Topless protest linked to values charter causes uproar in Quebec legislature
A topless activist is carried out of the legislature by security after protesting the presence of the crucifix inside the legislature in Quebec City on Oct. 1, 2013. (Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, October 1, 2013 10:23PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 2, 2013 7:34AM EDT
QUEBEC -- A topless protest interrupted the daily question period in Quebec's national assembly Tuesday, in a screaming semi-nude denunciation of the controversial values charter.
Women began removing their clothes while Premier Pauline Marois was answering a question.
The premier had been asked about a payroll tax and had just uttered the words, "(We're) taking action now" when shouts erupted in the gallery and everyone's eyes, including the premier's, drifted upward.
As the protesters disrobed, they chanted a slogan against the presence of the crucifix in the chamber: "Crucifix, decalisse," they repeated, in a crude, sacrilegious Quebecois expression loosely translatable as, "Crucifix, get the hell out of here."
The demonstration was quelled, as numerous security guards pulled a trio of still-half-naked protesters away from the chamber and struggled to dress them.
The whole affair was in reaction the Parti Quebecois' uneven approach to state secularism, which has been called hypocritical by its critics.
The PQ's proposal would leave the Christian symbol looming above the chamber where Quebec's laws are passed; Christmas trees would remain in public offices; and the giant cross would stay on the public land above Montreal's Mount Royal.
That's because those Christian symbols are part of Quebec's heritage, the PQ says.
However, lower-level employees of the state would be forced to remove their hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, and larger-than-average Christian necklaces.
The plan is unlikely to pass the legislature in its current form. That means it could either be watered down, or preserved for use in the PQ's next election platform.