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(en) Canada, S26 Montreal: Solidarity with Prague ... Looking ahead

From Chuck0 <chuck@tao.ca>
Date Wed, 27 Sep 2000 12:10:31 -0400


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"DE PRAGUE A MONTREAL: ENSEMBLE CONTRE LE CAPITAL!"
[tr : "From Prague to Montreal, together against capital!"]

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE G-20 (MONTREAL, OCTOBER) AND THE SUMMIT OF THE
AMERICAS (QUEBEC CITY, APRIL)

AN ANTI-CAPITALIST CONVERGENCE IN MONTREAL

MONTREAL, September 27, 2000 -- Between 100-150 demonstrators gathered
in
Montreal yesterday afternoon as part of the International Day Against
Capitalism (S26), and in solidarity with the protests against the IMF
and
the World Bank in Prague and worldwide.

The demonstration was led by banners reading "Smash Capitalism before it
smashes you!" and "La rebellion est un droit! A bas le capitalisme!"
[tr.
Rebellion is a right! Down with capitalism!"]. The protest parade wound
its way through Montreal's downtown streets, ending at the Stock
Exchange
Tower in the heart of the financial district. Throughout the parade, the
Montreal police were ever-present, with dozens of vans crammed with riot
police in full gear following the protest at a distance.

The parade was forced to change its planned route as the streets to a
local McDonald's outlet were completely blocked off by police vans,
motorbikes and riot police who had already mobilized before the demo
even
began. The McDonald's outlet in question, on St-Denis Street in the
Latin
Quarter, was attacked last March 15 as part of a demo during the
International Day Against Police Brutality. At that infamous protest, a
police station, two banks and two other McDonald's were "vandalized"
with
graffiti and smashed windows, and over one hundred people were arrested
for alleged participation in a riot. Their cases are still before the
courts.

The S26 parade yesterday was able to regroup and continue on to other
planned sites, including the Hydro Quebec building, as well as the heart
of the banking district and the World Commerce Center near the Stock
Exchange. Near the Stock Exchange Tower, after a few speeches, the
protest
dispersed into a nearby metro station as it became clear that the riot
squad was ready to deploy. There were no reported arrests.

S26 in Montreal follows up on the last International Day Against
Capitalism on May 1st (M1). On that day, a group of about 200 anarchists
crammed four buses and headed up the mountain to Westmount, a famously
rich neighborhood in Montreal. The slogan of the action was "deranger
les
riches dans leurs niches" [tr: "bother the rich in their niche"]. That
demo became a cat-and-mouse game with the riot squad, and eventually
over
150 people were arrested. Their cases are still pending, and due to go
to
trial later this fall.

Yesterday's modest mobilization was also in many ways a building action
for the upcoming Group of 20 meeting (G-20) in Montreal this October.
The
G-20 is comprised of the finance ministers and bank governors of the G-8
nations, as well as 12 other so-called "emerging markets" including
China,
Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as the European
Union.
Crucially, the G-20 also includes as full members the heads of the World
Bank and IMF (who were facing massive protests today in Prague). The
G-20
is chaired by Canada's minister of finance, and meets at a local luxury
hotel downtown.

In response, a "G-20 Welcoming Committee" has formed, comprised of many
of
the people who organized today's S26 action. There will be a "Welcoming
Party" on October 23rd at 4pm outside the Sheraton Center Hotel in
downtown Montreal. Other activities include a grassroots teach-in. The
G-20 in Montreal provides local anti-capitalist, anti-globalization
activists with a tangible example of international finance, as well as
another occasion to confront the IMF and World Bank in solidarity with
the
mobilizations this year in Prague and Washington (which was attended by
over 100 Montrealers).

In turn, the G-20 mobilization is something of an appetizer as the
attention of local activists in Montreal, and all over Quebec, begins to
focus on the upcoming Summit of the Americas meeting in Quebec City next
April. The Summit brings together all the heads of state of the
hemisphere
(except Cuba) with the express goal of negotiating the Free Trade Area
of
the Americas (FTAA). The FTAA extends the NAFTA (North American Free
Trade
Agreement) geographically to the entire hemisphere, as well as extending
the reach of free market fundamentalism to sectors such as health care
and
education. The Summit meeting will be largest police and security
operation in Canadian history.

In response to the Summit meeting, and with the goal of strengthening
local resistance movements and awareness-raising efforts, an
Anti-Capitalist Convergence (La Convergence des luttes
anti-capitalistes,
or CLAC) has formed. The CLAC comes together with a clear opposition to
capitalism, patriarchy and imperialism, a respect for a diversity of
tactics, and the promotion of anti-hierarchical, autonomous forms of
organizing, genuine democracy, mutual aid and international solidarity.
It
has been meeting in public, decisional General Assemblies since last
April, and is made up of a network of hundreds of local activists and
organizers.

CLAC convened another General Assembly yesterday evening which was
attended by close to 100 people interested in getting involved in
anti-FTAA organizing. The CLAC Assembly was briefly addressed by two
members of the General Strike Committee from the National Autonomous
University in Mexico (UNAM), as well as an activist from Colombia. A
CLAC
organizer is also currently in Prague, where she is participating in the
local demonstrations, as well as the People's Global Action (PGA)
network
meetings.

It's quickly getting cold here in Montreal, but local activism is just
beginning to heat up.

=======================================
reported by Jaggi Singh <jaggi@tao.ca>
for act-mtl, a-infos and indymedia.org

for more information about the G-20 Welcoming Committee, contact
<stopftaa-mtl@tao.ca>

for more information about the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, contact
<clac@tao.ca>

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