Yesterday a group known as Anonymous released the following video with a message to the government of Canada.
“Anonymous requires from the government of Quebec to respect the fundamental rights of the citizens. The freedom of expression is an inalienable right on which no government can walk, without paying a heavy toll for this misdeed.
Anonymous requires from the government of Quebec to put an immediate term of that repression, and to stop the police violence against the peaceful demonstrators.”
Anonymous is not alone in protesting the treatment of Canadian citizens by police and the Quebec’s legislature’s passing of Bill 78. If you are somehow unfamiliar with this highly controversial emergency measure, here’s a video with a summary -
Yesterday, Amnesty International released the following statement found in an article here.
“Amnesty International believes that Bill 78 gives the authorities the power to take arbitrary measures against any individual as they see fit while providing no legal recourse against such actions.
“What is unacceptable is that individuals can no longer predict whether their mere participation in a public gathering – a peaceful demonstration, a festival, a sporting event, or a religious gathering – will be criminalized,” said Béatrice Vaugrante, Director General of Amnesty International’s Francophone Canada section.”
An opinion piece in The New York Times highlights another concern here.
“Freedom of speech is also under attack because of an ambiguous — and Orwellian — article in Bill 78 that says, “Anyone who helps or induces a person to commit an offense under this Act is guilty of the same offense.” Is a student leader, or an ordinary citizen, who sends a Twitter message about civil disobedience therefore guilty? Quebec’s education minister says it depends on the context. The legislation is purposefully vague and leaves the door open to arbitrary decisions.”
Just to be clear, I am not encouraging people in Quebec to protest. That would make sharing this article illegal for some people. However, I would like to share a video found on the wall of the Facebook page Occupy Wall St. “A small guide to protesting while obeying the new law 78, which restricts spontaneous protests to 49 people.”
For an insight into the mindset of some of the protesters, I like to look at local articles and blogs:
An interesting argument in defense of the student movement here.
An excellent article detailing 10 points of the Quebec student movement can be found here.
This blog included a particularly poetic and impassioned video –
Although controversial, the support of some within Canada for the student movement is undeniable. Unions outside of Quebec have been raising funds in their support of accessibility to post-secondary education. Trade unions have confirmed sending over $36,000 to student federations. source
One thing I found particularly touching was the individual level of giving described by this article,
“Ken Lewenza of the Canadian Auto Workers union said the leaders of the province’s three main student federations each gave “inspiring” presentations during the late-April gathering in the Quebec town of Montebello.
He said around 150 delegates present immediately began reaching into their pockets and gave a total of $3,000 — an amount matched by the union.”
The support is not just coming in financial form either. One website, found here includes thousands of individuals declaring disobedience of Bill 78, in the form of pictures and signs.
“With this law, the government is addressing much more than student associations: it attacks the very possibility that should be every woman and every man freely to challenge decisions made on its behalf by the political power. The government uses fear to suppress the objection: these are methods worthy of an authoritarian regime. This draconian law wants us to give up more than our rights, she wants us to abandon what we are. We affirm today that we refuse to give in to fear and intimidation. We will stand by our principles of individual and collective freedom.”
What started as student’s protest of a proposed 75% increase in tuition costs has become a worldwide symbol for the struggle with debt, social inequality, and violation of civil liberties. As I follow the protests in Quebec, and the protests in solidarity all over the world, I can’t help but think –
This is what inspiration looks like. This is what ingenuity looks like. This is what democracy looks like.
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