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As Protests Erupt, Some Countries Backtrack on COVID Mandates While Others Double Down

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | January 14, 2022

As protests grow in EU countries and worldwide against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and so-called “vaccine passports,” some countries appear to be backtracking or at least harboring second thoughts about enforcing such measures.

Some policymakers point to evidence COVID is here to stay and we need to live with it, since Omicron is similar to the common cold or seasonal flu. Others appear more willing to accept natural immunity in lieu of vaccination.

Still, other governments are digging in their heels and moving forward with punitive restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Here’s a look at the latest shifting policies outside the U.S.

Austria, citing ‘technical complications,’ won’t enforce mandates until at least April

Austria garnered much attention in November 2021 when it became the first country in the world to impose an all-encompassing vaccine mandate for its entire adult population and minors 14 years old and up.

This mandate, set to take effect in February, would be accompanied by fines of up to 3,600 euros per quarter. To that end, Austria recently reportedly began hiring “headhunters” to track down those who continue to remain unvaccinated.

The mandate has resulted in frequent large-scale protests against the mandate, as well as a political movement opposing this policy.

An open letter recently sent to Austria’s Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, signed by 600 police officers, also expressed opposition to mandatory vaccination.

This opposition may be having an impact. Recently, the firm responsible for the technical implementation of the mandate announced that due to “technical complications,” the mandatory vaccination law cannot be enforced until at least April.

This news came amidst calls in Austria that the mandate should be reevaluated in light of the spread of the Omicron variant.

Germany struggling with mandate implementation; support not unanimous

Similar concerns over the feasibility of rapid implementation of a vaccine mandate have been raised in Germany, which has also mulled the implementation of compulsory vaccinations and has already approved such a mandate for healthcare workers.

In December 2021, Germany’s Ethics Council also gave its stamp of approval for vaccine mandates.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised in Germany that parliamentary debate and subsequent technical implementation of a vaccination database cannot be completed before June at the earliest, calling into question the feasibility of the mandate in light of rapidly changing conditions.

Such hesitation comes despite renewed calls from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for an immediate full parliamentary debate on a potential vaccine mandate, and from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for COVID vaccines to be mandated.

Similarly, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently suggested vaccine mandates, not natural herd immunity stemming from the rapid spread of the Omicron variant — which he described as “dirty vaccination” — represent the only way “out” of the crisis.

In November 2021, Lauterbach’s predecessor, Jens Spahn, publicly predicted that by the end of the coming winter, everyone would be “vaccinated, recovered, or dead” — due to the Delta variant.

Soon thereafter, in December 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden made a similar warning, predicting a winter of “severe illness and death” for the non-vaccinated.

Despite these public proclamations from German politicians though, recent reports suggest support for a vaccine mandate in Germany’s three-party governing coalition is far from unanimous.

Nevertheless, some localities in Germany are moving ahead with their own innovative means of confirming individuals’ vaccination status.

The city of Saarbrücken will soon launch a system where individuals who received a COVID vaccine or who have recovered from infection can voluntarily wear a colored wristband to indicate their status.

Greece pushes ahead with age 60+ mandate policy, threatens fines for unvaxxed

Greece was one of the first countries in Europe to implement a vaccine mandate for a portion of its general population when, in December 2021, it imposed such a policy for everyone age 60 and over.

The policy is set to take effect Jan. 16, with fines of 100 euros per month levied against anyone who doesn’t comply.

Despite this policy, which has received broad and highly sensational media attention in Greece, and despite the burden the policy would place on pensioners in a country where the average pension is just over 700 euros per month, a significant number of individuals 60 and older appear to have opted to remain unvaccinated.

In late December 2021, it was reported that 400,000 people in this age group had not received the COVID vaccine.

In a televised appearance on Jan. 11, Greek government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou stated that 200,000 people aged 60 and over had gotten vaccinated as a result of this mandate, touting this as a “big success.”

However, this would suggest approximately half of the relevant population in question had chosen to remain unvaccinated, despite the looming threat of a financial penalty.

It is perhaps, for this reason, the Greek government reportedly “froze” any further discussion of expanding the mandatory vaccination policy to those aged 50 and over, while it has been suggested the measure is unconstitutional and may eventually be struck down judicially.

However, despite rumors that the enforcement of fines against individuals 60 and older who have not been vaccinated would be postponed, Greece’s far-right Interior Minister Makis Voridis announced the policy would be enforced as originally planned.

