Saturday, May 5, 2012
Death Of A Democracy?
By now, chances are you've heard about last Summer/Fall's Occupy movement, and probably this Spring's two-month-strong student protests/strikes. If not, look it up, it's a fine read, students refusing a hike in education costs, defying (provincial) Prime Minister Jean Charest daily, kind of helping us forget how corrupt his government has been - but kind of not, at the same time.
Well, the Québec governing party, the Québec Liberal Party (which, technically, on a left-to-right, liberal-to-conservative scale ironically falls strongly on the Conservative side - picture Mitt Romney leading a Workers' Party) was holding its general council in Victoriaville, far from the rumbling streets of Montréal, comfortably, in the countryside, in a town usually so peaceful they don't even have a jail there...
Well, tons of anti-Charest protesters made the trip, including - but not limited to - busloads of students. Well, as may have been expected, shit did, indeed, hit the fan, and a riot ensued. My crystal ball is hazy from the all the smoke and pepper gas used in the picture gracing this post alone, but I can't wait to see how the media will spin this and how it'll affect public opinion. It can go either way: they may convince people that students are to blame for this and have to be forced back into class right away - or they could realize just how many folks are dissatisfied with this sham of a government.
The cops are close to being in over their heads, stopping and arresting at least 3 buses full of university students on their way back to Montréal - on the highway! - most of whom will likely be accused of ''participating in an illegal demonstration'', which they will eventually be found innocent of, but will spend the night in Victo and will have to go back to stand trial; minor yet irritating inconveniences, worse for foreign students and those depending on financial aid. But they will have to go back for sure, because a non-appearance in court is equivalent to pleading guilty in the eyes of the law.
Amnesty International has already condemned our police force of mishandling the situation - how worse will they look on the international scene? How will this affect tourism in our city this summer? Will we warn tourists to stay in their hotel rooms after 8PM?
One kid lost an eye early in the conflict from a noise grenade to the face, another one did so tonight from rubber bullets, another girl got shot in the face with rubber bullets and had her jaw broken and lost teeth, one kid is in the coma. Half a dozen cops and a dozen protesters are hospitalized, many more were injured but returned home or treated on-site (one paramedic says he treated at least 20 on-site).
This government has lost its legitimacy a long time ago, this is just added, useless bonuses. The student thing? Over a few million bucks, less than the Liberals have handed out to their mafia friends and fundraisers since the beginning of the year. How much more violence do we need before we kick those fuckers out of office? Do we need a cop or a kid to die? Chicago 68? Los Angeles 92?
History will not be kind to you, motherfucker, if you let this fester any longer.