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Arrests During THe Maple Spring
compiled by Hera Chan and Dana Wray | Photo by Nicolas Quiazua
This map identifies all of the reported arrests made by police during the student protests, demonstrating how social movements can be repressed through the use of crowd control tactics and arrests.

Bill 78, passed by the Quebec government in May 2012, crystallized this repression and culminated in the demonization of student protesters, implementing restrictive regulations that effectively violated the civil rights of protestors, such as banning protesting or picketing close to university grounds, and declaring demonstrations of over fifty people illegal.

The map also indicates how many protesters attended the demonstration, the potential charges brought against those arrested, and the weapons used by the police to control the crowd.

The Maple Spring – the student uprising against tuition hikes which started in February 2012 – saw nightly demonstrations at its peak, which often ended with mass arrests and repressive use of crowd control by the police. Protesters were attacked with stun grenades, pepper spray, and other crowd control tactics, including cavalry.

This heightened surveillance and control over student strike movements through the large-scale deployment of multiple police forces was extremely expensive. Between February and June 2012, over $7.3 million was paid in overtime salaries to the SPVM officers. $5.6 million of this was paid to officers in May and June alone.

In April 2012, the union representing SPVM officers, La fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, estimated that the costs of deploying special intervention units, who had been called over 150 times in just 11 weeks, hovered at around $2.5 to $3 million.

These numbers do not include the costs of the Sureté du Québec (SQ), Quebec’s provincial police, who also intervened in protests in Montreal and around Quebec. They have refused to disclose costs for their overtime policing, arguing that it would “negatively affect security.”

Since last year, both the police forces and the government have responded with silence to questions on the total policing costs of the student strikes.