Nevertheless, the Greek government will now extend existing measures, which include a midnight curfew and ban on music for dining and entertainment venues, and a 1,000-spectator capacity limit at sporting events, for at least an additional week past the original sunset date of Jan. 16.

In Balkans, protests lead to standstill on mandates

Major protests against the so-called “Green Pass,” or vaccine passport, took place recently in both Bulgaria and Romania.

In Bulgaria, protesters on Jan. 12  stormed the parliament building in opposition to the “Green Pass” and other restrictions. Attempts to enter parliament resulted in clashes with police and multiple arrests.

Similar events transpired recently in Romania, where on Dec. 21, 2021, protesters attempted to enter Romania’s parliament as part of a protest against proposed legislation making the “Green Pass” mandatory for workers.

Disagreements that have since followed between the parties which comprise Romania’s governing coalition have resulted in talks on this proposed policy coming to a standstill.

Notably, Bulgaria and Romania have the lowest and second-lowest COVID vaccination rate in the EU as of this writing.

Herd immunity as official policy?

As attempted moves toward wide-ranging vaccine mandates and broader implementation of vaccine passports appear to be floundering in Europe, such hesitation has increasingly been accompanied by ever more vocal suggestions that a form of herd immunity, via natural infection stemming from the rapid spread of the milder Omicron variant, should be considered at the policymaking level.

In Israel, for instance, a country that was among the first to move forward with a mass vaccination and booster campaign against COVID, health officials are mulling a “mass infection model.”

On Jan. 11, EU regulators, who had previously supported the administration of COVID booster shots every three months, had a sudden about-face, warning about the dangers the continued administration of boosters could pose for the human immune system.

That same day, the World Health Organization issued a remarkably similar warning, stating that “a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.”

Just one day prior, on Jan. 10, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez suggested European officials should move towards treating COVID as an endemic illness, calling for a debate on the issue and for a move away from the detailed pandemic case tracking system in place since early 2020.

Dr. Clive Dix, former chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force, Nick Moakes, chief investment officer of the Wellcome Trust (Britain’s largest independent funder of medical research) made similar remarks. Moakes suggested coronavirus be treated like the common cold.

Meanwhile, certain European countries appear to be shifting away from considering a mandatory vaccination policy for their populations. Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said his country will maintain a system of voluntary vaccination, while Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his intention to give people a “free choice” on the matter.

This shift is occurring despite remarks made on Dec. 1, 2021, by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, who said it is time to “potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union” and to have a “discussion” about this possibility.

Punitive measures continue elsewhere

The gradual shift away from vaccine mandate policies in Europe and elsewhere is far from uniform, with punitive restrictions and policies continuing to be implemented in several countries.

In Italy, for instance, mandatory vaccination was expanded on Jan. 5 to everyone age 50 and older. The unvaxxed will face a potential fine ranging from 600 to 1,500 euros.

French President Emmanuel Macron made waves in an interview with the Le Parisien newspaper on Jan. 4, justifying the implementation of his country’s “Green Pass” by stating “I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this — to the end” and that “irresponsible people [the unvaccinated] are no longer citizens.”

Despite uproar and protests that his comments generated, Macron later doubled down on these remarks.

On Jan. 11, the premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Francois Legault, stated adults who refuse the COVID vaccine will face a “significant” financial penalty.

This statement came on the heels of remarks made on Jan. 7 by Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. When asked whether mandatory vaccination was on the horizon in Canada, Duclos stated, “I personally think we will get there at some point.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously stated, in May 2021, that “[w]e’re not a country that makes vaccination mandatory.”

Other countries have resorted to more extreme, albeit “temporary,” measures.

Non-vaccinated individuals in one Australian state, the Northern Territory, were recently required to stay home for a four-day period, with limited exceptions. The conclusion of this four-day ban coincided with the launch of vaccine passports in the territory.

And in the Philippines, the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, called for the arrest of non-vaccinated citizens who venture outside their homes, in light of what he described as the “galloping” spread of the coronavirus.

This nevertheless may represent a milder stance on the part of Duterte, who in April 2020, empowered the police and military with shoot-to-kill orders against lockdown violators.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

© 2022 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

January 15, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lockdown-skeptic Rebel News vows to sue Montreal police after reporters detained at ‘illegal gathering’

RT | April 10, 2021 

Reporters for the right-leaning news outlet Rebel News have posted videos showing employees being detained by police at an Airbnb location where they were working covering Covid-19 lockdown measures.

