MONTREAL - New York, Chicago, Berlin — it appears the clanging of pots and pans in protest isn't just a Quebec thing anymore.
While about 1,000 protesters struck pots in Montreal at the peak of a demonstration last night, there were similar, smaller events held abroad in solidarity with Quebec students decrying hikes in tuition fees.
The Montreal-based organizer of the event dubbed Casserole Night in Canada says photos and videos of pots and pans protests held last night have been coming in from all over — Europe, South America, the United States as well as elsewhere in Canada.
Marches were scheduled in 125 different cities — everywhere from Frankfurt to Madison, WI. — with word being spread through social media and Facebook.
Ethan Cox says he's hoping it continues to spread.
Organizers are encouraging people all over the world to join in on the clanging on June 13 and June 22 — the dates of major student protests in Quebec.
Striking the pots and pans nightly has become a favoured method of protest in recent weeks in Montreal for those opposed to both tuition hikes and Bill 78, a controversial, temporary law that governs public protests.
Quebec's student protests have lasted well over 100 days, caused social unrest, and made international news. Now the movement is gaining steam slowly abroad, Cox says.
"I think it shows that there is a great deal more support out there for the Quebec students' cause than people may think," Cox said.
"But I think it shows there is a general rejection of the current economic model that is broken."
Cox says while marches are held in solidarity with Quebec students, protesters in various cities add their own cause to the march.
In New York City yesterday, marchers denounced the high level of student debt in the city.
"It's not very centrally controlled, it's a whole slew of locally organized events," Cox said.
Elsewhere in Canada, protesters have banged pots in opposition to the Harper government's omnibus budget.
"If people locally have an issue that's burning for them that they want to bring into the mix, they're free to do so," Cox said.
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. (Text: CP)
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 (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
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. (Text: CP)
While thousands, including children, their parents, students and the elderly, packed the streets in support, the Twitterverse exploded with reactions and observations. (Text: CP)
"Spotted a man in an Armani suit banging a pot," tweeted Christina Stimpson on one of Thursday's participants. "Feel the love people." (Text: CP)
Another man rolled a small barbecue through the streets of Montreal, banging the lid. The joviality was a far cry from late Wednesday when police decided to shut down a largely peaceful evening march after they said projectiles were thrown and criminal acts were committed. (Text: CP)