The following report back from New Year’s Eve in Montreal was one of many noise demonstrations which happened that day. Check out IGD’s roundup here.
On New Year’s Eve, for the sixth year in a row, a noise demonstration was held in front of the Laval prisons. Despite the freezing cold, this year was marked by the greatest participation since the beginning of this tradition. More than a hundred people walked chanting “Everybody hates the police!” and “For a world without prisons or detention centers!”, the whole thing accompanied by percussion, banners, whistles and fireworks in large quantities.
The group arrived in front of Montée Saint-François Institution (B-16), where the minimum security allowed us to be in direct contact with the detainees. Thanks to the windows directly facing the street, they could wave to us, see the banners and hear us. The second institution we visited was Leclerc, the former and outdated federal prison that was converted to a provincial prison for in 2015 and was a provincial prison for men and women until this summer, when it became just a provincial prison for women. The prison is very far from the road and access to it is usually prevented by the police, but the large number of people this year made it possible to get through and around the police lines with joy, everyone engaging in a rather funny race in the snow, during which several policemen were able to intimately appreciate the coolness of the powder. The inefficacy of the police allowed us to set off many fireworks in close proximity to the prison. At the same time, another group of people slipped to the opposite side of the prison to fire fireworks near the buildings where the prisoners are housed.
All this continued in front of the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, where we recalled the importance of opposing the Federal Government’s project to replace the existing building with a new immigration detention centre in Laval. This project is part of a broader effort to expand the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)’s capacity to imprison and deport migrants. We want to see a world without borders, where everyone has access to the things they need to live with dignity. Imprisoning migrants, denying them a place to stay, and deporting them to situations of extreme danger are things we directly oppose.
The big charivari ended at the Federal Training Center, a multi level, medium and minimum security prison. When our group finally decided to split in two for the return to the bus, the police chose to take advantage of the reduced number of people to make an arrest. Fortunately, the arrested person was released the same evening, but has judicial charges.
Prisons were created to isolate people from their communities. Noise demonstrations at prisons are a concrete way to fight against repression and isolation. We want to extend a message of solidarity to folks inside and wish them a happy new year- although a truly happy new year would be one without prisons or borders and the world that needs them!