In one video posted to Twitter on Saturday, Rebel News reporter David Menzies can be seen having a tense exchange with police officers, which eventually leads to him being hauled away and detained.

Another reporter for the outlet, Keene Bexte, tweeted that he had also been arrested.

Rebel News co-founder Ezra Levant promised he would be suing the officers for their conduct and in another video can be seen taking down one officer’s name.

According to a statement from the Canadian outlet, police arrived at an Airbnb where Rebel News journalists were staying to cover anti-lockdown protests and Covid-19-related arrests and forced everyone out and conducted a “room to room” search.

“When we asked them what the ‘crime’ was, all they could come up with was that our staying in the hotel was an illegal ‘gathering,’ contrary to Quebec’s lockdown laws,” they said.

The outlet added that they were staying in a “registered, legal hotel rental on Airbnb” and fewer guests than the place was built for.

Levant claims the outlet’s unflattering reporting on Montreal police and their enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions is what prompted the visit and search of the houseboat being utilized by the reporters.

“This is their revenge,” he said. “Because we report on their misconduct.”

Levant is already fundraising to support his lawsuit against police, alleging the search and arrests were unjustified and claiming officers have repeatedly harassed Rebel News reporters in recent weeks and made bigoted remarks.

The reaction to the arrests has been mixed at best. While many have expressed shock at the police behavior and allegations from Rebel News on social media, others have simply used the opportunity to blast the highly-controversial outlet, which is often dismissed in mainstream media as a “far-right” enterprise pushing misinformation.

Montreal on Saturday saw a mass protest against the strict Covid-19 measures recently imposed by the authorities in Quebec. An 8pm curfew has been reintroduced in the city, while all the non-essential businesses and schools have been told to shut down until at least April 19. According to the independent news outlet Westphalian Times, the organizers of the protest march sought to highlight the “negative impacts restrictions in schools have on the well-being & development of children.”

Updates:

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian Troops in Saudi Arabia a Legacy of Support for Iraq War

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | September 9, 2020

The revelation that Canadian soldiers have been in Saudi Arabia for 17 years highlights Canada’s ties to the repressive monarchy, contribution to the Iraq war and hollowness of Canadian foreign policy mythology.

Recently researcher Anthony Fenton tweeted, “raise your hand if you knew that there was a ‘Detachment’ of Canadian soldiers serving under US auspices operating AWACS spy planes out of a Saudi Arabian air base since the war on Iraq began in 2003 to THE PRESENT DAY.”

The Canadian soldiers stationed at Prince Sultan Air base near Riyadh represent another example of Canada’s military ties to the authoritarian, belligerent monarchy. Canadian naval vessels are engaged in multinational patrols with their Saudi counterparts in the region; Saudi Air Force pilots have trained in Alberta and Saskatchewan; Montreal-based flight simulator company CAE has trained Saudi pilots in numerous locales; Canadian-made rifles and armoured vehicles have been shipped to the monarchy, etc.

According to DND, Canada’s deployment to Saudi Arabia began on February 27, 2003. That’s four weeks before the massive US-led invasion of Iraq. The Canadians stationed in Riyadh were almost certainly dispatched to support the US invasion and occupation.

In another example of Canadian complicity in a war Ottawa ostensibly opposed, it was recently reported that Canadian intelligence agencies hid their disagreement with politicized US intelligence reports on Iraq. According to “Getting it Right: Canadian Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, 2002-2003”, Canada’s intelligence agencies mostly concluded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, which was the justification Washington gave for invading Iraq. While CSIS delivered a report to their US counterparts claiming Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons capabilities, more serious analyses, reported the Canadian Press, were “classified ‘Canadian Eyes Only’ in order to avoid uncomfortable disagreements with the U.S. intelligence community which would exacerbate the sensitivities affecting relations at the political level.”

As Richard Sanders has detailed, Canada supported the US-led invasion of Iraq in many ways: Dozens of Canadian troops were integrated in US units fighting in Iraq; US warplanes en route to that country refueled in Newfoundland; Canadian fighter pilots participated in “training” missions in Iraq; Three different Canadian generals oversaw tens of thousands of international troops there; Canadian aid flowed to the country in support of US policy; With Canadian naval vessels leading maritime interdiction efforts off the coast of Iraq, Ottawa had legal opinion suggesting it was technically at war with that country.

