Lawyers against law: Montreal legal eagles march against outrageous anti-protest bill
Hundreds of lawyers have marched through Montreal in a subdued challenge to a new bill that harshly limits public protests. Canada’s province of Quebec has gone through 106 days of massive actions, which started as student outrage over tuition hikes.
On Monday, over 500 lawyers, notaries and other legal professionals, dressed in their courtroom gowns, walked in silence through the streets of Canada’s second-largest city.
The black-robed parade protested Bill 78, an emergency law that lays down strict government regulations for demonstrations numbering over 50 people. The lawyers were cheered by crowds; many onlookers shouting “Merci!”
Nevertheless, the lawyers’ protest was laid out just in accordance with the controversial bill, as they are sworn to uphold the laws of the land. So the local police had received the itinerary of the march eight hours prior to the event.
Remi Bourget, one of the organizers, says some lawyers were worried they might be fined under the new bill for taking part.
“That’s why we especially wanted to march legally, in our black robes and in silence,” Bourget told The Montreal Gazette.
“There are so many vaguely worded parts to this law,” points out lawyer Denis Barrette. “It gives an incredible amount of discretionary power to police. It also makes the education minister judge and jury when it comes to deciding if student groups are legal.”
(AFP Photo/Rogerio Barbosa)
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