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article imageAnti Royalty: From Ottawa street cartoon to Quebec sky banner Special

By Helena H. Quartz     Jul 7, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - The royal tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada could set up a new stage for debates and polls showing to what extent a British Monarchy is welcomed in Canada.
While protests in the province of Quebec were well noticed by the royal visitors and its news somehow elaborated in the media including both Canadian and British Broadcasting corporations, little if not none, was seen or reported about a small group of a few republican fans who showed their protests in Ottawa, only a few metres away from red carpets in Parliament Hill grounds where prince William and Kate were attending Canada Day ceremonies.
Two men and a woman were standing beside Confederation Square across Westin Hotel in Downtown Ottawa just a block away from Parliament Hill, displaying banners including an insulting cartoon of the Queen. Unlike the noisy protesters in Quebec, this group used a silence tactic by remaining calm and simply giving out some printed material to passersby.
One banner read “Impeach the Queen” while showing a photo of the Queen with Britain’s flag in the background, but with a Hitler-style moustache painted on her face. The other sign was calling Canadians to join The Committee for the Republic of Canada (CRC), attached to a big poster showing an insulting cartoon of the Queen. Both banners clearly promoted the website address of the CRC.
“You guys are disgusting!” one woman said loudly after a glance on the cartoon. Another passerby shouted, “Shame on you,” with a hand gesture. However some people still approached them to get their fliers.
When passersby asked about what they think of the group’s approach and their cartoon, none expressed any good feeling, calling it “absolutely embarrassing”, “unacceptable” and “abuse of the right for freedom of speech … by hurting all Canadian citizens.” One, a new Canadian citizen who said his name is Ahmed, praised Canadian civil rights, saying: “if such an insult happened on the national day of China or some Middle Eastern countries, the guys had already been arrested and beaten to death, if not hanged.”
An Ottawa Police car was present on the spot, but did not intervene.
An Ottawa Police car spotted in the background. No intervene took place against the calm protesters.
An Ottawa Police car spotted in the background. No intervene took place against the calm protesters.
This Digital journalist contacted Ottawa Police on Monday, July 4, after their website reported 10 arrests connected with the Canada Day festivities, four of them criminal arrests for assault and breach, six non-criminal.
Constable Henri Lanctôt, a spokesperson for Media Relations Section, said that none of the arrests involved the CRC protesters and their cartoon.
“I was not in downtown Ottawa myself that day, but I have heard nothing either so far in this regard.” Const. Lanctôt said.
As per Justice Canada website, under section 46 of Criminal code, Treason and other Offences against the Queen’s Authority and Person are divided to treason, and high treason. They address mostly severe cases of physical actions and or violence against the Queen, originally called lèse majesté.
Accordingly, protesters who use a cartoon or slogan that provokes anti-national feelings do not seem to have committed crime based on the definition and nature of treason as described under this section.
In a recent extreme case, “a U.S. citizen was arrested by Thai Police and charged with defaming the monarchy for an offense he committed four years earlier after posting a link to a banned book.
The print-outs distributed by the protesters mostly blamed Britain as a "bankrupt Empire." The paper reads under a subtitle “The Emperor has no Clothes” that some 11 banks that are members of a European banking consortium, called the Inter-Alpha Group are to be blamed for the “globally but specially Trans-Atlantic crisis of the British monetary system.”
But what most people fail to see is that these institutions don’t work individually but are run by a higher network of institutions whose control is only partially revealed but often hidden from view. …These institutions are not powerful as in themselves. What gives them power is the system in which they operate and what they chose to do with their profits... It is a crisis of the Inter Alpha banks whose speculative fake assets are now worthless and can survive only as long as they can bully nations into bailing them out at the cost of our sovereignty. … In this chaos which at this point is even beyond the control of the Empire .... everything must be sacrificed to save their false monetary system. Pension funds, public health care, educational and other public services, everything must be cut to appease the Gods a.k.a. the British Monetary System; a system in which paper money is the sole source of value…. "
"But the tragic drama unfolding in Europe and USA should be seen by Canadians not as nonchalant audience but as a tragedy which awaits us soon if we don’t act.”
the paper continues.
Print copies given out by CRC fans to passers-by on Canada Day 2011
Print copies given out by CRC fans to passers-by on Canada Day 2011
While other than this trio, the rest of estimated 100,000 people who were attending the Canada Day celebrations were seen happy and calm just like the well-wishers for the newlywed royal couple, and they didn't mind so much the national maple leaf flag not raised on peace tower on their Canada Day to respect the presence of Queen’s Governor General on the parliament grounds, the story on the other side of Ottawa river was totally different.
Protesters in Quebec city even rented an airplane to circle in sky above City Hall, with a sign attached to it, saying “Vive le Quebec libre.” The Royal Couple observed the crowd and their noisy protests but tried to remain calm. further reported: They [the protesters] were kept about a block away, playing a bagpipe, whistles and horns, while banging on pots. They chanted "Non à la monarchie! Oui à la démocratie!" and carried signs saying "Parasites go home.”
According to CBC, "There were a few hundred demonstrators in the streets protesting the royal couple's presence in the province." "We do not recognize the authority, the legitimacy, of the Crown, of the monarchy here in Quebec, and it's not a national symbol for us," said Maxime Laporte of the Réseau de résistance du Québécois.
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