As such, some have concluded Canada was the fifth or sixth biggest contributor to the US-led war. But the Jean Chrétien government didn’t do what the Bush administration wanted above all else, which was to publicly endorse the invasion by joining the “coalition of the willing”. This wasn’t because he distrusted pre-war US intelligence or because of any moral principle. Rather, the Liberal government refused to join the “coalition of the willing” because hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets against the war, particularly in Quebec. With the biggest demonstrations taking place in Montréal and Quebecers strongly opposed to the war, the federal government feared that openly endorsing the invasion would boost the sovereignist Parti Québecois vote in the next provincial election.

Over the past 17 years this important, if partial, victory won by antiwar activists has been widely distorted and mythologized. The recent National Film Board documentary High Wire continues the pattern. It purportedly “examines the reasons that Canada declined to take part in the 2003 US-led military mission in Iraq.” But, High Wire all but ignores Canada’s military contribution to the war and the central role popular protest played in the “coalition of the willing” decision, focusing instead on an enlightened leader who simply chose to do the right thing.

The revelation that Canadian troops have been stationed in Saudi Arabia for 17 years highlights our military ties to the Saudi monarchy and warfare in the Middle East. It also contradicts benevolent Canada foreign policy mythology.


Yves Engler is the author of 10 books, including A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review | , , , | Leave a comment

Quebec elites out of touch with rest of province on Israel

By Caroline Biotteau | rabble.ca | February 20, 2017

The most recent poll regarding Canadian’s attitudes towards Israel has just been released and the results are telling. Quite strikingly, far more Canadians have a negative view of the government of Israel than a positive one. Even more remarkable, Quebec respondents have a far harsher view of the government of Israel than their fellow Canadians.

Some have argued that Quebecers have always been more critical of the Israeli government, and more sympathetic to the Palestinians. This assumption was up in the air, however, when a survey by Crop-La Presse issued in 2014 during the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas found that the majority (64 per cent) of Quebecers chose not to pick sides in the messy flare up.

With this most recent poll sponsored by my organization, it is clear that regardless of what happened in 2014, Quebecers remain wary of the Israeli government. Of those who expressed an opinion, 57 per cent of Quebecers had a negative opinion of the Israeli government, as compared to 46 per cent overall in Canada. Only 16 per cent of Quebecers had a positive opinion, as compared to 28 per cent overall in Canada.

While this doesn’t tell us whether Quebecers are pro-Palestinian, it does show that they are far more negative than other provinces when it comes to the Israeli government.

With survey results like these, one would expect Quebec politicians to be guarded with respect to relations with the Israeli government. This could not be more wrong. With Montreal mayor Denis Coderre’s recent economic mission, Premier Philippe Couillard’s upcoming one and a recent statement on Israel by CPC leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, it is easy to feel as if our political elite are detached from the population’s concerns over Israel’s human rights abuses.

Rather than asking Israeli leaders tough questions about violations of international law, Quebec leaders only seem to idolize Israel for being such an innovative and business-friendly country. This is especially the case for the particularly effusive Coderre, who came back full of praise for Israel following his economic mission to Israel and (symbolically) the West-Bank.

While having a negative perception of the Israeli government does not mean that Quebecers want their leaders to be anti-Israel, they still might prefer a more balanced approach.

Nobody can deny the fact that Israel has managed to achieve an impressive economic success and that their innovation sector is quite enviable. However, considering the fact that this country is repeatedly cited for violations of international law, and that Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government continues the illegal colonization of Palestinian territory, many Quebecers may believe that our politicians should not engage in a “business as usual” economic approach with Israel.

In China, Philippe Couillard experienced firsthand the difficulty of pursuing economic relations while being under pressure to denounce human rights violations. It is especially hard for premiers since because of the Constitution, Canadian provinces cannot lead their own international policies and diplomacy.

However, Quebec has found a way to circumvent this by engaging in various economic and cultural missions and investing in permanent delegations throughout the world. This broader role undertaken by Quebec political elites is not exempt from responsibilities — and leaders like Couillard and Coderre need to find a way to achieve both: pursue economic motivations while making sure violators of international law are held accountable.

In the current international political climate, such proposals may seem like wishful thinking: economic incentives are almost always prioritized to the detriment of human rights issues. However, Western leaders are becoming more and more vocal about their disapproval of Israel’s increasing settlements expansion, and ongoing disregard for Palestinian human rights.

It’s time that Quebec leaders find a way to do the same, and these new poll results should give them all the incentive they need.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trudeau Under Fire for ‘One Nation’ Statement in Quebec

Sputnik – 04.07.2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was called on to retract his statement made on Canada Day calling the country “one nation”, as it insults Québécois.

