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VIDEO of ‘pots and pans’ protest in Montreal goes viral

The Huffington Post reports, “A video of protesters banging pots and pans on Quebec streets is going viral on social networks. Posted on Friday afternoon, the beautiful black and white film shows protesters of all ages taking to the streets to protest the emergency law Bill 78. The Vimeo video quickly began showing up all over Twitter and Facebook.”

The article continues, “Bill 78 is being called a draconian attempt to quell massive student protests that have taken over Quebec streets for more than 100 days. The bill limits the ability to protest by requiring groups to get police approval for demonstrations and restricting where they can take place, among other provisions.”

On May 19, the Montreal Gazette reported, “The Council of Canadians denounced (Bill 78), calling it undemocratic, unconstitutional and repressive. ‘Just days after a stinging indictment of the widespread repression that took place in Toronto during the G20 (summit), the Charest government in Quebec seems intent on outdoing the largest violation of civil liberties in Canadian history with its introduction of Bill 78,’ it wrote in a statement calling on its members and supporters to sign the petition against the legislation.” On May 22, Council activists (including Board member Abdul Pirani and political director Brent Patterson) marched with 250,000 people in Montreal – and later joined the march that defied Bill 78 by not submitting the route in advance to the police. CLASSE – Coalition large de l’Assocation pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante – described that march as “the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history”.

The Huffington Post notes, “The pots-and-pans protest has its roots in Chile, where people have used it for years as an effective, peaceful tool to express civil disobedience. The noisy cacerolazo tradition actually predates the Pinochet regime in Chile, but has endured there and spread to other countries as a method of showing popular defiance. …In the last few days, the pots and pans protest — dubbed the casseroles by observers — have acted like an alarm clock for the regular evening march, sounding at 8 p.m. on the nose in advance of the march’s start.”

To read Roger Rashi’s powerful account of one such evening march, please go to his rabble.ca blog at http://rabble.ca/news/2012/05/night-march-magic-quebec-peoples-movement-takes-over-streets. Council activists will remember Roger from our ‘Indignez-Vous! Hope in Resistance’ conference in Montreal in October 2011. We are also working with him and numerous other activists on the proposed Canada-Quebec-Indigenous Social Forum that is set to launch this coming October.