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Encyclopedia > Quebec City Summit of the Americas

The Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on the weekend of April 20, 2001, was a round of negotiations regarding a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. The talks are perhaps better known for the security preparations and demonstrations (known as the Quebec City protest) that surrounded them than for the progress of the negotiations. The Summit of the Americas is the name for one of a sequence of summits bringing together the countries of the Americas for discussion of a variety of issues. ... Motto: « Don de Dieu feray valoir Â» (I shall put Gods gift to good use) Site in the province of Québec Official logo Provincial region Province Country Capitale-Nationale Québec Canada Gentilé Québécois, Québécoise Mayor Jean-Paul LAllier 1989-Dec. ... April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... This article or section needs to be updated. ...

Contents


Progress of the negotiations

The talks were the third in the negotiation process for the FTAA. 34 heads of state and government met in Quebec City, representing all the countries of North and South America except Cuba. Partially due to resistance from the leaders of some poorer countries, no deal was reached in Quebec City.


Security and public response

Preparations

From the beginning, the authorities indicated their intent to use very intensive security measures to restrict the ability of anti-globalization movement protesters to approach the area where the summit took place, in light of the well-known previous incidents in Seattle (November 30, 1999), Prague (September 26, 2000), and Montreal (November 20, 2000). Anti-WEF grafiti in Lausanne. ... City nickname Emerald City City bird Great Blue Heron City flower Dahlia City mottos The City of Flowers The City of Goodwill City song Seattle, the Peerless City Mayor Greg Nickels County King County Area   - Total   - Land   - Water   - % water 369. ... November 30 is the 334th day (335th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 31 days remaining. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... Prague (Czech: Praha (IPA: ), see also other names) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. ... September 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 96 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 2000. ... City motto: Concordia Salus (Latin: Well-being through harmony) Province Quebec Mayor Gérald Tremblay Area  - % water 366. ... November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... This article is about the year 2000. ...


The most controversial of the preparations that took place was the construction of a 3-metre high security fence of concrete and wire around a large section of the downtown, including the meeting site, the National Assembly, and many residences. Only residents, delegates to the summit, and certain accredited journalists were allowed inside. Businesses and churches within the area were not permitted to open. The Quebec Parliament Building at night The National Assembly is the legislative body of the Canadian province of Quebec. ...


Security services were provided by the RCMP, with the collaboration of the Canadian Armed Forces and CSIS. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP or Mounties; French, Gendarmerie royale du Canada, GRC) is both the federal police force and the national police of Canada. ... The Canadian Forces (CF) (Fr: Forces canadiennes (FC)) are the combined branches of the military of Canada. ... The letters CSIS can stand for several things. ...


Protests

The Quebec City protests (called A20) were one of the largest anti-globalization demonstrations to that point, attracting some 20,000 protesters from all across the Americas. Groups represented at the protest included trade unions, civil society groups such as Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians, the New Democratic Party and Parti Québécois caucuses, and a great many groups from universities and colleges across the hemisphere. Greenpeace is an international environmental organization founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1971. ... The Council of Canadians is a left-wing think tank in Canada that was founded in 1985. ... The New Democratic Party (NDP) (Nouveau Parti Démocratique in French) is a political party in Canada with a social democratic philosophy and moderate democratic socialist tendencies that contests elections at both the federal and provincial levels. ... The Parti Québécois or PQ is a political party that advocates national sovereignty for Quebec from Canada, as well as social democratic policies and has traditionally had support from the labour movement though unlike other social democratic parties it has no formal ties with labour. ...


In addition to the political focuses of the anti-globalization movement, many focused their attention on the division of the city with the security barrier and what they saw as the draconic nature of the police response.


Protesters began to arrive on Friday, April 20, many being hosted at Université Laval, CEGEP campuses, and churches. A number of clashes with police took place on Friday evening, as did peaceful gatherings including a vegan supper and concert underneath the Dufferin-Montmorency Autoroute. April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... Université Laval (Laval University) is the oldest centre of education in Canada, and was the first institution in North America to offer higher education in French. ... CÉGEP (Collège denseignement général et professionnel - College of General and Vocational Education, pronounced say-jep [fr/en] or see-jip [en]) is a type of educational institution in Quebec. ...