Parti Québecois leader candidate Martine Ouellet said in a video posted her Facebook page Saturday that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent statement calling Canada “one nation” is “reinventing history”.

“It’s a direct insult to the Quebec nation, an insult to everything our heritage represents,” Ouellet wrote on Facebook.

On Canada Day, July 1st, Justin Trudeau said “today, we celebrate the day, exactly 149 years ago, when the people of this great land came together, and forged one nation, one country — Canada.”

Ouellet called for Trudeau to retract his statement and recognize Quebec as a nation.

Quebec, the largest and second most populated province of Canada, has a long record of struggle for independence that can be traced at least to 1960, when several diverse political groups coalesced in the formation of the Parti Québécois, which is now a primary mainstream political vehicle for the Quebec sovereignty movement.

Quebec’s current status allows it a high degree of autonomy, including its own property legislation, civil legislation, justice, healthcare and education regulation.

Justin Trudeau is known for his anti-separatism position. In 2006, then prime minister Stephen Harper introduced a motion calling on the House of Commons to recognize that “Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.” Trudeau, who was not an MP at the time of events, backed Gerard Michael Kennedy, a Liberal Party leader candidate who opposed the motion.

Trudeau had reportedly claimed that his father, the late prime minister, would never have supported recognition of Quebec as a nation.

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

New Quebec premier scraps tuition hike plan

Press TV – September 21, 2012

Newly-elected Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has reversed a planned tuition hike that touched off months of violent protests in Canada’s French-speaking province.

Marois, who started her job on Thursday, delivered on her electoral pledge to reinstate the USD 2,220 tuition.

“The new government is now in place,” she told reporters after the first cabinet meeting. “I intend to act rapidly to offer results to Quebecers, starting today, Day One of our mandate.”

The former premier, Jean Charest, had planned to increase tuition fees in a bid to make up for the country’s budget deficit.

Marois said she will also cancel the Liberals’ controversial anti-protest law, known as Bill 78. The draconian law, whose main objective was to restrict freedom of assembly, criminalizes students’ strike and sets rules for gatherings of more than 50 people, requiring organizers to provide an eight-hour notice of the itinerary and length of the event.

“These two decisions will allow us to return peace to our streets and to reestablish rights and liberties,” Marois was quoted as saying.

The new premier’s move drew applause from student groups.

“It’s a victory for justice and equality,” said Martine Desjardins, president of the FEUQ university student association.

“Together, we have written a chapter in the history of Quebec. Together, we have just proven that we can stand up and reach one of the student movement’s greatest victories,” he added.

Ahead of elections earlier this month, Marois had said that if her party – Parti Quebecois (PQP) – won and was able to form a new Quebec government, she would call for a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada.

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Party Quebecois members take down Canadian flag

Press TV – September 18, 2012

The newly-elected separatist party in Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec takes down the Canadian flag from parliament, vowing independence of the eastern province.

The flag which had been there for the past nine years was removed on Monday as 54 Party Quebecois (PQ) members took office in the ornate old upper chamber, known as the Red Room.

Meanwhile, the new parliament members could not escape the oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the second, which is a prerequisite to take office under Canadian law.

Some PQ members expressed their discontent on Twitter, saying it was a shame to be forced to swear an oath to the Crown.

The separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) leader, Pauline Marois who won provincial elections on September 5, also suggested that the election of a PQ government would pave the way for restoring Quebecers’ pride.

“When a people rediscovers its pride and its confidence nothing, absolutely nothing, becomes impossible for it,” said Marois on Monday.

The Party Quebecois (PQ) lawmakers officially take office on Wednesday, when separatist leader Pauline Marois will introduce her cabinet members.

September 18, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Comments Off on Party Quebecois members take down Canadian flag

Separatists win Quebec elections

RT | September 5, 2012

The separatist Parti Quebecois has won Quebec’s regional elections and will form a new government there, once again raising the possibility of a referendum on independence being held in Canada’s French-speaking province.

Canadian Broadcasting Corp and the Canadian Press reported that Parti Quebecois (PQ) won or were leading in nearly 60 districts, just short of the 63 needed for a majority government.

The party’s leader, Pauline Marois, will replace head of the Liberal party, Jean Charest, as the province’s leader, becoming Quebec’s first female premier.

Crowds of jubilant PQ followers, cheered and waved flags as election results indicated their party was heading back to power after nine years of Liberal Party rule.

