Here are Montrealers engaged in charivari, a form of protest involving beating pots and pans in the streets. They're out protesting the new law 78, which prohibits public gatherings without police approval, and gives the police the power to arbitrarily declare approved protests to be illegal ones midstream. The law was passed amid a long, bitter student strike over tuition hikes, but it hasn't damped down the protest -- rather, it has so outraged many Quebeckers, who have joined in the nightly casserole protests. This form of protest was widely used in Chile after Pinochet banned public protest. The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt writes from Montreal:
"I'm very surprised at what's happened," said Kevin Audet-Vallee, a 24-year-old history student who had attended tuition fees protests before bill 78 was introduced.
"Now that the ordinary citizens are in the streets I think the government is really in trouble, because the middle class is in the streets. At first [critics of student protesters] were saying we were radicals. These are not radicals."
Indeed, at the pot banging near the Jarry subway on Friday night the age range of the crowd was strikingly diverse. Sensibly dressed fortysomethings wearing hiking boots and kagools intermingled with long-haired students wearing only shorts. Men and women pushing young children in prams were flanked by hipsters on fixed-gear bikes.
The range of protesters was matched by the diversity of utensils they chose to create noise. Some had reached past the saucepan and wooden spoon, with the Guardian spying such unlikely pairings as a colander and a drumstick, a pan lid and a pair of chopsticks, and a barbecue lid and a pair of tongs all being put to alternative use.
As the protesters marched for more than four hours through various Montreal neighbourhoods, many people had taken to their balconies in support, bringing their own kitchenware and adding to the din.