Casserole pan-demonium in Quebec
Residents take to the streets with pots and pans to protest Bill 78
Last Updated: June 1, 2012
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A noisy form of public protest has mushroomed in Quebec since the province adopted an emergency law to quell its ongoing student tuition crisis. Every night people step in to the street with their pots and pans, and bang in opposition to Bill 78, a hardline law that suspends the winter semester and restricts protests.
Dubbed the casseroles, the nightly ritual was first proposed by a Montrealer on Facebook, who invited people upset by the Liberal government's handling of the student crisis. Reports of small casserole gatherings in various Montreal neighbourhoods started circulating on social media networks over the weekend.
The clanging of pots and pans has its roots in Spanish-speaking countries, especially Chile and Argentina, where the tradition is known as cazerolazo, literally, stew pot action. As a popular form of protest, casseroles is practiced to create noise in order to call for attention, from their porches, balconies, alleys and sidewalks.
Reports of casseroles grow every day, spreading across the island of Montreal, into its suburbs. Children, parents, students, seniors - even a man in an Armani suit was spotted banging on a pot this week.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay has asked that people stop the pots and pans at night. His plea has only fuelled the movement, which has taken hold in other Quebec towns and cities.
The phenomenon has spread through many Montreal neighbourhoods, where the "Casseroles en cours" start up every night at 8 p.m. A short time later, social media is flooded with people telling sharing news, photos and videos of the Casserole demonstrations on their own blocks.
Casserole protests supporting Quebec demonstrators have popped up across Canada and around the world.
On May 30, an event dubbed “Casserole Night in Canada” brought out people banging pots and pans from Victoria B.C. to Halifax, N.S.
Many protesters in the nightly student marches in Montreal have now brought along pots and pans to the main downtown demonstration.