Quarter million march in Montréal to mark Earth Day

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Unionist
Quarter million march in Montréal to mark Earth Day

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Unionist

This deserves its own thread. It has to be the biggest demo in the history of Québec - maybe of Canada? And don't believe me. The estimates in the MSM go as high as 300,000. March 22 was the hugest thing I had ever seen, but this...!

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Earth+march+fills+Montreal+streets/6... march fills Montreal streets[/url]

Quote:
A crowd of 250,000 people or more inched its way through downtown and onto Mount Royal Sunday afternoon in what was Quebec’s largest-ever Earth Day march. [...]

They waved Quebec flags, carried banners that read “La terre n’est pas à vendre” and “Harper = dictateur”and blasted Quebec Premier Jean Charest for his Plan Nord project for oil and gas exploration in the north. There were plenty of Montreal families in the crowd, too: parents with little children in strollers who stopped in busy Place des festivals to eat picnic lunches, and senior citizens who came by the busload. Many said they had never before attended an Earth Day event.

Montreal police don’t provide official crowd estimates, but individual officers said they thought numbers had topped 200,000. Earth Day organizers themselves were stunned, pinning the number of participants at 250,000 or 300,000, given that for a solid 2½ hours marchers packed Bleury St. and then Ave. du Parc as they inched their way along the kilometre-long stretch from Ste. Catherine St. toward Jeanne Mance Park, where they formed a massive “human tree” to be photographed from above. For hours, downtown streets remained closed to traffic and there were lineups to get into the métro.

“The student protests seem to have sparked a larger feeling of malaise, of protest, among Quebecers,” said Claudine Allaire, a senior citizen from the Laurentians, who drove into Montreal with her partner for her first Earth Day protest.

“I am not any kind of activist, but I am fed up with the government, about how it is handling the environment and how often I hear about corruption when I turn on the news.”

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Wow! Absolutely amazing and wonderful.

jas

WTF? How does that happen?

I can remember a peace march in Vancouver from the early '80s, at the height of the push for nuclear disarmament, that was in the 10,000s, I believe -- someone correct me if I'm wrong -- but this is incomprehensible. How?

jas

And what is that structure they are encircling?

Bärlüer

jas wrote:

And what is that structure they are encircling?

The frontmost building is the Musée d'art contemporain. Slightly behind is Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, the biggest of the concert halls, now reserved for opera, ballet, etc. now that there is a proper, modern concert hall for the orchestras, ensembles (the new "Maison symphonique").

The giant white arms are lighting structures for the Place des festivals.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

jas wrote:

WTF? How does that happen?

I can remember a peace march in Vancouver from the early '80s, at the height of the push for nuclear disarmament, that was in the 10,000s, I believe -- someone correct me if I'm wrong -- but this is incomprehensible. How?

..i remember crossing the burrard bridge with 100,000 others on a peace march. this is so very awesome though.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

“It’s cold and miserable, and still all these people came out. We came for the future of our children. We came to make ourselves heard,” he said. “Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to rise up. Maybe I will tell my children 25 years from now that we were here when a new social movement began.”

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Earth+march+fills+Montreal+streets/6...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Thousands march for Earth Day, against Charest

Some protesters calling the rallies a 'Quebec Spring'

quote:

Some were more articulate than others, however, everyone who QMI Agency spoke with Sunday said Earth Day's message of protecting the environment is related to the fight against tuition increases. Moreover, many people told QMI Agency that the student strike, which is entering its 70th day, has morphed into a broader social movement that believes the provincial government has lost its legitimacy.....

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2012/04/22/19665026.html

Meanwhile, Charest had to sneak into a Quebec Liberal Party fundraiser Sunday at a high school in Gatineau, Que., through a back door. About 200 student protesters were in front of the building. It seems that wherever Charest goes these days, striking students are not far away.

Charest told reporters after the fundraiser that the government has been open since early April to meeting with student leaders.

jas

epaulo13 wrote:

..i remember crossing the burrard bridge with 100,000 others on a peace march. this is so very awesome though.

 

That's exactly my memory, too. The Burrard St. bridge. Was it 100,000 really?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

jas wrote:

That's exactly my memory, too. The Burrard St. bridge. Was it 100,000 really?

