REPORT-BACK: STATUS FOR ALL DEMONSTRATION (MONTREAL)
(Updates, Links, Photos, Videos, Articles)
-> Status For All Photo Compilation
May 22, 2013 — Hundreds of festive and determined demonstrators converged onto downtown this past Saturday (May 18) from four different working class areas of Montreal as part of the annual STATUS FOR ALL demonstration.
Contingents started at 1pm from de l’Église and Wellington in Verdun; from Parc Kent in Côte-des-neiges; from Jarry & Lajeunesse in Villeray; and from Place Valois in Hochelaga. The STATUS FOR ALL protest marched in support of the following main demands: an end to deportations, detentions and double punishment; the implementation of a comprehensive and inclusive regularization program for anyone without status in Canada, meaning Status For All, and the building of a Solidarity City in Montreal.
All contingents marched in defiance of Montreal’s anti-protest P-6 by-law, which has been used to detain hundreds of protesters at previous demonstrations. Despite P-6, the Status For All march did not provide any itineraries to the police, and many protesters wore masks as a gesture of solidarity with non-status migrants who cannot publicly attend demonstrations for fear of removal.
Almost two-thousand flyers entitled “Why We Are Marching” were distributed during the day to curious passers-by all over Montreal. The text of the WHY WE ARE MARCHING flyer is linked here:
The flyer briefly highlights the case of Norma Guzman, a Mexican migrant who lived in Canada without status for two years. She has a Canadian-born child, aged 18 months, named Camille. Last Thursday her Montreal apartment was raided by six Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents, including one who entered through the window. Norma and Camille were detained, but have now been released. She faces imminent removal. Her case tangibly highlights why protesters took to the streets.
(To get involved in support around Norma’s struggle to stay in Canada, despite the removal order, please contact solidaritesansfrontieres@
More detailed information about the demonstration demands are also linked here: http://www.
The Status For All organizers also highlighted support for Indigenous struggles for self-determination and sovereignty. As described by Stella Jetté, reading from a statement:
“We believe we cannot speak meaningfully about apartheid globally, and unjust migration policies, without first speaking about the realities of apartheid here in Canada. From its very foundations, Canada has been based on the theft of Indigenous lands, and the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples.”
The entire Statement of Support for Indigenous Struggles and Sovereignty is linked here: http://www.
STATUS FOR ALL and NO ONE IS ILLEGAL demonstrations are an annual tradition in Montreal, for more than a decade. In 2005, protesters marched to Ottawa over one-week. This year marked the first time there were multiple starting points, which organizers borrowed from the spontaneous casserole movement that emerged in the late spring of 2012, in the context of Quebec’s student strike.
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FROM FOUR CORNERS OF MONTREAL TO DOWNTOWN
The EAST contingent (marching through Hochelaga and Centre-Sud) was the first to arrive at the convergence point at Phillips Square. The 100-person contingent began with a speech by Carl Robichaud, a member of the anarchist social space La Déferle. and an active supporter of the Status For All campaign. The contingent was made up of local residents of Hochelaga, a predominantly francophone, working class district of Montreal, and joined by many supporters along the route through Centre-Sud into downtown. The East contingent was accompanied by a marching band from Quebec City called “Tintanar”.
The NORTHWEST contingent began with a picnic at Kent Park in the heart of Côte-des-neiges, a predominantly immigrant neighborhood. Some of the interventions during the picnic included: Romina Hernandez and Noe Arteaga Santos of Dignidad Migrante and Mexicans United for Regularization, who spoke about the demands of the Status For All march; Jasmine de la Calzada of PINAY (Filipina domestic workers) who spoke about temporary foreign worker programs and the struggles of domestic workers in Canada; Tess Tessalona of Women of Diverse Origins who spoke about the struggles of women migrants and expressed a message of support with the march; and Lilliane who spoke of the struggles of Chilean families in Montreal to gain status in the 1990s.
The Northwest contingent, comprised of many members of Mexicans United for Regularization, Dignidad Migrante, the Immigrant Workers Center and Women of Diverse Origins marched through Côte-des-neiges, down Victoria Avenue to Plamondon metro, from which they disembarked together at métro Bonaventure and joined the Southwest contingent at 1010 St-Antoine West, the headquarters of Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency in Montreal.
(Video from Northwest contingent, including march in downtown with Southwest contingent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The SOUTHWEST contingent marched from Verdun to Pointe-St-Charles, St-Henri and Little Burgundy before arriving in downtown Montreal. Through the march they were accompanied by a street band from Brooklyn, New York, as well as Montreal’s Brass Mob.
Some of the speakers during the Southwest contingent included:
– Paola Ortiz, a migrant from Mexico, with two children, who is a resident of Verdun. In September 2011 Paola was deported and separated from her children. However, support continued and in spring 2012, she was finally able to return home and be reunited with her children (more info about Paola’s case is available here: http://www.
