New demo laws gets first test Saturday
Published Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:32PM EDT
MONTREAL - More tuition protests are expected to launch from Emilie Gamelin Plaza in downtown Montreal Saturday night, but in an apparent effort to comply with the provisions of the newly-passed Bill 78, the usual organizers are no longer publishing protest plans on the Internet.
The CLASSE student group removed the demo calendar from its site Saturday, however the same information can now be found on a site called ManifsWiki.net, which -- with an apparent touch of irony -- called on the population to "not participate in protests," and explained that the information it offers is meant to help people avoid traffic delays.
Anybody can anonymously add protest dates on the site, as long as they do not invite people to attend.
The changes appear taken in reaction to provisions of Bill 78, which mandates heavy fines for organizers of protests involving 50 people or more that fail to convey their itinerary to police in advance, or inspire certain types of disorder.
Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told CTV Montreal Saturday that it was "99 percent certain," that measures in the newly-passed Bill 78 would not yet be enforced Saturday, suggesting that the squad needs more time to study the logistics involved.
The police nonetheless issued a press release late Saturday afternoon suggesting that the new rules would be in force, noting that those who violate new city bylaw P-6 could be slapped with $500 fines.
Several protesters interviewed by CTV suggested that they would not comply with the P-6 city mask bylaw, including one who invoked the rise of the Nazis in Europe.
"No I'm not going to plan to follow the law. Why? Because it's for democracy. It's the beginning of 1933 here. We are in Canada and both my grandparents fought for democracy in Europe."
Another suggested that the mask bylaw could be logistically impossible to enforce.
"They can't stop 300,000 people. They won't have enough tickets or police officers to stop that many people," said Audrey F. Laurencell.
However some still felt that it's not worth risking. "I'll be in the streets, not wearing a mask because I don't want to go against the law," said Eric Boudreau.
Friday night protests end in four arrests
Several thousand demonstrators marched through the streets of Montreal in a demonstration that started hours after Bill 78, which imposes new restrictions on demonstrations, became law.
The protest was declared illegal at about 10 p.m. Friday and police them employed stun grenades and smoke bombs.
Four demonstrators were arrested after a window at a Bank of Montreal on Mount Royal Blvd was smashed, one of several acts of wanton destruction committed in the march.
Two of those arrested will be charged with armed assault, another for assault against a peace officer and another for having walked nude in public.
The event then continued in a more orderly fashion and police tolerated its peaceful continuation until 3:30 a.m.
In Quebec City several thousands stood in front of the National Assembly after marching for great lengths through city streets. The protesters had provided their itinerary to police.
Other protests took place in Gatineau, Sherbrooke Trois-Rivieres and Rimouski.
Poll shows support for Bill 78
According to a CROP-La Press poll, two-of-three Quebecers support the new legislation designed to quell the tuition demonstrations.
Along with the 66 percent that support Bill 78, 67 percent expressed the view that police should be more severe with demonstrators and 65 percent consider the demonstrators' attitude unjustified.
Sixty-eight percent of Quebecers expressed agreement with the tuition hikes, while only 9 percent believe that professors should participate in boycotts.
The survey was the result of 800 interviews conducted over the internet between 4:30 p.m. and Friday at noon. Critics noted that the exact details of the proposal were not publicly known at that time.
It also suggested a noticeable split between the views of Montrealer and those outside of the city, which appeared more receptive to the legislation.
Liberal Party, Education Ministry sites hit by cyber-attacks
The attacks were apparently launched by a group known as Anonymous, in retaliation for Bill 78.
About one month earlier both sites were also taken down in similar circumstances.
With a file from The Canadian Press