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Thousands rally in Montreal against law restricting protests

 
 
 
 
 
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Students march during a protest against Bill 78, Montreal, May 26, 2012.

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in the city of Montreal in Canada’s eastern province of Quebec to protest against a controversial law that seeks to restrict protests.

Banging pots and pans during the rally on Saturday night, the defiant protesters challenged the recently-passed bill, aimed at limiting the right to protest, saying their conflict with the government was not just about tuition anymore.

Students have been protesting across the province since February in a bid to add up pressure on the province’s government to drop a plan to increase the tuition fees.

The protest-related law, the Bill 78, outlines strict regulations for demonstrations and conditions of heavy fines for students and their federations. Under the new law, for any demonstration of 50 or more people, police should be informed eight hours in advance and told of the route of the demonstration.

Police immediately declared the Saturday demonstration illegal for not being informed of the march in advance.

Similar protest rallies were also held in Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres and in several other cities in the francophone province.

This is while student federations and unions have launched a legal motion against the approved law, citing the move as “unconstitutional” and in clear violation of basic rights.

Meanwhile, Quebec officials are set to hold a meeting with student leaders next week in an effort to resolve the 3-month unrest.

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  • Rick Alexander

    The drumbeats of freedom are slowly disappearing. I think Canadians are waking up a little late to discover that they have no freedoms. One infamous Australian judge once said “Sleep on your freedoms and one day you will wake up to find you don’t have then anymore”. Freedom is a right that has to be fought for through diligence. The loss of freedoms happens through education systems, health systems, medical fraternities, unions and upholding the fabian marxist ideal that you can just spread the wealth around and it will fix everything. Truth is, it just doesn’t work.

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