July 22nd, 2012
An unhealthy trend exists in Ottawa. This is in no way isolated. The July 22nd Munch and March Mobilization was staged to contest the commodification of education. Ontario has the highest tuition in Canada. Organized by Solidarity Against Austerity and Ottawa Students Mobilize! the march called for a radical reversal. Free education. To raise awareness for this cause one hundred activists took to the streets in a winding snake march through the Byward Market.
We decided not to cross into Gatineau to defy the fascist Loi 78. Our numbers had fallen from approximately one hundred to roughly thirty. Our throats were sore from the chants and protest songs. Sweat stung our eyes but we felt heartened. The struggle for accessible education will be long. Yet finally a concerted effort for change has begun.
After the march we sought refuge in the shade of a public park. The police remained. Many more of us left. Possibly a dozen remained. It was then that two of our comrades were arrested. No facade of validity was presented. They were targeted as they were presumed to be leaders of the march. No physical resistance was made against these attacks. The justification used for the arrests was in direct conflict with our charter right to peacefully assemble. Our comrades had committed no crimes but were targeted and charged with mischief. They have since been released with conditions.
The charges will be contested. They will likely be dropped. These intimidation tactics are nothing new. Each time we confront them we are reminded of the injustice everywhere in our society. We will be in the streets again soon.