, 2012, 2:15 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Today, students and their allies in Quebec mark the 100th day of protest since the beginning of a student strike to defend accessible public education and oppose tuition increases. The strike has spread and become a general revolt against austerity and corrupt, illegitimate politicians. Throughout the massive demonstrations, which have reached sizes of around 300,000 people, riot police have brutally attacked marchers using clubs, grenades, rubber bullets, and chemical weapons. Two protesters have lost eyes and one has nearly died. Police have also illegally arrested entire busloads of protesters on their way to or from demos.

Last week, the government of Quebec passed an emergency law (Loi 78) criminalizing the massive demonstrations and assemblies in an effort to stamp out the strike. The new law restricts demonstrations and orders the closing of some universities. Among other things, organizers must inform police of the route of any demonstration that includes 50 or more people 8 hours before the demonstration. Unions and student federations are threatened with fines of up to $125,000 if someone is prevented from entering an educational institution.

Just after the law passed, thousands took to the streets in Montreal. Student and union leaders, activists, the Quebec Bar, and opposition politicians see the law as a direct attack on the right to demonstrate. Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay´s attempts to legislate the end of the student movement and attack on the democratic freedom to assemble must be resisted. The policies of austerity and repression are global; so is our indignation.

Today in New York City, we will demonstrate in solidarity with Quebec students and in defense of our right to protest. An increase in the powers of the police and the state anywhere is an attack on us everywhere.

TUESDAY, MAY 22 – SOLIDARITY WITH QUEBEC STUDENT STRIKE

Frankfurt, Chicago, Quebec. We are with you!

2pm to 4pm—Demonstrate, 1 Rockefeller Plaza
Demonstration in solidarity with the Quebec Student Strike
Outside the Quebec Government Offices at 1 Rockefeller Plaza

5pm—Gather, Check-in, Washington Square Park, North Side of Fountain
Gather to paint banners, make ‘book bloc’ shields, and cut red squares for the evening march.
Check-in for those who want to facilitate lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions. Please bring all the materials you may need to make banners and host classes.

6pm—Free University, Washington Square Park, various locations-- check board on North Side of Fountain
Teach in/Speak out assembly about the Quebec student strike, the emergency laws, and the criminalization of dissent; followed by self-organized lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions of the Free University.

8pm—Assembly and March, Washington Square Park
General Assembly and March against Repressive anti-protest laws worldwide

WEAR RED!

Organized by folks from Strike Everywhere and Occupy Wall Street.

Follow the Quebec strike on Twitter: #manifencours #ggi #loi78 #mai22
RSVP to NYC event on Facebook

Request for solidarity and support for the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

We write you during a dark time for democratic, human and associative rights in Quebec with the following appeal for your help and solidarity. As you have no doubt heard, the government recently enacted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970. Arguably, this recent law will unduly criminalize more law-abiding citizens than even McCarthy's hearings and the War Measures Act ever could.

Among other draconian elements brought forward by this law, any gathering of 50 or more people must submit their plans to the police eight hours ahead of time and must agree to any changes to the gathering's trajectory, starttime, etc. Any failure to comply with this stifling of freedom of assembly and association will be met with a fine of up to $5,000 for every participant, $35,000 for someone representing a 'leadership' position, or $125,000 if a union - labour or student - is deemed to be in charge. The participation of any university staff (either support staff or professors) in any student demonstration (even one that follows the police's trajectory and instructions) is equally punishable by these fines. Promoting the violation of any of these prohibitions is considered, legally, equivalent to having violated them and is equally punishable by these crippling fines.

One cannot view this law in isolation. In the past few months, the Québec student movement - inspired by Occupy, the Indignados of Spain, the students of Chile, and over 50 years of student struggle in Québec; and presently at North America's forefront of fighting the government's austerity agenda - has been confronted by precedent-shattering judicial and police repression in an attempt to force the end of the strike and our right to organize collectively. Our strike was voted and is re-voted every week in local general assemblies across Québec. As of May 18th, 2012 our committee has documented and is supporting 472 criminal accusations as well as 1047 ticket and penal offenses. One week in April saw over 600 arrests in three days. And those numbers only reflect those charged with an offense, without mentioning the thousands pepper sprayed and tear gassed, clubbed and beaten, detained and released. It does not mention Francis Grenier, who lost use of most of an eye when a sound grenade was illegally thrown by a police officer into his face in downtown Montreal. It does not mention Maxence Valade who lost a full eye and Alexandre Allard who clung to life in a coma on a hospital bed for days, both having received a police rubber bullet to the head in Victoriaville. And the thousands of others brutalized, terrorized, harassed and assaulted on our streets. Four students are currently being charged under provisions of the anti-terrorist laws enacted following September 11th.

