Monday 23 April 2012

Montreal protests: a photo blog

Before I went to Montreal I joked to a friend about getting caught in the middle of a protest. You know those French people like to protest, and they've been doing a lot of that lately. The target of the anger: the government's plan to raise tuition fees from by far the lowest in the country to a little bit higher but still by far the lowest in the country.

Anyhow, flash forward to Friday as the wife and I were taking a stroll through Old Montreal on our way the Montreal Science Museum. Do de do de do ... (that's the sound of us strolling along.)

It appeared to be an ordinary day. People milling about. Young adults chatting on a street corner, one of them wearing ski goggles. Hmm, that's kind of weird. Oh well. This is Montreal ... anything goes!

Do de do de do ... Oh! Look at the pretty building. I think I'll take a picture of it:

Did I notice the guy with his face covered? No. But then again, this is Montreal .. anything goes.

However it was impossible not to notice all the cops closing off streets. Every block, more cop cars. A helicopter hovering over head. Yup, something is definitely brewing here, but wha .... oh:

Ah ... I think we'd better keep walking dear. Dodedodedodedodedo.

What I didn't know was that the pretty building pictured above contained the Premier, and became the focal point of this only minutes later: Montreal student protest turns violent

Later that afternoon we passed back that way and everything was more or less back to normal, except for the dozens of police cars and trucks lining the streets, some of which had smashed windows.

We had successfully avoided the riot, but the movement itself goes on, and you can see signs of it everywhere. People with red swatches pinned to their jackets, red balloons tied to lamp posts, statues with red tape over their mouths ...

You see, a protest is just a protest, but when you add a COLOUR to rally around it becomes a revolution. Every good revolution has a colour.

Unfortunately for the students, every good revolution also needs something else: popular support, and this the students don't appear to have. I was told by people on TV whom I'm sure are reliable that the majority of Quebecers support the tuition increase, to their credit, and are getting annoyed by the blocked streets and mayhem and such. Yet the protests have been going on for almost four months, and don't show any sign of abating. The semester is a write-off for the striking students anyhow.

I can't even begin to guess at the cost to the Quebec taxpayers of all the destruction, but more especially the mountains of police overtime that go into containing these protests. I don't know how many cops were out last Friday, but I think it was all of them.

In a way it might have been fun to get right in the middle of the mayhem and get the genuine riot experience. I even thought about starting a Riot Tourism business. Search out hot spots around the world where chaos is about to erupt, and take customers there to experience an adrenaline rush that only getting hit by pepper spray or rubber bullets can provide. I'm sure there's a market for that.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that you are using the words "protest," "riot" and "revolution" interchangeably (though your use of the last word also appears tongue in cheek). I would say a protest and a riot are not the same thing. Are you against all protests, or just those that turn violent? Not judging necessarily, just curious. The way you've framed things, I'd be inclined to think you're some sort of fuddy-duddy...

cherenkov said...

It started as a protest, which is non-violent, but turned into a riot, which is violent or destructive. I was being facetious with the use of "revolution".

I am not pro or con anything. There is no deep meaning to this post. Sharing photos more than anything.

tangledweb said...

Montreal Spring

Cheap Flights to Montreal said...

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the relgion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.

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