The second edition of the “Vague bleue” (Blue Wave), a marginal social movement drawing in the xenophobic and Islamophobic dregs from the national-populist milieu, took place on the 27th of July in Trois-Rivières. Since the first edition that took place in Montreal on the May 4th, Montréal Antifasciste has documented the individuals and groups that took part in the xenophobic protest, including its “security” contingent, who is little more than a collection of cranks fantasizing about beating up antifas.
Unfortunately for them, the second edition was an epic failure. While 300 people showed up to their Montreal event, the Vague bleue 2 in Trois-Rivières barely attracted 75 people. Many groups were notably absent, including La Meute, the folkloric losers from the Front patriotique du Québec, and the pseudo-militiamen of the Groupe de Sécurité Patriotique.
The security team surrounding this second edition was made up of a handful of people from Steven Dumont’s entourage in Storm Alliance and the pathetic “Les Gardiens du Québec” crew. It is definitely worth noting that Les Gardiens du Québec now counts white supremacist Michel “Mickey Mike” Meunier amongst its members, and although he was only admitted to the group a few weeks ago, just before the protest he helped get his bonehead friend Joe “White Poser” Arcand into the group as well. With these two new members, the true colours of the so-called Guardians of Québec are starting to show.
After having their protest literally diverted by the antifascist/antiracist mobilization, the VB2 found itself (again) in the middle of a parking lot, isolated and unnoticed. During the open mic segment of the day, Diane Blain (the person notorious for screaming nonsense at Justin Trudeau in 2018) gave an extremely racist speech that summarizes perfectly the essence of what most VB2 participants (and the wider national-populist movement) think:
“We have so many enemies here, in Québec: the federal government, federast (sic) journalists, the Muslims, the Jews, the Anglos, the Sikhs…”
Her speech was filmed and subsequently shared hundreds of times in less than 24 hours, before Youtube deleted the video as hate speech. This stuff is so unbelievable it can’t be made up.
Of final note, Pierre Dion, one the national-populist milieu’s mascots, was arrested before the march even started, allegedly because he sent a private message to TVA “journalist” Yves Poirier to the effect that “Trois-Rivières, on the 27th, I’m going to be there, and there’s gonna be blood everywhere.”
Police are here to protect…
A massive police presence was deployed in the heart of Trois-Rivières, essentially to repress the antiracist counter-protest and to let the 75 clowns from the Vague bleue protest in the city with their message of exclusion. In addition to the riot police spread out all around the city center, we saw a drone flying above Des Forges Boulevard, as well as SQ and local police boats on the river (photo credit: André Querry).
At around 1:30PM, some SQ riot police squads arrived with their vehicles and surrounded the TRès Inclusif counter-protest to keep it from leaving its departure point, resulting in the classic game of cat and mouse in the streets, with the antiracist/antifascist protest managing to elude the riot police and get to the spot on Des Forges Boulevard where the Vague bleue march was supposed to end. The riot cops gradually formed a perimeter to contain the 150 or so counter-protesters (left at this point) in this spot, which led to a few minor incidents, including the SQ using pepper spray at least twice.
At this point, the VB’s plans had already been thwarted, and the SQ was forced to reroute their march into a parking lot a bit to the east.
We know that the police outright lied to antiracist organizers on multiple occasions:
- They said that only the municipal police would be deployed, not the SQ; in fact, the SQ were there in large numbers and were clearly calling the shots.
- They were told that the antiracist protest couldn’t take place at Place du Flambeau, because another event was taking place there; this wasn’t true and the square was empty.
- They were told that the pedestrian section of Des Forges Boulevard wouldn’t be blocked; not only was it blocked in multiple places, access was also blocked a few blocks deep in every direction. Multiple people reported having their bags searched before being allowed to enter the area’s perimeter.
