Thursday, 8 March 2012

Québec rebels defy police brutality

YOUNG rebels in Québec are coming under vicious attack from Canadian cops.

But anger and defiance are rising as a big day approaches - a demonstration against police brutality in Montreal on Thursday March 15.

Contra Info explains that a vast strike movement is shaking colleges and universities in the traditionally rebellious French-speaking province.

This general strike movement has set itself, as an immediate objective, the cancellation of the recent 25% tuition fees rise implemented by the neoliberal government of Québec.

"The movement is now 125,000 striking students strong and many strike votes will be held in the coming weeks by student assemblies.

"Many massive street demos gathering thousands of people, as well as blockade actions have been organized, triggering more and more police repression."

On March 7, the repressive violence went up a notch, as almost 1,000 people were blockading a downtown building in Montréal, hosting the offices of the public lotteries and the Conference of University Rectors.

About 200 people had gained entrance to the building, blocking access to the elevators, as the others occupied the doorways and the adjacent streets, raising barricade out of metal railings in order to block off busy Sherbrooke Street and to use as protection against police assaults.

Riot cops attacked the crowd, hitting the protesters with clubs and shields, soaking them with pepper spray and throwing many “stun grenades”.

One of these devices, that produce a deafening bang as well as projecting fragments and pepper gas, seriously injured a student protester, who received splinters in the right eye and has been taken to the hospital.

As of March 8, he was being operated on for retinal detachment and he might lose the use of his eye. Apparently, the riot police deliberately delayed the ambulance call. Three other protesters were also injured during the assault.

On the same night (March 7th), at about 9pm, a group of about 300 people gathered at the Berri Square, in response to the police attack, and took to the streets, shouting “Cops, Pigs, Murderers!”.

Reaching the administrative headquarters of the municipal police, some tried to smash the glass doors of the entrance with metal crowd barriers, before being chased through the streets by police.

Thursday's protest, and others planned for later in the month, seems more relevant than ever.

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