Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Topless Protest against Parti Quebecois Identity Politics Inside Legislature

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Topless Protest against Parti Quebecois Identity Politics Inside Legislature

Article excerpt

Topless protest against PQ identity politics

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QUEBEC - A topless protest against Parti Quebecois identity politics erupted inside the Quebec legislature in a screaming, semi-nude act of defiance that derailed the daily question period Tuesday.

Women began removing their clothes while Premier Pauline Marois was answering a question.

The premier had been asked about a payroll tax and had just uttered the words, "(We're) taking action now," when shouts erupted in the gallery and everyone's eyes, including the premier's, drifted upward.

As the protesters disrobed, they chanted a slogan against the presence of the crucifix in the chamber: "Crucifix, decalisse," they repeated in a crude, sacrilegious Quebecois expression loosely translatable as, "Crucifix, get the hell out of here."

The demonstration was quelled, as numerous security guards pulled a trio of still-half-naked protesters away from the chamber and struggled to dress them.

All three women were swiftly removed from the building, and protesters later said they were warned they could be charged with disturbing the peace and gross indecency.

The whole affair was in reaction to an uneven approach to state secularism which has been called hypocritical by the PQ's detractors.

The PQ values charter would leave the Christian symbol looming above the chamber where Quebec's laws are passed; Christmas trees would remain in public offices; and the giant cross would stay on the public land above Montreal's Mount Royal.

That's because those Christian symbols are part of Quebec's heritage, the PQ says.

However, lower-level employees of the state would be forced to remove their hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, and larger-than-average Christian necklaces.

The group "Femen Quebec" claimed responsibility for the bare-breasted brouhaha.

On its Facebook page, the group called itself artists and activists fighting for a Quebec identity that takes into account cultural diversity, and the liberation of women.

One protester said the group doesn't have an official position on the PQ's values charter but opposes the plan to favour Christian icons over other ones. …

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