Sunday, April 07, 2013

Why We Should Fear What's Happening in Montreal

It's a scene that keeps repeating itself in the streets of Montreal.

A few hundred demonstrators set out on a peaceful march to protest against a totalitarian by-law limiting freedom of assembly.

Only to be kettled by the riot squad, and then arrested. Like they were again this weekend.

Montreal police said at least 279 protesters were arrested on Friday evening during a demonstration against police tactics.

Surrounded by police before they even left the little park they had gathered in. Then handcuffed, driven away in buses, and slapped with $637 fines.

The young, the old, the odd journalist, the peaceful people of the little red square...

And because the by-law also makes it illegal to wear a mask, they even kettled the gentle mascot Anarchopanda this weekend...

And confiscated its head.

Which is disturbing enough, since everybody knows it belongs to a harmless, middle aged philosophy professor.

But what I find even more disturbing is how little media attention these mass arrests are getting. And how many Quebecers and Canadians are shrugging their shoulders, or cheering on the police.

When as VĂ©ronique Robert, a Montreal criminal lawyer, wrote recently, we should ALL be afraid.

"When the young, and the even younger, receive $637 tickets for participating in a public assembly, be afraid. When protest movements are bullied from the moment they are formed, be afraid. When the police detain citizens en masse for no reason, be afraid. When police conflate interrogation with arbitrary arrest for exercising a constitutional right, be afraid.

What should actually scare us, in Montreal, is the police and their totalitarian declarations. What we should fear is the state and our mode of governance. Not protesters."

For if we allow the police in Canada to get away with this kind of totalitarian behaviour, we could end up like the people in Britain.

Where on April Fools Day David Cameron's Con-Lib coalition began one of the most brutish assaults on the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled, that country has ever seen...

(click pic to enlarge)

But when the cry of the desperate went out: Where are the protests? Where are the ACTIVISTS? There was only silence. Or this brutal answer.

Right now, as millions of people stare down the barrel of job losses, benefits sanctions, destitution and desperation and the rich are given tax cuts, I hear a lot of people asking why there isn't more resistance going on. Well, here's why. There was resistance, and it was brutally and systematically put down.

Sadly, many of the liberal-minded folk now wondering aloud where all the anger on the streets has gone were the same people who condemned the students and anti-cuts protesters for being just a bit too noisy, too rowdy, too "violent".

In Tory Britain, as the cuts kick in, even the most peaceful protests are put down as a warning to the rest of us.

And since we live in Stephen Harper's Canada, where the Cons are also trying to kill government and attacking the poor and the unemployed, and too many are too quick to cheer on the police.

More Canadians should also be asking themselves this question:

First they came for the students. Now they've come for the rest of us, who will speak out?

For who knows what horrors the Cons have in store for us? As the economic outlook grows grimmer, and the Harperites more ruthless and desperate. And if they crush the activists and the unions, who will lead the struggle against them?

Which is why I am so grateful to the brave activists in Montreal who are speaking out for all of us.

Why I salute their amazing spirit...

Why I wish I was there, standing up to those who would treat humans like animals.

And of course, why me and my little blog still proudly wear this red square...

As well as the red feather of the Idle No More Movement.

So that they should know that even in the sinister darkness of Harperland. Where so many are so silent. And fear RULES.

We are not afraid.

And The Great Canadian Resistance still LIVES...

Click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers...


  1. Anonymous4:07 AM

    Canada is on its way to becoming a fascist regime under the Harper dictatorship. This not hyperbole or exaggeration.

    1. hi anonymous...It's a sinister secretive regime, it repeats Big Lies over again, it muzzles its opponents, it's obsessed with law and order issues, and wants to put even more Canadians in jail. It's still not a fascist regime but it's heading rapidly in that direction...

  2. thanks Simon!
    needed this because of lack of media on this

    1. hi Oemissions...I just had to write something, for I can't believe you can arrest 279 people in one day, for marching around a park, and still get so little MSM coverage. In fact, the best MSM story I saw on what happened was on RT the Russian News !!!! Can you believe it? What are we becoming?

  3. It's all true Simon, however, this legislation was not enacted by the Harper conservative govt, but a former Quebec LIBERAL Govt, and now the PQ minority govt. Perhaps the PQ can't get it removed because of the minority situation, but again, it was put in place by the Liberal Party of Quebec.

    1. hi Jan...actually police are enforcing City of Montreal by-law P6 that you can read here (PDF)

      But what concerns me is that so many people of all parties don't seem to care that it is being enforced in such a heavy handed manner.
      Just like so many cheered on the police during the Quebec student movement's demos when more than 3,000 were arrested. And also cheered the crackdown on the Occupy movement. This is a country that hates its young and that's really disturbing...

  4. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Fundamental freedoms

    2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.

    1. hi Hugh...thanks for that list. I'd forward it to the Montreal police who clearly need some education:

      Sergeant Jean-Bruno Latour, a spokesperson for the SPVM, told La Presse. "We do not want to hold citizens who wish to go to downtown Montreal hostage. The Charter [of rights and freedoms] protects the right to freedom of expression, but there is no right to protest."

