Thursday, April 07, 2005

disruptive measures

As some people know (cause i´ve told them), some students are on grève (strike) because some funky gray haired dude decided to move some funds to other things instead of scholarships. Big deal, its only 103$ million dollars. Anyways, the strike has been going on for some good 6-7 weeks in some Universities and colleges (cegep´s as they call them here) and lately they have been getting, well, disruptive. Their measures have been to disrupt the economic industry - so basically, every industry - by blocking streets, and things like that. Recently they got (yet another) offer from the government as to solve the problem, and well, the good guys said yes, but that it still has to be put on a vote by the whole student body - as if that were to do anything. Most students are potheads polisci (political science) hippies that just are against everything. Well, enough for an introduction, ill say my thing. Today they decided to "disrupt" the square victoria 800 building, where casually its where my blond works. She called me and told me about the grève in her building, so i just grabbed my camera and ran to it. There they were, blocking the elevators, just like the people I saw 3 years ago marching against bush and his war. All anarchist punk rocker hippie style looking. Some even smoking pot in the elevators (how rude, they didnt even share!). Anyways, so the first hour it was more like a party, dancing with their bongoes and guitar and flute and trumpet, all laughing and yelling things in french, while some high profile lawyers, ceo´s, vp´s and average joes and janes (probably pissed because they couldnt get to their offices) where arguing with the students, who would just start saying that its a free country, there should be free education, free food, free sex, free pot, no work, the government should pay for everything... well maybe I exagerated a little bit. I will try to stay bias here, but both sides should get their fair share. After a while of playing around and sleeping and burning, the police formed a line outside the building, probably 100 officers in their helmets and shields, ready for action. The evacuation process wouldve been simple, if the non-strikers wouldve left the building. But hey, everyone wanted to see some action! Protocol calls for a warning - order - to leave the building. Ha, it was like "We cant hear you! Sing louder!" And with a quick procession of bangin shields the police entered the building by one entrance, forming a line almost across the hall, facing the students. Shouts, spits, even flying plants could be seen in the gap that was left between the antagonic parties. One order, advance. So there they go, banging again the shields, pacing forward telling the students to go, "f@ck la police!" was the reply (I understood that!). Little by little the students were backing up, not without putting a good fight. I think I saw someone trying to hit a police officer, and well, that IS a crime and in that situation they can get arrested, so there he went, escorted to a police car (sorry but i cant feel bad for this guy). The police made their way accross the lobby and like cattle being moved around the students where between the door and the police. Option one, exit, option 2, exit with a broken nose. Tough decision. By then I had already moved outside that exit to get some shots. I heard some shields banging, and saw some students running. Theyre out of the building. On the manouver I saw a bystander (didnt look like a striker) fall because of some weird hole next to the door (now i do feel bad for him as it seemed to me he was just an observer). More things flying, words, sometimes sentences, sometimes orders could be heard. Until the banging started again, jajaja see them run! Police running after them (not touching them of course, but then again no striker stood still) There might have been some tear gas shot (i thought i heard something but didnt look like gas anywhere) and I am almost positive there was some pepper spray sprayed (fun funny). It was time to go home. They are all out of the premises, all out in the streets, so police just made sure they would go out of sight by following them.

I do not say that it was the best way - either to protest or to evacuate - but i do feel the police did a good job. Now its time for those workers to go work extra hours and hope they have not lost (a lot of) money by this "disruption". I can see the non student supporters changing lines here. It is not the first time, and aparently it wont be the last. It felt good to see the action in first row though.

Soon ill have pictures.

javo - out.

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