Posts Tagged ‘protests’

The Whole World is Watching Montreal

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

109 days. That’s how long they’ve been protesting in Montreal. Over 3 incredible months. What started out as a demonstration against an impending 80% tuition hike has now blossomed into a full-out fight for civil rights.

Now, whether you’re Canadian or an unCanuck (a term I’ve never heard used until just now), there are many great reasons you should be paying attention to what is happening in Quebec. Here’s three:

Reason 1: It’s massive. Over 400,000 people – 1/4 of Montreal’s total population – have been out in simultaneous protest.

Reason 2: It’s about more than tuition fees. The movement has always targeted the systemic corruption in government, highlighting the way powerful corporations and big business get taxpayer-funded benefits while taxpayers themselves get the shaft.

But now that Premiere Charest clumsily stifled the right to protest, the movement morphed into protecting individual liberties, saving our precious democracy, and, most importantly, sending a clear message that we will not stand idly by while civil rights get violated.

Reason 3: The Montreal uprising is just a sign of things to come. Humans everywhere on earth are undergoing a great awakening. The internet is fostering a social revolution, shifting unprecedented powers into the hands of the masses. Governments, corporations and other major institutions will prove no match for millions of coordinated humans working together in real time.

A new day is coming, where actual democracy gives everyone a voice. With this newfound solidarity we will build a more just global civilization. People will take priority over profits, cooperation will supersede competition, and a brighter, more secure future will be upon us.

Quebec People Respond to Government Encroachment

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

(The police demand prior knowledge of rally routes. This is what they get!)

Quebec Premiere Jean Charest is in hot water. A few days ago he passed some short-sighted, heavy-handed emergency laws. These laws, when applied to their full extent, could easily cripple free speech. This misstep has only aggravated Quebec’s youth rebellion. Now, instead of just having to deal with pissed-off students, Charest now has to contend with most of the province being mad at him.

Seeing their precious freedom being infringed upon, Quebeckers sprung into action by the hundreds of thousands. They do not like what Charest has done, and they seem intent on banging pots in the streets until their voice gets heard.

The problem with the contested legislation – Bill 78 – is that it puts the right to protest directly under the control of the police. Anyone demonstrating without prior approval from a police department will face stiff fines or worse, like some entitled security thug punishing offenders with impunity. Yes, I’m talking about you, Canadian Pepper Spray Cop!.

Another problem with Bill 78 is that special provisions target coordinators of so-called ‘unlawful’ protests, who can also be punished whether they partake in the actual demonstration or not. So now anyone who spreads reasons to be disgruntled with government and dares to call for action could end up fined or arrested.

As much as it sucks to see heads of Canadian office trying to force ridiculous laws, witnessing the people’s response more than makes up for it. Clearly, they are as mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

Right on! Hopefully Charest buckles sooner than later, and every single Canadian politician gets a reminder as to the power of the people.

Constable 728: Canada’s Own Pepper Spray Cop

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Remember the infamous Pepper Spray Cop? Yeah, that guy whose callous use of toxic chemicals on peaceful UC Davis students earned him a lasting spot in Internet memeology. Well, it seems we Canadians now have our own more feminine version – Constable 728.

Watch as she proves the old adage: give someone a hammer and pretty soon everything looks like a nail. Just like if you give people a badge, powerful weapons, and the loosely sheathed authority to use them, a select few will unleash said powers at a moments notice.

Check out the video. Whatever what happened in the moments before, whether or not the students were warned, there is no evidence that this use of pepper spray was at all warranted. All that is clear is a disgusting abuse of power by an actor of the state.

Unconstitutional? Undemocratic? Certainly unCanadian. No matter how you may feel about the ongoing student protests, this incident cannot go unpunished. Otherwise we will just be opening the door to more of it in the future.

Canadian Cops Crush Peaceful Protests

Friday, April 27th, 2012

MONTREAL: Seizing upon the distractions of a public protest, a handful of unruly miscreants take the opportunity to vandalize private property. In response, heavily armed police units crack down on the demonstration as a whole, claiming protection of the public good.

Peaceful assembly: 0  Police State: 1 (more…)

Spanish Sit-In Split-up

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The above video, which shows riot police dispersing peaceful protesters, is difficult to watch without evoking a sense of frustration and anger. The demonstrators don’t appear to have done anything, other than exercise non-violent civil disobedience, and they’re treated like cattle being led to slaughter.

Of course, the police forces were just acting under orders. With crowds expected to gather and watch an upcoming soccer match, the dissenters had to be cleared out to make way for cleaning crews. To hell with democracy when there’s footie to be played, right?

Still, such thuggish tactics reveal the inherent violence in the system. Civil liberties and personal rights can so readily be squashed when the voice of the people clashes with those who hold the purse strings.

Violent Protests

Friday, October 16th, 2009

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank, much like the World Trade Organization, have a horrible track record of exploiting and further impoverishing poor countries to the benefit of the wealthy.  There is every reason to be upset with these organizations and to want to protest against them.

But what often happens, like in following video from Turkey last week, protests turn violent as riot police clash with combative dissenters.

The young people, donning faces covered in gas masks or hankerchiefs, tossing molotovs and rocks, are lashing out in their frustration at not being heard.  But what are their actions really accomplishing?

Certainly they are not conveying any sort of intelligent message.  Those in the IMF and World Bank who’ve earned the scorn of these protesters are just going to see these protesters as marginalized radicals.

The riot police who clash directly with these people… they are just doing their jobs and putting to use the training they received.  Its not like the flying rocks or home-made bombs are going to get them to change their minds about the situation, as if they will be like “Oh, you made an excellent point by lighting me on fire… I now see the error of my ways… down with the IMF!”

The owners of the property being damaged are not going to be sympathetic to the cause, either.  In fact, they will only support more police crack-downs, to protect their shops and vehicles from being looted and trashed.

As well, the mainstream media loves to protray all protestors as being wild, violent anarchists hell-bent on the destruction of civilization, and these violent demonstrations only serve to solidify these conservative points of view.

So what does violent protest accomplish?  It doesn’t further the points that those who oppose the IMF are trying to make.  Instead, it only ensures that whenever these groups meet, they will have more riot squads ready and eager to crack down and crack skulls, and more support from the public to do so.

Instead, we need to find alternatives to violent protest… peaceful demonstrations, non-violent civil disobedience, coordinating mass movements, writing/phoning our politicians.  Empower yourself.  Achieve a higher status within your community, gain the respect of your peers.  Don’t just throw rocks and molotovs… find more constructive ways to get your voice heard.

Ghandi was able to liberate an entire country without violence… you can get your point across without violence as well.