Peaceful protests more likely to yield results in Quebec demonstrations
Recently in modern culture, it seems that it is only a matter of time before a peaceful protest turns violent. Whether this violence is initiated by police or protestors, the end result is a hectic event in which the foundational message of the original protest becomes mutated beyond recognition.
As the two sides finally head for negotiation in the Quebec student protests, the movement has been marred by violence. A protest that began with honorable intentions to shed light on rising tuition costs seems to have been hijacked by professional protestors and anarchist groups who have no real cause other than to use this platform as a means to voice their personal vendettas with the government.
With this increase in violence and vandalism there was intense pressure on the Quebec government to quickly remedy the situation. Their passing of the controversial Bill 78 only sparked more violent reactions, putting both the government and the protestors in the wrong. In fact, a Radio Canada CROP poll released last week concluded that 61 per cent of Quebecers think Bill 78 won’t resolve the crisis and those who were polled, placed the blame equally on both sides.
Since the law was passed on May 18 protestors refused to give the eight hour advance notice of protests to police — a condition of Bill 78 — which resulted in numerous arrests throughout that week. This is where placing blame for protests becomes convoluted.
Bill 78 has some worthwhile aspects like prohibiting anyone from blocking a student’s access to their school, a much needed amendment as those who wish to attend school should be allowed to do so without harassment. Unfortunately, Bill 78 also unlawfully restricts peaceful protesters from letting their voice be heard.
However, as the student leaders and government resumed talks on May 28, and with a more peaceful approach to the protests, a settlement could be in reach. The focus has to be negotiation and peaceful demonstrations to ensure that the message remains.