Should PQ win a majority it will make it easier for them to call a referendum on independence. Quebec has held two referendums in the past – one in 1980 and another in 1995- with the last narrowly rejecting independence from Canada.

However PQ claim their short-term priority would be picking the economy up off its knees, instead of pushing for a separation vote straight away.

“It’s very important for me to manage our finances responsibly. That is without doubt why our engagements are the least costly of all parties,” Pauline Marois earlier told Canadian media, while outlining a program that sets out new spending at $1 billion over a five year period.

At the same time she stated that she would hold an independence vote “tomorrow morning” if the conditions were right.

The long-ruling Liberal Party’s loss comes after months of student and union protests raging this spring and summer against tuition hikes in the province and the controversial new Bill 78, which restricts mass gatherings in the province.

Tens of thousands of students have made their outrage public by demonstrating and clashing with police, making headlines across the world. Protests began in February, resulting in about 2,500 arrests. Tuesday’s vote is seen by many as an echo of this public discontent.

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on Separatists win Quebec elections

University of Montreal cancels classes for fear of protest

Press TV – August 30, 2012

Administrators at the University of Montreal (UdeM), the most prestigious French-speaking University in North America, have been forced to cancel dozens of classes for the rest of the week for fear of fresh protests.

The university issued a notice in Tuesday evening, saying that it had suspended classes in the departments that have been targeted by striking students since Monday, the CBC reported.

“They were the classes that we saw in the last two days [in which] the students were giving us trouble,” said Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for the university administration.

The classes were supposed to resume this week after the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec against proposed tuition fee hikes.

Over Monday and Tuesday, the police stormed the university and arrested more than 30 protesters. The protest erupted following the passage of a new controversial bill, which outlawed obstructing classes and all non-pre-approved gatherings of more than 50.

Students in Quebec have been protesting university tuition hikes since February 2011. The protests later turned into a larger movement, dubbed the “maple revolution,” which, analysts say, reveals deeper social unrest.

The developments come ahead of next week’s provincial elections, which will decide whether Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.

The latest opinion survey shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, is heading for a victory in the September 4 polls.

The PQ has promised to hold a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada if 850,000 Quebecers sign a related petition.

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on University of Montreal cancels classes for fear of protest

Quebec police arrest 19 protesting students as classes resume

Press TV – August 28, 2012

Canadian police have stormed the University of Quebec making 19 arrests, as angry students prevent the beginning of the new semester.

Police arrested 19 students Monday under the terms of Bill 78, which ordered a suspension of university classes back in May and their reinstatement in August even if the students planed to continue their strike. The bill also restricts the student demonstrations and imposes fines for those who impeded classes, starting at CAD 1,000.

The classes were supposed to resume this week, as the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province against proposed tuition fee hikes.

Some 2,000 students at the departments of anthropology and cinema voted to continue their protest and prevented the start of classes.

The recent protest comes ahead of next week’s provincial election, which will decide whether the province’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.

The latest opinion poll shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) led by Pauline Marois heading for a victory in the election to be held on September 4th. Marois is the protester’s favorite candidate and has been wearing the red square, the symbol of the demonstrators’ cause, on several public occasions.

If the separatist PQ is elected in the upcoming provincial election, it will consider holding a referendum on separation of Quebec from Canada.

Since February, students have been protesting against the hikes and the provincial government’s controversial anti-protest Bill 78. The protests later turned into a larger movement dubbed the “maple revolution,” which reveals deeper social unrest.

August 28, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quebec police arrest 19 protesting students as classes resume

Quebec court upholds law limiting student protests

Press TV – June 28, 2012

Students in the Canadian province of Quebec have pledged to continue protests after a court rejected a petition to scrap parts of a law that was passed to crush student protest over tuition hikes.

The controversial law was passed in May in the wake of clashes between police and students fighting an 82 percent hike in tuition fees in the French speaking province.

Judge Francois Rolland said on Wednesday that the parts in question do “not prevent protests, even if certain limitations are imposed.”

Students and their lawyers rejected the court’s ruling, saying they would consider appealing.

Under Special Law 78, the organizers must inform the police about the timing and locations of marches at least eight hours before they stage a protest. It also allows imposing heavy fines on protesters who fail to do so.

Critics believe the law breaches rights of assembly and free expression. Police have arrested many people since the start of the protests more than four month ago.

University students and student unions have been protesting since mid-February to draw international attention to the government’s announced plans to raise tuition fees and the passing of the controversial law.

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Comments Off on Quebec court upholds law limiting student protests