Of equal note regarding the collaboration between the authorities and the VB2 was the provision of a city bus to bring the protesters back to their starting point. Here they are from inside the bus, trying very hard to sing a shitty song from the sixties:
A successful mobilization for antiracists and antifascists
On our side, between 200 and 250 people from multiple antiracist and antifascist groups and collectives from Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Sherbrooke, and elsewhere came out in force in response to TRès inclusif’s callout, successfully putting forward a message of inclusivity and thwarting the Vague bleue 2’s plans in Trois-Rivières.
After a few minutes of confusion and difficulty agreeing on a plan (primarily complicated by the creeping police buildup, which voided the initial plans for the protest), a spontaneous rush by the antifascist forces helped the protest elude the police, get to Des Forges Boulevard, and seize the supposed end point for the Vague Bleue 2 protest, the space in front of Café Frida (the coffee shop that had been harassed and threatened by the organizers of the VB2 over the preceding weeks).
After a few tense minutes face to face with the SQ, a breakout group of 20 antifascists was able to get to the upper level of the promenade, where they could look down on VB2’s depressing parking lot party and mock the participants.
One final note: it’s important to mention the huge work of preparation, information, and mobilization that was done between the two Vague bleue events, notably by TRès Inculsif and Montréal Antifasciste, but also by other antiracist and antifascist groups, whether in person or online and on social media, to counter the xenophobic and Islamophobic discourse being spread by the VB participants. A special shout-out to the comrades who pushed through a final demobilization effort by creating fake accounts of the VB2 organizers 48 hours before the event in order to spread confusion and doubt about whether or not the event was cancelled. The always brilliant John Hex call this tactic a “cyber-attack” by “the oligarchy.” Lol. Nice work!
The usual media bungling
The mainstream media totally ignored or weren’t interested in the Vague bleue phenomenon, partly because the nationalist-populist crowd are obsessed with conspiracy theories about the media and refused to speak to them this time. That said, the two articles that came out about the VB2 were particularly terrible. The Radio-Canada article displayed a blatant disregard for research, while the one in the Nouvelliste was a VB2 puff piece, incredibly including an extremely racist quote from Stéphane Gagné (Trois-Rivières’ narcissistic racist who calls himself “General Lee of the Mauricie”), and a second quote from an Amnesty International representative who felt it important to mention that “antifacists were looking to make trouble”, while “the Vague bleue wasn’t looking for confrontation”. Question to Amnesty International: Are we to understand that a calm racist and xenophobic protest is better than a disruptive antiracist and antifascist protest? Is Vickie Schneider’s quote (which racists will use to their advantage) an official Amnesty International position? (Update: Amnesty International issued a statement on July 30 condemning “the hateful comments made at the Vague bleue rally in Trois-Rivières” and stating that Vickie Schnieders was “speaking in her personal capacity and that her comments do not reflect Amnesty International’s official position”. Thank you for this clarification, it is appreciated.)
Our work is only beginning
As we’ve written before, the present situation in Quebec is far from good for those of us who care about the health and quality of our society. The CAQ’s regressive orientation regarding immigration and the way it forced through the Loi sur la laïcité de l’État are signs of a government that shares the political aims of racist and xenophobic groups like those that organised the Vague bleue. Furthermore, it’s not insignificant that while the SQ was essentially doing the work of Trois-Rivières’ xenophobes, François Legault (the premier of Quebec) was promoting Mathieu Bock-Côté’s book on Twitter, agreeing with the reactionary sociologist’s outdated brand of nationalism.
While the Vague bleue organizers are already talking about a third edition in Quebec City, it seems likely that the anti-racist movement we are trying to build across the province will have to mobilize again in the coming weeks, months, and unfortunately, perhaps even for years to come.
A small exercise…
The absolutely wild trip that is the Vague bleue crowd’s online banter has already gotten people used to their tenuous grasp of the French language, so we’re not going to focus on that.
Let’s see if the people who think they represent “the people” are any better at math: 75 clowns in a population of 8.3 million people represents what percentage of “the people”?
You’re not “the people”. You’re 75 clowns.