The primary day of protests was Saturday, April 21. It began with the Second Peoples' Summit of the Americas, an educational and political gathering near the Gare du Palais, in the lower city east of the summit site. From there, the protesters marched northwest along Boulevard Charest towards Rue de la Couronne. The number of people marching has been estimated to be anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000. April 21 is the 111th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (112th in leap years). ...

April 21 -- "Green zone" protest proceeds along the Autoroute Laurentienne towards a rally at the Colisée de Québec.
Enlarge
April 21 -- "Green zone" protest proceeds along the Autoroute Laurentienne towards a rally at the Colisée de Québec.
April 21 -- "Yellow zone" protest at the intersection of the Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency and the Côte d'Abraham. Teargas and the chainlink wall around the conference precinct are seen.
Enlarge
April 21 -- "Yellow zone" protest at the intersection of the Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency and the Côte d'Abraham. Teargas and the chainlink wall around the conference precinct are seen.

Protests were divided into three classes: "green zone," being legal protests with no risk of arrest; "yellow zone," peaceful, unsanctioned protest with some risk of arrest or confrontation with police, and "red zone," being direct acts of civil disobedience carrying a high risk of arrest. This innovative division was developed after the protest in Montreal in November 2000, which though meant to be peaceful with a low risk of arrest had been violently dispersed by riot police on horseback. The zone system is meant to protect those who do not wish to run the risk of arrest or of clashes with police. Download high resolution version (1000x418, 67 KB)Quebec City protests, April 21, 2001 -- Green zone permitted protest proceeds along the Autoroute Laurentienne. ... Download high resolution version (1000x418, 67 KB)Quebec City protests, April 21, 2001 -- Green zone permitted protest proceeds along the Autoroute Laurentienne. ... Download high resolution version (995x564, 826 KB)Quebec City protests, April 21, 2001 -- Yellow zone protest at the intersection of the Dufferin-Montmorency Autoroute and the Côte dAbraham. ... Download high resolution version (995x564, 826 KB)Quebec City protests, April 21, 2001 -- Yellow zone protest at the intersection of the Dufferin-Montmorency Autoroute and the Côte dAbraham. ...


At Rue de la Couronne, the protest march split, with the majority of protesters (the green zone) heading north, towards a main rally at the Colisée.


Protesters favouring the yellow or red zones headed south, towards Cap Diamant. Many spread out through the Saint-Jean Baptiste area north of and below the fence; others marched along the edge of the mountain on Côte d'Abraham towards its intersection with the Dufferin-Montmorency Autoroute, through which the fence passed. Peaceful protesters, including individuals running speaker's corners, were in great numbers throughout this area during the afternoon.


Protestors who headed towards the yellow and red zones confronted the fence. Approximately 15 minutes after the bulk of the march reached the fence on Rue René Levesque, the fence was brought down by protestors, a clear security threat and danger not only to the world delegates in the area, but also to the police and citizens of Quebec City. A number of people moved into the once fenced-off area, eventually including a catapult that launched teddy bears, as well as individuals who physically attacked police. Eventually, the police line faded back, and was replaced by a second line of officers, all wearing gas masks. Without warning, which was not necessary once the fence was toppled and the security threat immediate, teargas was fired on all present, including those still outside the fence.


Teargas and other confrontation was used on non-violent protestors, which could not be avoided as they were huddled in among the militant, violent protestors. Teargas was fired so near the green zone that unaware shoppers in the city were suddenly choking. Teargas was fired into at least one home, where a resident struggled to get his 6 month old to safety.


