by Marie Fester (Staff Writer)
The charges against the employees who participated in a violent protest in August against Bill 3 have begun; Bill 3 would increase the percentage that public sector employees put into their pensions and has been on the table since June (CBC News).
The protest by bus drivers, firefighters, police, and ambulance technicians had until August 18th been limited to standard tactics and the stickers that now decorate buses throughout the island. However, the peace was not to last.
On August 18th 2014, hundreds of employees stormed city hall and trashed the city council room, while the session was in progress (Montreal Gazette). As well, windows were broken and the mayor’s office was trashed (CTV News).
So far, six firefighters have been fired and two have been suspended (CTV News). Suspensions for 39 employees have been issued, and 44 are facing charges of assault and mischief.
While the municipal and provincial governments accept that some disagreement and opposition to the bill is fine, what they cannot accept is “when illegal acts are committed”, according to Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau (The Globe and Mail).
The firefighter’s union has lawyers representing its employees who are facing charges. 41 of them are pleading not guilty (CTV News, CBC News).
In the meantime, police officers who stood by as the “demonstration” took place are facing an internal investigation (The Globe and Mail), as well, the city has increased police surveillance around Town Hall (CBC News).