Over several months of struggle, there have been more than 2000 arrests. Today, over 500 hundred people are facing criminal charges. It is in solidarity with our arrested comrades, as well as in response to the ongoing repression against our struggles, that about 150 people assembled for a demonstration at Carré St-Louis on Friday, October 26. The cops of the SPVM were also assembled facing the park, trying to create a climate of fear and panic with their presence. These pigs quickly declared the gathering illegal. Despite this, the demo took to the streets towards 7 pm. As it started to move, a speech was read explaining the reasons for the demo:
“After six months of striking, of battles, of riots, of solidarity, and of the ‘palais de justice’ (the court house), it seemed that pacification had taken over. Tonight, it’s time to change this. We can’t stay calm when over 500 people are facing criminal charges. These 500 people with whom we have shared the streets. These comrades who were arrested while we’re still here. Together we have faced pigs that tried to beat us, arrest us, and who are always looking for new things to charge us with. It is because of these pigs that some comrades are now risking prison or living under conditions, having their lives dictated by fear. Whether inside the walls or out, we are all prisoners of a system that stops us from living. The social peace means total alienation, the dogs of this society control our lives, isolate our comrades, and have the audacity to expect us to remain calm and just accept it. But there is nothing in this rotten system to accept. Over the last six months, three people have been exiled from the island of Montréal. The first person to be exiled is still banished from the island. Six months to watch what was happening without being able to participate. Six months of isolation. Let’s not allow state repression to derail our solidarity. The struggle is nothing if it forgets its prisoners. Tonight, let’s honour our comrades who can’t be here with us. Let’s recreate a space of solidarity, let’s not allow these dirty pigs to try to disperse us again. Let’s fight until the end. Let’s not give them a reason, let’s not allow them to take another of our comrades. We’re going to walk together and we’re going to resist together. A demo only lasts one night – the struggle lasts our entire life. The comrades who have disappeared under a pile of conditions are still a part of this struggle. They are not victims, but comrades. It’s time to find them, and to move to action. Here, tonight, and for the rest of our lives.”
After the speech, the demo departed with a lively vibe and people shouting slogans like “Solidarité avec les arrêté.es” (Solidarity with those arrested), “Les prisons en feu, les screws au milieu” (Fire to the prisons, with the screws in the middle), and “La lutte n’est rien si elle oublie ses prisonnier.es” (A struggle is nothing if it forgets its prisoners). There were several large banners at the front that said “Grève étudiant! Lutte populaire! – Solidarité avec tous ceux qui font face à la répression pour avoir participé à la lutte” (Student strike! Social struggle! Solidarity with everyone facing repression for having participated in the struggle) and “Solidarity with the smoke bombers – ‘Terrorists’ are the pigs who try to club the struggle into submission! – Not one step back in the face of repression“. Many demonstrators were dressed in black. The message of solidarity was clear to passerbys, a solidarity that allows for collective action. Along the demo route, posters with an anti-repression analysis were put up all around downtown. In this way, we re-appropriated public space that is all too often dominated by media and advertising. While the demo was being followed by bike cops and many SPVM cars, the riot squad wasn’t deployed. About 45 minutes after the start, the demo dispersed at Philips Square near McGill metro. There were no arrests.
This demo is a show of our solidarity with comrades who have been criminalized and are facing heavy conditions of release. The state’s tribunals sabotage our struggles, try to isolate us and sow fear. It is with strength and passion that we will respond. We have nothing to gain or hope for from their justice. The struggle continues, unconditionally.