– Liévin Mudi wa Mbuji Kabeya, the President of le Centre africain de développement et d’entraide (CADE), an organization in Pointe St. Charles. Liévin is active with the’Union de la diaspora congolaise au Canada (UDCC). Le CADE supports new immigrants in the neighborhood.
– Kader Belaouni, a resident of Point-St-Charles for about ten years who in 2006, was ordered deported but who took the courageous step of refusing the deportation order and taking sanctuary in St. Gabriel’s church where he lived for almost four years before the government finally gave in and granted permanent residence (more info about Kader’s case is available here: http://www.soutienpourkader.
– Leila Brener from Action Gardien, the coalition of community organizations in Point St. Charles which has been at the forefront of numerous community-based solidarity.
– Patricia Viannay or POPIR-Comité Logement, the housing rights organization in the Southwest. POPIR has endorsed the Solidarity City declaration (linked here: http://www.
After marching to 1010 St-Antoine West, the Southwest joined the Northwest contingent to march together to Phillips Square, the convergence point.
(Video of arrival of SOUTHWEST and NORTHWEST contingents at Phillips Square: https://www.facebook.com/
The NORTHEAST contingent gathered at métro Jarry in Villeray, but represented marchers from surrounding neighborhoods, including Ahuntsic, Parc Extension, St-Michel, Rosemont-Petite Patrie and Mile End.
When the demonstration started, police tried to force protesters onto the sidewalk, using their cars to physically push protesters. At first, the police succeeded, but when protest numbers grew, they were unable to prevent demonstrators from taking the streets, which they did successfully, from Villeray into Parc Extension into Rosemont-Petite-Patrie, then into downtown Montreal.
Some of the groups joining the Northeast contingent at métro Jarry included members of Médecins du Monde, le Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs, the Assemblée populaire et autonome of Villeray (APAQ Villeray), l’Association des locataires de Villeray (ALV), le Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (le FRAPRU), as well as Montréal-Nord Républik. The contingent was accompanied by the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble, a marching band that formed after the Status For All march in 2006, and was hosting Squeak, a congress of radical marching bands.
A yellow school bus also joined the contingent, representing the Collectif éducation sans frontières who are currently campaigning to ensure access to primary and secondary schools for all non-status children in Montreal (who number at least in the hundreds, if not more than thousand). More info about the Education For All campaign is linked here: http://www.
The Northeast contingent crossed into Villeray via Parc Jarry, and marched to métro Parc, where a Status For All picnic had started earlier in the day.
Speakers included Ghazala, Juvaria, Shipra, Janani from the South Asian Women’s Community Center (SAWCC), Naila and Farha from South Asian Youth (SAY), and a spoken word piece by Malek. Kama, the MC, was dressed as a caged bird (photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
The delegation continued, joined by the Pink Bloc, and the SAWCC and SAY delegations. Women from the South Asian Women’s Community Centre droppped a banner over Jean-Talon street in Parc-Ex stating “Status for All” in Tamil, Urdu, Dari, Bangla and Farsi. (A video of the unveiling of the banner is available here: https://www.facebook.com/
Moving south, the contingent joined supporters who had gathered at Rosemont métro. Andrea Figueroa of No One Is Illegal addressed the crowd, as well as Christina Xydous who spoke about the rise of the racist and neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn in Greece. She designed a banner specifically for the Status For All demo, with a message of solidarity that read, in Greek and French: “Greeks in solidarity with migrants all over the world.”
The Northeast contingent finally arrived at Phillips Square to join the three other contingents for a Solidarity City Festival.
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Montreal’s Phillips Square at Union and Ste-Catherine, in the heart of downtown, was filled with hundreds of protesters for a Solidarity City Festival, the culmination of the Status For All March as all contingents converged on the Square.
Food for hundreds was provided with the support of several food collectives and organizations, including: the Lasalle Gurdwara; People’s Potato; Midnight Kitchen; Cuisine de Peuple; Ras-le-Bol; Food Not Bombs; South Asian Women’s Community Center and Frigo Vert.
At the festival, the following individuals and groups intervened to share perspectives on migrant justice struggles, through words and poetry:
– Stella Jetté, the MC of the Northeast contingent, who read the Statement of Support for Indigenous Struggles and Sovereignty is linked here: http://www.
– Melissa Mollen Dupuis, a Montreal artist and organizer with Idle No More-Quebec, originally from the Innu community of Ekuantshit on the North Shore;
– Carmelo Monge and Roberto of Mexicans United for Regularization (MUR);
– Viviana Medina for Dignidad Migrante;
– Sarita Ahooja of Solidarity Across Borders on the detention of Norma Guzman, a Mexican migrant with a 18-month child, who was picked up by border agents last Thursday;
– Robyn Maynard of No One Is Illegal-Montreal;
– Anne Buisson of the Collectif éducation sans frontières;
– Rosalind Wong of Solidarity Across Borders;
– Alvaro Gonzalez who read a poem about migration;
– Neil Ladode of the Immigrant Workers Center who performed a spoken word piece on identity;
– Urled Comba, who spoke about her projtect “remembrances of deportees”.