In addition to these criminal and penal cases, of particular concern for those of us involved in the labour movement is that anti-strike forces have filed injunctions systematically from campus to campus to prevent the enactment of strike mandates, duly and democratically voted in general assemblies. Those who have defended their strike mandates and enforced the strike are now facing Contempt of Court charges and their accompanying potential $50,000 fines and potential prison time. One of our spokespeople, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, will appear in Superior Court under such a charge for having dared say, on May 13th of this year, that "I find it legitimate" that students form picket lines to defend their strike.

While we fight, on principle, against this judicialization of a political conflict, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the struggle on the streets has been, for many, transferred to the courtroom and we must act to defend our classmates, our friends and our family. This defense needs your help. Many students have been denied access to Legal Aid to help them to defend themselves. This, while students filing injunctions to end strikes have been systematically granted Legal Aid. While sympathetic lawyers in all fields of law have agreed to reduced rates and a lot of free support, the inherent nature of the legal system means we are spending large sums of money on this defense by the day.

It is in this context that we appeal to you to help us cover the costs of this, our defense. Not only must we help those being unduly criminalized and facing injunctions undermining their right to associate, but we must act now and make sure that the criminalization and judicialization of a political struggle does not work and set a precedent that endangers the right to free speech and free assembly.

If you, your union, or your organization is able to give any amount of financial help, it would make an undeniable difference in our struggle. In addition to the outpouring of support from labour across Quebec, we have already begun to receive trans-Canadian and international solidarity donations. We thank you for adding your organization's support to the list.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email legal AT asse-solidarité.qc.ca http://xn--asse-solidarit-okb.qc.ca. Telephone numbers can be given to you in a private message. You can also send you donation directly to the order of "Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante" (2065 rue Parthenais, Bureau 383, Montréal, QC, H2K 3T1) noting "CLASSE Legal Committee" in the memo line.

In solidarity,

Max Silverman
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Andrée Bourbeau
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Charette
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Breton-Côté
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

23 Comments

23 Comments


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[-] 3 points by jeffbe80 (2) 2 years ago

The young people of Quebec are leading the debat for what kind of society we want to live in for the next generation. Of course there are many who defend a more capitaliste "everyone for himself" vision. The students, via the debat on tuition fees, are proning a more cooperatif society. It is not surprising that the goverment is throwing everything they can at the demonstrators. The demonstrators are saying "throw away - we will resist" Very refreshing ! They dare to question the established order, despite knowing the consequences. My bed is made on the side of the students. I will be with them in the streets everytime I can. Their debate is an essential debate in any democratic society ! Quebec should be proud of having the lowest tuition fees in Canada and the United States.

[-] -1 points by stjohn2010 (-1) from Saint-Leonard, QC 2 years ago

You and your type have no respect for the people of Quebec who are not interested in having to pay more for your tuition. You think your side has the majority? Wait for an election just like the rest of us. I'd rather see this country remain a democracy, not turned into a coup state.

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[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

The french culture, in France as well as Quebec, seems to have a lower tolerance level for oppressive moves made through their governments,. they often take to the streets and have effective general strikes,. lets wish them well in this effort to slow/stop/reverse the privatization of public services like education, . and the education debt-bubble.

The cost of 'education' has been on a steady increase, the corporations have again externalized the cost of training their workers, to the people, and found that was not enough for their greedy little harts.., they set about privatizing and skimming from the education systems and continue to drive up costs unnecessarily. The larger goal seems to be, the maintenance/expansion of their main game,. the debt-cycle pyramid-scheme that is our monetary system. kids should not be leaving school with a mortgage sized debt and not even a house to show for it. But this is what keeps the house of cards banking 'system' from completely imploding, it needs always new DEBT or the train comes off the track,. we need to stop feeding it new debt. Knock the bottom out from under this deadly pyramid of greed.

[-] 1 points by Vaijykone (4) 2 years ago

Everyone, please watch Paradise or Oblivion: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KphWsnhZ4Ag It explains a little bit about the problems Humanity and the Biosphere are facing today and proposes solutions to these problems.

We have long ago passed the tipping point of being able to prevent a global collapse of the current socio-economic system; it cannot be avoided at this point. We are heading towards that global collapse in a rapidly accelerating manner now; the system is crumbling all over the world.

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[-] 1 points by akratique (1) 2 years ago

URL is wrong. It should be http://www.stopthehike.ca/

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[-] 0 points by ikki6 (11) 2 years ago

you guys are retarded, they are protesting the tuition hikes when they are the CHEAPEST in the entire country. they pay under 300$ PER course and after the hikes they will STILL be the cheapest in the entire country. I was in Montreal last week when some pigs decided to set some smoke bombs off in the subway which ended up shutting down the transit system during rush hour making the city a living hell for those hours. These kids are immature bastards that need to grow the hell up and quit crying about having the cheapest tuition in the entire country.

