Montreal, April 20th: from student strike to class war?
A brief insider’s report on the April 20th Plan Nord protest
This was overall a great day of fighting, even though it wasn’t all victorious. From the very first moments, it could be felt that we were set to totally seize the day, and this was showing in black blocs serenely chanting and joking as they were dressing/gearing up. The Native spirit of the Earth was in us; harmonious, even in our drive towards disorder.
All thanks to the incompetence of Montreal’s fascist police force (only efficient at ganging up on individual street people) and the careless, mindless nihilo-capitalism of the political establishment, this April 20th’s protest against the corporate Plan Nord, a huge development plan aiming at robbing and raping roughly 70% of the Great North’s wilderness -through mining and hydroelectric development, mainly- has turned into the havoc that tons of student strikers and radicals alike were waiting for, deep inside.
(As a side note, the protest was also doubled with an attempt at an action against a speech by the white supremacist Minister of Immigration Jason Kinney at the Marriott Hotel, in his defense of the new Bill C-31, aimed at further restricting the possibility for refugees, especially Roma, at gaining a political refugee status. As thousands of Roma are currently being targeted by racist pogroms and labor camps under Hungary’s neonazi regime, this is a direct equivalent to the restrictive immigration policies of most Western democracies during World War 2, which facilitated the Holocaust.)
Sabotaging and street-fighting among what it’s been a high-place of urban gentrification and pacification, the protesters of many different allegiances stormed the streets together and turned the opening of the Plan Nord conference at the Palais des Congrès into a microcosm of the ongoing class war, up against capitalism’s biggest, most violent push towards a new wave of colonization of Turtle Island’s land. This indicated how widespread and strong the awareness and opposition to corporate industrial development has grown
Shit finally hits the fan
Outside, battles have taken place between Police forces and rioters, successively going back and forth, where protesters made and extensive use of the (in)famous black bloc tactic of the « disperse and regroup later », thus creating a tense fight and machine of mass destruction of order for the whole afternoon. It started with the total destruction of one of the main entrances of the Palais, by massive paint-bombing and throwing of rocks, where the police took cover for a while, same place where they’d first started the fight by shooting a protester right in the face with a CS canister gun.
In the meantime, some protesters were able to slip inside the gigantic, futuristic, bleached out, building of the Palais to get near the place where the conference was happening, but were pushed back at the last minute by riot cops. The battle inside and outside has succeeded to delay PM Jean Charest’s speech for about 45 minutes and he was forced to skip the promo photo shots at the beginning.
Then as the fights spread, fronts of many offices and businesses for the rich elite in the area were rampaged, including the World Trade Center building, with its facade being successively spray-painted (a red « A » was sprayed right on the « W » logo at the main entrance, with « Plan Mort » next to it) and then windows-smashed. Gloating aside, there were several arrests (authorities report only a dozen, while student/activist orgs are reporting a few dozens), a few protesters got shot with tear gas cannons and beaten by goons, but a few cops were also injured in the scuffles, that turned at some point into a storm of thrown rocks, pieces of pavement and whatever was found relevant to be thrown at the violent, yet scared police.
In the face of the savage fury -first verbal and then more physical- of many protesters, the disorganization of the police troops grew rampant, while generalized fear could be clearly observed among their ranks, especially as different swarms of protesters were smashing order at many places at the same time. They were not just suddenly overwhelmed, but losing their faces as the « scarecrows », especially into people’s minds, just as more and more ordinary pedestrians were massing around and being treated just like the rest of the protesters. About the same kind of people to whom these corporate promoters/profiteers inside were trying to hand out a big, empty, carrot of promises, the increasingly frustrated proletariat was now being imposed the primitive, repressive, mind-warped argument of the stick. But so it seems, there are more and more people not buying into this one.
Strangely, as the street battle was still unfolding between the walls of the financial center of downtown, screams and flash grenades being muffled out by the ordinary traffic noise, non-life was still relatively flowing as usual elsewhere in the area, with only the helicopters from the provincial police preying above like vultures as a faint signal of « something big » happening somewhere, added by the war-like radio reports of total mayhem happening at the Palais des Congrès… stuff that only proles would dream of in their wildest dreams. Perhaps they’re just waiting for a bunch of black blocs to show up and show them the way to liberation from their slavery?
There is another day of protest today against the Salon du Plan Nord, and huge (symbolic?) marches are set to be held, tomorrow, for Earth Day, so more updates may be flowing in soon, here and elsewhere. For live video coverage of the events, like the other student protests, have a look at CUTV Montreal.
For the liberation of the Earth… in the streets!
translated from an insider’s report
Riots and Street Battles in Montreal’s Financial District during the Plan Nord Job Fair (more in-depth report by Sabotagemedia, with more pics and vids)