..i had just transfered from wpg and i was so proud to have been a part of this march. the marches before and following this one were considerably less so your memory may not be at fault with 10,000.

jas

No, I believe I was part of the big one. 1982, I think. I use it as an example of what peace marches could achieve in attendance. There was something about the year that made it particularly critical for people. I don't think there were many others that followed of significant size. In fact, I think it was noted at the time that attendance never achieved that apex again. But I could be wrong.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..sorry for the drift

April 24 The second annual Peace March in Vancouver. The first, in April 1981, attracted fewer than 10,000 participants. This one drew 35,000. (And in 1983 more than 100,000 would participate.)

http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/chronology1982.htm

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

From a Le Devoir album on Facebook:

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Another from Le Devoir. Au parc Jeanne-Mance, la foule a formé une impressionante main humaine. Photo de Jacques Nadeau.

 

 

 

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair joined the march, remarking on the environmental "debt" the modern world has accumulated in the last generation.

excerpt:

"We are creating the most important ecological, economic and social debt in history that future generations will have to bear," Mulcair said in French, as he signed a symbolic petition supporting the Kyoto Protocol.

"We're asking future generations to clean the air, soil and water around tar sands, while we profit."

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois stressed the growing importance of public transit in urban settings.

"We believe that we can further reduce our impact on greenhouse gas emissions by favoring electric transit, and transportation that uses renewable resources," she said.

 

My MP (Genest - Jourdain) was there and has been emailing back images of the demo.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

epaulo13 wrote:

jas wrote:

WTF? How does that happen?

I can remember a peace march in Vancouver from the early '80s, at the height of the push for nuclear disarmament, that was in the 10,000s, I believe -- someone correct me if I'm wrong -- but this is incomprehensible. How?

..i remember crossing the burrard bridge with 100,000 others on a peace march. this is so very awesome though.

I remember those large peace marches as well. it made me proud to be Canadian.  I also remember the over 50,000 that rallied in Victoria on February 23, 2003 to protest the Campbell governments attacks on working people. Considering the population of Victoria is a tenth of Montreal's and out of town protestors mostly had to take a long ferry trip to get on the Island I think it was at least as impressive

I hope that in Quebec there is some movement that will develop from it. In BC the BC Fed who lead the big rallies have for more than a decade put their organizing strength into electing the NDP.  The energy from those big marches in 2003 was allowed to dissipate in the hopes of parliamentary victory.  The BC Liberals in the meantime have won two elections since those attacks and the initial mass marches of protest.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Were there similar marches across the country Sunday?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I guess the next big demo is this one: Activist Communiqué: Occupy May Day -- Toronto  Maybe similar demos in Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver?

Unionist

There have been May Day demos in Montréal every year for decades, Boom Boom, organized by the unions. It would be nice if May Day - International Workers' Day - were recognized in the rest of Canada as well, instead of that U.S. invented Labour Day, which was created because the capitalists found May 1 too scary. There were moves elsewhere (e.g. Manitoba in the 1970s, at a minimum) to have labour May Day demos, but I don't know if that ever took off or was repeated elsewhere. Great to see the Occupy folks calling for this.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Actually the biggest demo in Vancouver was on April 20th.  So much for the new NDP King's understanding of the political culture of other parts of the country. Oh yeah I forgot there is only a duality in Canada not any regional differences.

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVYpjhmlJpU

http://www.timescolonist.com/Thousands+protest+Vancouver+against+Kinder+...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

There have been May Day demos in Montréal every year for decades, Boom Boom, organized by the unions. It would be nice if May Day - International Workers' Day - were recognized in the rest of Canada as well, instead of that U.S. invented Labour Day, which was created because the capitalists found May 1 too scary. There were moves elsewhere (e.g. Manitoba in the 1970s, at a minimum) to have labour May Day demos, but I don't know if that ever took off or was repeated elsewhere. Great to see the Occupy folks calling for this.

BC activists in the trade union movement also celebrate the "real" labour day.  There is no move to abandon the September Labour Day but there is a movement to remember and enhance the internationally recognized labour day.

Quote:

Mayday 2012

May 1st is International Workers Day, so what better opportunity for the labour council to take to the streets? The Vancouver & District Labour Council, The BC Federation of Labour and Occupy Vancouver will be organizing an event on Tuesday May 1, 2012. We all hope to bring together trade unionists, local activists, and community members with the theme being "Power to the 99% - Uniting Local and International Struggles!"

Don't support the 1% this May 1st - instead join in solidarity to celebrate the international day of the worker.

Gather at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 3:00 pm

This is a peaceful and family-friendly event. For more information please contact Rachel at the VDLC @604.254.0703 or office@vdlc.ca

 

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Soothsayers had a better record of prediction than economists

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks for the reminders - my memory ain't what it used to be! (if it ever was...)

Unionist

Great stuff krop - thanks for the info about BC! I should have known, really.