Occupons Montréal

I certainly enjoyed painting posters on Friday for the protest on Saturday. However, rain threatened to turn my efforts into coloured streams of soggy paper. My friend Fidel and I waited until the rain finished before we headed down to Square Victoria.

At a few blocks from the demonstration, we didn't hear any noise, but as we drew closer, it became apparent that there were many more people than we had anticipated. We started at the people's microphone, a method of communicating messages at the Occupy Wall Street protests. Because you need a permit in New York City to use a bullhorn, demonstrators have circumvented the bylaw by having the speaker address the crowd in short sentences, which are repeated in waves by the crowd. This is a great communication means because it demands that the crowd engage in active listening, while forcing the speaker to focus on the essentials of the message. For the speaker to get everyone's attention s/he simply says "Mic check!" Although we don't have the same bylaw regarding bullhorns in Montreal, the speakers were still waiting for the message to filter out to the edges of the crowd before starting another.

As Fidel and I climbed our way through the crowd, we met a lot of smiling people repeating the speakers messages and enjoying a few sunny breaks. We ran into an acquaintance who encouraged us to visit to the tent city where protesters had set up camp in the south end of Victoria Square, just in front of Quebecor. I was surprised by the organization of the encampment. In addition to campers, there was also a medics tent, a communications tent, a kitchen and plenty of drummers and dancing. We were also onsite when a brave man climbed the statue of Queen Victoria to hang a sign and put an anonymous mask on the dead monarch.

The demonstration finished with a march around the square, up Beaver Hall and west on St. Catherine's Street to the disbelief of motorists who were immobilized by marchers.

Other posts:
Response to the press
Anti-Wall Street March
Unions and Community groups that took part
Anti-WallStreet: News and Resources 



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