      However, I don't think I will, for fear that in the current fascist atmosphere this helpful reminder might be used against me... ;)

  5. These demonstrations get zero coverage in Manitoba, I can tell you that for sure.

    1. hi thebanana...They get very little coverage anywhere. Which I find totally disturbing. For whether or not you agree with the demonstrations, arresting hundreds of people for peacefully demonstrating should be a big story. And when the MSM can shrug off stuff like that we're definitely heading in a dangerous direction...

  6. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I have heard nothing of this in Ontario media either. We're living in some sort of uncharacteristically boring looking John Carpenter movie.

    1. hi anonymous...As I told a previous commenter, when I was looking up a story to link to, I almost linked to an RT report because it was the most complete. But then I thought quoting a Russian news service report on the violation of civil liberties, was probably not a good idea. But it does say something about our own media...

  7. Where oh where are the right-wing libertarians??? Aren't THEY the only genuine defenders of FREEEEEEEE-DUMB? (When they're not busy defending massive government secrecy and the torture of their fellow citizens that is.)

    1. hi thwap...those right-wing phonies couldn't give a damn about all those arrests. They'll scream like banshees about how the World Government police are trying to seize their weapons. Boo Hoo. But their outrage is highly selective. They way they screamed for blood during the Occupy and Quebec student protests is indelible engraved in my mind. I don't forget, and could never forgive. So needless to say, if the police ever come for their guns, I will be cheering for them loudly.... ;)

  8. Sadly, a lot of bozos think have no idea what these students are protesting about as I've seen a lot of commentary to the effect that these are just a bunch of spoiled know-nothings who want free education.

    1. hi Way Way Up...unfortunately you're right. Far too many Canadians think that
      the demonstrators are just troublemakers, when they are some of the most principled people in this country. Especially when the fine for a second arrest is $2,000. They also forget that demonstrating against totalitarian laws in the country we have today is not necessary. But what if conditions deteriorate and we find ourselves living in more dangerous times? Then they will regret not standing up for our civil liberties...

  9. Anonymous12:50 AM

    This is an issue where I believe it is healthy to be a bit paranoid about. In BC they have introduced a law wich used to be a bi law in 2 communities which covere unlawful assembly or unlawful use of a residence. What I understand this could mean is that a senior or children could be out on the street if someone is dealing drugs or a stolen car is found in the driveway or a bunch of guys who get rowdy in a park get ticketed and the next day one of them gets picked up for having a puff the prosecutor can say he's in a gang and send him up. Then again this sounds good if the conservatives "in a gang with a bang" get taken to the river

    1. hi anonymous...I always remember what an old sixties radical told me. Paranoia in dangerous times is a state of higher consciousness. And let's face it we are living in dangerous times, and limiting our freedoms in the name of fighting crime is an old right-wing habit. On the other hand if we can use anti-gang laws against the Cons, I'm all for them... ;)

  10. Anonymous2:35 PM

    I went to all the mass arrest marches... the 5 March, the 15 March, the 19 March, the 22 March, the 5 April... and I'm proud of it. When they do these things, I want to return. I am stubborn and angry... and we are right. We are right.

    P6 technically has been violated millions of times since May 2012 for an assembly, three people or more, must give their itinerary to the police before proceeding on the public domain. Moreover, as P6 does not specifically prohibit marching in an assembly proclaimed to be in contravention of the bylaw, but simply prohibits in such cases the disregarding of a dispersal order, and cases of marches without itineraries do not have to be dispersed according to Article 4 of P6, the police essentially can pick and choose when to demand an itinerary. The police recently stated that post-Canadiens match marches will not require itineraries despite the fact that these have led to rioting and looting, unlike political marches. The police, when demanding an itinerary, have the right to veto an itinerary or revise it at will. There are many groups that are at odds with the police... it's an easy matter for the police to use these powers to veto demonstrations by such groups and these are the groups that have been targeted by this use of the bylaw.

    There is however one other detail. The mass arrests of 19 March, 22 March and 5 April were done under Article 2.1 of P6. In each case, a dispersal order was never given, therefore none of these cases will yield a penny of paid fines (though the 22nd might be an exception in that the commander at one point proclaimed that anyone marching in the demonstration would be arrested, this could be interpreted as a dispersal order, later on a dispersal order was given during the kettling operation, insufficient clearly for people to escape)... The mass arrests of 5 March and 15 March were done under Article 2 of P6 and dispersal orders were given though the one of 15 March had circumstances of extreme police illegality from the outset that should in my opinion void the tickets in those cases too (Simoneau told people they could march whilst attacking them again and again, unprovoked attacks... and then demanded dispersal, proclaimed Unlawful Assembly, presumably because the victims were angry... that should not stand in in any court). The 5 March one is the hardest one for the kettled people to escape, unfortunately, and these people were taken by surprise as there had been no such operation since May 2012...