Police responded to the protests by firing tear gas canisters, water cannon, and rubber bullets, dispersing large groupings of protesters both violent and peaceful, including teach-ins and teams of medics helping the wounded. Other tactical interventions aimed at arresting various perceived movement leaders and the expulsion of the independent media centre and protest clinic from their locations. So much tear gas was used that delegates were incommoded inside their meeting halls. The security wall was breached on several occasions, though protester incursion across the perimeter was limited. A riot control agent is a type of lachrymatory agent (or lacrimatory agent). ... A water cannon is a device that shoots a high-pressure stream of water. ... Rubber bullets are rubber-coated projectiles fired from guns. ...


Protests continued into the night. In addition to continued peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience, some protesters vandalized storefronts and advertisements and built bonfires. Police continued to respond with tear gas, in several cases firing at areas beneath the mountain where no protests were taking place, as well as with direct assaults on protester positions.


Protests concluded on Sunday, April 22. April 22 is the 112th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (113th in leap years). ...


Response to protest conduct

April 21 -- Police fire tear gas at protesters.

Police claimed that their actions were justified in protecting delegates from "red-zone" attempts to break through the fence, as well as to violent protesters destroying property and attacking the police, the media, and other protesters. Image File history File links Ftaapolice. ... Image File history File links Ftaapolice. ...


Many protesters accuse the police of excessive force, without evidence to back this claim up, claiming that the police's abundant use of tear gas and rubber bullets was both completely disproportionate to the scale of violence, and primarily directed at unarmed, peaceful demonstrators with dispersal of violent protesters an afterthought. A number of protesters were severely injured by rubber bullets; also, tear gas canisters were fired directly at protesters on a number of occasions in violation of the protocols governing their use. They also criticize the actions of prison authorities. Altogether, the anti-globalization movement describes the actions of the police in Quebec City as an attempt to suppress dissent. However, the police response was commonly seen as to be expected based upon the anti-globilazation movement's violent, looting, vandalistic tactics, as evidenced particularly in Seattle.


Intelligence operations prior to the event are also criticized; for example, Joan Russow, then leader of the Green Party of Canada, was arrested while attempting to photograph the prison where protesters would be held. It is also claimed that some prominent protesters such as Jaggi Singh were arrested by plainclothesmen while engaging in legal activities far from clashes with police. Joan Elizabeth Russow is a noted Canadian peace activist and former leader of the Green Party of Canada. ... The Green Party of Canada is a federal political party in Canada. ... Jaggi Singh (born 1971 in Toronto) is one of Canadas most outspoken activists in the anti-globalization movement. ...


A formal complaint regarding the RCMP's conduct was filed by New Democrat MP Svend Robinson with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP. On November 13, 2003, the complaint's chairwoman Shirley Heafey found that "RCMP members used excessive and unjustified force in releasing tear gas to move the protesters when a more measured response could have been attempted first." The commission recommended improved crowd-control techniques, disciplinary action against certain officers, and a formal apology to protesters. Svend Robinson Svend Johannes Robinson (born March 4, 1952) is a Canadian politician and prominent activist for gay rights. ... November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 48 days remaining. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

  • Summits of the Americas - Quebec City Summit of the Americas
  • CBC News, April 2001: Police fire water cannon, tear gas in Quebec City
  • CBC News, November 2003: RCMP used 'excessive force' at Quebec summit

  Results from FactBites:
 
Quebec City Summit of the Americas - definition of Quebec City Summit of the Americas in Encyclopedia (1205 words)
The Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on the weekend of April 20, 2001, was a round of negotiations regarding a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
The Quebec City protests (called A20) were one of the largest anti-globalization demonstrations to that point, attracting some 20,000 protesters from all across the Americas.
It began with the Second Peoples' Summit of the Americas, an educational and political gathering near the Gare du Palais, in the lower city east of the summit site.
NodeWorks - Encyclopedia: Quebec City, Quebec (916 words)
The city is served by VIA Rail (Gare du Palais), and is the eastern terminus of the railway's main Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.
Quebec City was captured by the British in 1629 and held until 1632.
In April 2001, Quebec City hosted the Summit of the Americas to discuss the Free Trade Area of the Americas; it also hosted massive anti-globalization demonstrations, provoked both by the summit and by the decision to wall off a large portion of the historic city with a four-metre-high chain-link fence for the duration.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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