Students in Montreal, Quebec, Canada have been winding their way down the streets of Montreal almost nightly, in protest of higher tuition fees. There have been at least some 50 such demonstrations and protest marches. Police deemed it unlawful under by-law P-6 which states that the protestors did not give police an itinerary of their schedules and routes.
While it’s a great shot, it’s unclear that the white-haired and bearded gentleman in front is necessarily there to protest tuition fee hikes. However, that’s the issue.
Whatever happens between police, the government and protesting students, there has been an issue that was raised that needs to be discussed.
Students have been protesting against police by holding their arms up in a Nazi salute, a gesture that unfortunately, has not been deemed as illegal in Canada and an act by the protestors that has outraged B’nai Brith Canada.
Though stated to be, simply a statement towards police, it is a gesture that is not to be joked with or used, given the gravity that comes with its historical meaning.
“We condemn, in the strongest of terms, this inexcusable display of hate by Quebec student protesters that has outraged the Jewish community and demonstrated just how low the level of public debate has fallen on the streets of Montreal,” said CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, Frank Dimant.
“The actions of these protesters, whether for the purposes of deriding Montreal police or drawing attention to their cause, defile the memory of the Holocaust and remind us just how quickly anti-Semitism and the manifestations of hate can venture their way into our public discourse.”
While protestors have had a point, their message gets lost when they pull stunts like this. Sadly, they are not only hurting their own cause but, also a lot of people for whom the Holocaust and Nazi symbolism has and continues to be a deep wound.
There may be two things now that the government needs to listen to more carefully. They need to listen to the cries from the students on the nearing impossible for many to reach, tuition fees as well as to the idea of making it unlawful to display these types of symbolism.
Perhaps, all governments need to pay attention and lower tuition fees for it appears that history lessons have not been taught well and students truly need further education.