Quebec Moves toward Martial Law to Crush Student Movement
A student movement in the Canadian province of Quebec was sparked with a strike in February of 2012 against the government’s planned 75% increase in tuition. For over three months, students have protested night and day, with over 200 protests in the city of Montreal alone. The students are met with excessive state violence: pepper spray, tear gas, smoke bombs, concussion grenades, beatings with batons, trampled by horses, driven into by cars and trucks, or shot with rubber bullets. Several students have almost been killed and mass arrests have taken place, with over 2,000 people having been arrested in the past three months. As the reaction from students to the government repression and opposition to the strike and movement became increasingly radical, the government took new measures to try to destroy the student movement. On Friday, May 18, the province of Quebec passed Bill 78, which is a “declaration of war on the student movement,” severely restricting the rights to protest, assembly, and expression; which imposes heavy fines on protesters, leaders, and student organizations, of between $1,000 and $125,000, designed to bankrupt the student movement and scare people from partaking in protests.
On May 22, on the 100th day of the student strike, and in a massive display of civil disobedience (perhaps the largest in Canadian history), between 250 and 500,000 people took to the streets of Montreal to protest (illegally), with solidarity protests taking place in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, New York, and Paris. This movement has become bigger than ‘tuition,’ it has become about our very freedom. And so, despite the increasingly totalitarian measures of the supposedly “democratic” government of Quebec, the ‘Maple Spring’ marches on… “illegally”.
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