Each night in Montréal, and now in other cities and towns in Québec, the locals are treated to the loud din of thousands of protesters taking to the streets. The video above is from last night, and was relatively peaceful with only a handful of arrests but so far a staggering 2500 have been arrested in the standoff over student tuition and now draconian law enforcement. The Pots Protest ("Manif de casseroles") began earlier this month in response to the Student protests, which are now over 100 days old, see no sign of abating any time soon, and in fact are only growing in numbers -- and volume.
MONTREAL - The clanging pots of student unrest that have rattled Montreal and Quebec City for several nights are coming noisily to life in other parts of the province.
People took up the percussive protest Thursday night in several towns and cities including Sorel, Longueuil, Chambly, Repentigny, Trois-Rivieres and even in Abitibi — several hundred kilometres away from the hot spot of Montreal.
They were still loudest in Montreal, where a chorus of metallic clanks rang out in neighbourhoods around the city, spilling into the main demonstrations and sounding like aluminum symphonies.
The pots-and-pans protest has its roots in Chile, where people have used it for years as an effective, peaceful tool to express civil disobedience. The noisy cacerolazo tradition actually predates the Pinochet regime in Chile, but has endured there and spread to other countries as a method of showing popular defiance.
Thursday's protest in Montreal was immediately declared illegal by police, who said it violated a municipal bylaw because they hadn't been informed of the route. They allowed it to continue as long as it remained peaceful.
Although there was a massive police presence throughout the evening with the roar of a provincial police helicopter competing with the banging of the pots, there was little if any tension reported between demonstrators and police.
People tapped the pots as they walked, the sounds mingling with shouts and chants. Others leaned out of car windows to bang their pans and one protester smacked a pot right in front of one police officer who looked on indifferently.
Usually the nightly street demonstrations, which have gone on for a month, have a couple of vigorous drummers to speed them along their route. At the very least, someone clangs a cow bell.
But in the last few days, the pots and pans protest — dubbed the casseroles by observers — have acted like an alarm clock for the regular evening march, sounding at 8 p.m. on the nose in advance of the march's start.
While thousands, including children, their parents, students and the elderly, packed the streets in support, the Twitterverse exploded with reactions and observations.
"Spotted a man in an Armani suit banging a pot," tweeted Christina Stimpson on one of Thursday's participants. "Feel the love people."