Posted by: kaleidophonic | May 22, 2012

250,000 Criminals

I took this photo as the march began, moving through Place des Festivals.

Today I proudly took part in what some people are already calling Canada’s largest ever act of civil disobedience.

Along with over 250,000 fellow citizens (and maybe even more…*) we walked in solidarity against the Quebec government’s undemocratic new Bill 78 which drastically limits our constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of association and freedom of speech. The march was declared illegal almost immediately. We were 250,000 criminals, young and old, walking in open defiance of the law. [* note: local bloggers Forget The Box have written a great article about the irregularities around the crowd estimates for the May 22nd march, which I now think probably contained closer to 400,000 people.]

The protest was joyful and peaceful, with dancing, music, drumming, whistles, and various chants. A friend texted me from elsewhere in the crowd: “I am standing at the corner of St. Denis and Beaubien and for blocks up and down people are standing on the sidewalk banging on pots and pans. [The sound] is spreading, its radiating out.”

Last I checked, the protest was still roving through the streets of Montréal, although as the sun goes down the riot police will become less patient.

Despite the amazing show of democracy that happened today, the Quebec Government continues to state that it will not budge on student demands. It will not rethink or repeal its repressive anti-protest bill. The mainstream media is downplaying the size of the crowd, and linking, whenever possible, to images of violence from previous protests.

I want to repeat that today’s mass march was peaceful. I saw only goodwill, compassion, and friendly faces. At one point, as we marched past a senior’s residence, the beautiful old folk were standing on their balconies and cheering us on, waving, flashing the peace sign. The only scowls I saw were from a few uptight business men trapped in their sterile corporate office towers, as they peered down in disbelief (and maybe a little bit of jealousy) at the joyful street party unfolding beneath them.

Where we will go from here is anyone’s guess, but I do know that after today’s beautiful actions, more and more people are beginning to understand what is going on here.

I won’t re-hash the arguments and explanations about Quebec’s Printemps d’Erable. I already did so in my last post, which has been read by over 200 visitors to this blog in the last two days (!!!). To those of you who took the time to read my words, thank you!

A people, united, will never be defeated. Today we showed the world what democracy looks like. Lets keep it up.


  1. […] in my last post I wondered where the movement here in Quebec would go, after Tuesday’s massive march through […]

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