The STATUS FOR ALL demonstration and SOLIDARITY CITY Festival also marked the launch of the 32-page “Building A Solidarity City” Newspaper (available in English and French). The newspaper will be widely distributed in Montreal (including at the upcoming Montreal Anarchist Bookfair on May 25-26). The online version of the articles is available here: http://www.
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A FURTHER NOTE ABOUT BY-LAW P-6
The organizers of the STATUS FOR ALL demonstration, including all the contingents, refused to share our demo routes with police. We oppose by-law P-6, and organizing groups such as Dignidad Migrante, No One Is Illegal, Solidarity Across Borders and the Immigrant Workers Center have signed the following public declaration indicating that we will not share our routes with police: http://www.
Before the demonstration, the organizers of the STATUS FOR ALL demonstration also shared widely the following document about P-6, informing participants about our attitude towards the P-6 declaration: http://www.
Moreover, the STATUS FOR ALL demonstration encouraged participants to wear masks, if they so wished, as a gesture of solidarity with non-status people who are required to hide their identity for fear of deportation. As our photo essays show, many people did wear masks.
At the beginning of all the STATUS FOR ALL contingents that began marching after 1pm, the Montreal police indicated clearly that no contingent would be allowed to march on the street, and demanded that protesters march on the sidewalk. During the beginning of the Northeast contingent, in Villeray, demonstrators were physically forced, by police vehicles, onto the sidewalk. However, they later succeeded on taking the streets in Villeray, with larger numbers. The Northwest contingent was forced to take the sidewalk for the entirety of the Côte-des-neiges section of their march, but were able to take the streets successfully downtown.
In the end, all contingents marched on the streets of Montreal, without police permission, and in open defiance of by-law P-6. A significant and noticeable portion of demonstrators were also masked.
The Montreal police, however, have told some media that organizers did provide demo routes in advance. This is false, and a transparent attempt by the police to obscure their arbitrary application of the P-6 by-law. The police were clearly not prepared to encircle the hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting in four different locations, and have decided to misinform the public.
Unfortunately, La Presse, in an article and video, has repeated the false police information, despite being asked for a retraction. Neither the police nor the La Presse journalist can provide any independent proof that a demo route was provided by anyone involved in the organizing of the Status For All march. Five organizers Status For All organizers, directly involved with the march and their local contingent, have directly contacted the La Presse reporter.
We re-iterate our request for La Presse to clearly indicate that organizers did not provide demo routes to the police in advance, and we ask their journalist not take police information at face-value, but actually verify the information, especially when it clearly contradicts what actually happened on the streets this past May 18.
In the end, this negative episode of police disinformation in the context of a successful and defiant march, reveals another police tactic regarding the P-6 by-law, beyond their kettles and mass arrests: misinforming and lying to the public about the application of the by-law.
– Status For All Photo Compilation:
Other Photo Essays:
Montreal Media Coop: “Status for All” Rings From Four Corners of Montreal
Annual march in support of migrants’ rights criss-crosses city despite police actions
Radio-Canada: Manifestation contre les expulsions des immigrants et des réfugiés
Métro: Manif contre la déportation des immigrants
24 heures: Manifestation: des immigrants crient à l’injustice
Le Devoir:: Manifestation contre l’expulsion des immigrants et réfugiés du Canada
Huffington Post: Lettre ouverte au SPVM
Montreal Gazette: Four marches in Montreal call for an end to deportations
Le Journal (avec vidéo): Des immigrants crient à l’injustice lors d’une manifestation à Montréal
TVA: Des immigrants crient à l’injustice
[Note: the La Presse article and video below falsely report that demo routes were shared in advance; the organizers of the Status For All demonstration did not share demo routes; see above for context.]
La Presse (vidéo): Rassemblés pour soutenir les sans-papiers
La Presse: Manifestation pour défendre les immigrants sans papiers
Why We Are Marching:
Statement of Support for Indigenous Struggles and Sovereignty:
Solidarity City Declaration:
“Building A Solidarity City” Newspaper:
The STATUS FOR ALL demonstration was co-organized by the following groups:
– Dignidad Migrante (www.dignidadmigrante.org)
– Immigrant Workers Center (www.iwc-cti.ca)
– Mexicans United for Regularization (www.mexregularizacion.org)
– No One Is Illegal-Montreal (www.nooneisillegal.org)
– Solidarity Across Borders (www.solidarityacrossborders.
Get in touch to get involved with migrant justice organizing in Montreal!
Solidarité sans frontières: www.solidaritesansfrontieres.
Solidarity Across Borders: www.solidarityacrossborders.
Solidaridad sin fronteras: www.solidarityacrossborders.