In front of Justin Trudeau’s office on Cremazie Street this past Saturday, protesters blocked the busy intersection to protest for equal rights for all essential workers without permanent immigration status—Andres Fontecilla attends
Protests are a way for people to get a message across. Since the dawn of civilization, these showings of an opinion have been a way to garner something or at least send a valuable message across. This year, apart from being the year of a terrible pandemic, it seemed like protests were also quite prevalent as they were certainly called for according to many, and all over North America.
This of course was the case also here in Montréal. In recent weeks, protests have become commonplace, and yet again this past Saturday morning yet another took place, but this time, the cause to protest was very different than what we’ve seen and a show of support was shown by one and all making for quite a peaceful protest.
It is obvious by now that the peaceful sort of protest is the way to go, as it’s the only way to get the message across; the only way to have everyone on your side, which seemed to be the case on Saturday; perhaps the one time when becoming a monster to defeat the monster at hand doesn’t at all work.
The perfect place for a protest
It took place in front of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Montréal office at 1100 Cremazie East, protesters setting up camp under the elevated metropolitan highway that runs through the area.
For this many showed up with signs, ready to demonstrate for a cause. Even police were there, a presence all their own, but contrary to what happened in other areas around North America, the Police here and their presence was not one of omnipotence but rather one of support and understanding. When the protesters flooded the streets, they directed traffic away and blocked off the intersection with cones they had at the ready in the trunks of their cruisers. Essentially, they allowed the protest to move forward and organically so … allowing the men and women fighting for their cause their due. It was very refreshing to see. In a way it seemed they were working in tandem almost, driving a very valid point home.
At the end of the day, all these men and women wanted was equality. A familiar message thrown to those in power over the last few decades is it not? Here specifically, the need was for equality for those living without a permanent immigrant status—those that had worked and are still working throughout the trying era of Covid-19. What they want is equal rights and privileges, the same privileges given to the other essential workers in the area who had to work during the pandemic, serving the community.
What the protesters had to say
The protesters themselves were upset, chagrined and seemingly at the end of their patience, but yet they were able to stay calm for the cause. As I stated, they flooded the streets, demonstrating, some even throwing themselves across the ground as though victimized, but peace remained throughout. Their feelings came across, which is essentially the point.
Shouts of “It cannot stay like this!” were proclaimed in French from those who spoke on the mic and the gathered crowd.
Pastor Joseph Jr. Clormeus, who spoke at the mic said in his speech: “Coronavirus wasn’t just a health problem, it was an economic problem.” He also stated: “Human life treated like statistics.” Of course her he was speaking of his people and garnering for them an equal status for one and all, especially considering that many of them were workers on the front line an had been all throughout the pandemic, they felt they were not given equal status to others.
A show of support from a leader in the community
National assembly representative, Andres Fontecilla was present to show support and he told me in an interview that the government dropped the ball in this regard. He feels they could have done a lot more to make life easier on these people. He said he was very disappointed in the government and something needed to change. He supported their cause wholeheartedly.
Many people passing in cars honked their horns in support and those watching from the sidelines snapped pictures and marveled at how well these men and women got their point across in a peaceful manner.