[-] 0 points by mikepsl (46) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Here's a video I put together from today's solidarity actions in NYC https://vimeo.com/42678493

[-] 0 points by ThemAhdi (6) 2 years ago

Long LIVE the Revolution.........

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[-] 0 points by Nevada1 (4495) 2 years ago

Thank you OWS for this report. So little is getting through the mainstream media. Everyone needs to know about all this.

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[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Sorry to hear that Larry, they were definitely out of line, and not supported by the majority of Occupy members. There is a reason why people are protesting though that can't be ignored. The people have let Democracy slip from their hands and to get back our grip there will be protests for years to come.

Who's fault? All of ours, mine, yours, our parents and grandparents. This has been brewing for decades and it will not be swept under the carpet any longer. We are now paying the price for our apathy.

[-] -1 points by larryl (-1) 2 years ago

Where on earth would you rather live than the USA? There has never been a more free and democratic power in history. We can romance about the past - but the fact is we're all living longer, and our workers are more productive and work in safer environments than they ever have in the past. The rich HAVE gotten richer - but I don't care - because I (like most people), get paid by someone rich. So I'm happy when they do better... Because I do better too.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Oops, another troll post.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4495) 2 years ago

Agree.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (35002) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Where have you been the last twelve years?

We have the largest and longest lasting period of unemployment in history. I believe we have now surpassed the time period of the Great Depression.

We have blue collar workers that need public assistance to get by because they are not paid a living wage. 40 years ago these same workers could buy a house on a single income and live well and have a savings account.

If things don't change you will not be happy for very long. Your turn in the list of thrown away people is coming up don't doubt it for a second.

Look at all of the work that is being exported.

This country is going straight to hell and you are learning to play the violin.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (35002) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

I like that vid

[-] 0 points by revlin (1) from Vancouver, BC 2 years ago

SPAIN! Remember the People of Spain...

Who are, right now, (or very early this morning/last night) taking part in a May 22nd general education strike and demonstrations which the Indignados announced weeks ago. Here's some back ground from teachersolidarity.com:

"There will be a national strike of teachers’ unions in Spain on May 22nd to protest education cuts

The right wing government of Mariano Rojay is planning a 25 – 30% cut in the education budget, which will have a particularly harsh impact on early years education, teacher training and rural schools. The unions are also protesting against a hike in fees for higher education and are demanding free university education for all.

The May 22nd strike is the latest manifestation of opposition to the austerity measures being forced on the Spanish people – particularly in health and education in order to meet the demands of bond traders and bankers. Unemployment amongst young people in Spain is now over 50%. Young people and teachers have been in the forefront of protests which have been taking place in many cities across Spain over the last few months..."

This is a truly global action. Keep the faith. Keep dreaming.

Cheers,

Revlin

lovedemands

http://universalsoldier.ca/lovedemands

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

One of my daughters went to McGill University in Montreal, and I learned to love that city, and the people in it. That feeling has only been intensified after seeing this.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yes that little song covers it very well.

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[-] -3 points by GaryAutumn (2) 2 years ago

I'm from Montreal and I consider this OWS article a compete failure since it fails to explain why the students started the demonstrations in the first place. Nothing is said about the issue of school fees. The only thing that is being talked about is the law 78. In actuality, Charest won since he has side-stepped the real debate. We wanted to talk about school fees, not create fights with the police like OWS is doing.

[-] 3 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

you miss the point! we are a movement for DEMOCRACY against the tyranny that controls the police and the money. this tyranny is the monarchy which controls the freemasons/knights templar and through them the police and financial system. the monarchy has used CORPORATE CHRISTIANITY to destroy the tribal/extended family of the people. putting an image of a man nailed to a cross into children's minds is CHILD ABUSE. telling children "jesus is the only way" or "mohammad is the last prophet" is BULLYING into submission to the pastor. telling children "jesus died for your sins" is MENTAL ABUSE. telling children that their mothers and fathers are sinners(saying that man is bad) is GROOMING which undermines the family, the extended family and the tribe. man is good. we are the way the truth and the life. we must have free education and free healthcare in our DEMOCRATIC society. ii is evil to burden the young with debt. it is evil to exploit the sick and dying. it is evil to make money from medications which kill the imagination of the mentally distressed. it is evil that we are driven from our homes and made homeless. it is evil that we are killing afghanis defending afghanistan blaming them for the 911 INSIDE JOB. it is evil that the police use violence against us BUT THAT IS HOW THEY GOT POWER OVER US IN THE FIRST PLACE. they were barbaric in their colonisation and subjection of the people to this evil monarchy. now we want HUMANITY AS THE PRIMARY HUMAN RIGHT! the police are freemason thugs, fascist AOs "only doing their job" of using increasing violence against us. marijuana is the plant of renown of ezekiel 34 v29, the tree of life of revelations. all marijuana charges are MALICIOUS PROSECUTIONS. end the prohibition of marijuana NOW!!!!