Who's protesting at the G7, and why

From anti-extractivists to Indigenous anarchists, from Indigenous anarchists to social housing activists to defenders of labour and women's rights, protesters have come to Quebec City with their own concerns and their own approaches to dissent.

From anti-extractivists to Indigenous anarchists to social housing activists, protesters want their say

Tourists arriving in Quebec City will be greeted by a heavy police presence in some areas, including around the Château Frontenac. (Rebecca Martel/CBC)

More than a dozen groups, networks and coalitions are taking part in some way in the anti-G7 demonstrations in Quebec City and outside the summit in La Malbaie, Que.

The activists represent a wide variety of concerns and embrace different types of protest tactics — everything from street theatre to confrontation with police.

Here is a look at some of the key players on the protest scene.

Anti-extractivism

The first major Quebec City demonstration began with a march Thursday evening, attended by many of the anti-G7 groups.

One of the central themes of the march was expected to be opposition to what is sometimes called extractivism, the principle of creating wealth by extracting resources from the environment.

The march is being co-organized by Eau Secours, a non-profit group devoted to protecting waterways, as well as Ni Québec, ni Canada (Neither Quebec nor Canada), an Indigenous rights group formed around anarchist principles.  

Anti-G7 resistance network

Friday is being billed as a "day of disturbance" by the network, which according to its website, activists have been organizing since the fall.

The network has refused to speak to the media, but its communiqués indicate it embraces more militant protest tactics, including civil disobedience.  

Its critique of the G7 is based on revolutionary anti-capitalism. Members reject the possibility that institutions like the G7 can be reformed and believe the seven nations' sole purpose is to extract wealth from less developed parts of the world.

Alternative G7 forum

A large coalition of groups is behind a series of events that will take around the provincial legislative building on Saturday.

Among the organizers playing a central role are ATTAC-Québec, which opposes wide-ranging free trade agreements, and the Comité populaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste, a housing rights group based in Quebec City.

They will be joined by a number of Quebec unions and labour federations, including the CSN and FTQ. They're concerned about the erosion of workers' rights, gender equality and cuts to social services.

Human rights groups

More than 40 volunteers with Amnesty International and Quebec's civil rights league, the Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL), will be monitoring the protests and keeping an eye on police behaviour.

The groups say they're concerned with a police technique called kettling, in which large groups of protesters are circled and arrested.

Police have also put in place temporary detention facilities in the parking lot of the Victoria police station.

"We're worried because we're told there will be no mass arrests, but the security measures put in place lead us to think there could be a discord between their message and what will happen on the ground," said Geneviève Paul, the general manager of Amnesty International for francophone Canada.