Starting a few evenings ago, Quebeckers of all ages and backgrounds emerged from their households at 8pm banging pots and pans to show their solidarity with the student movement. This is in large part due to a controversial law that Quebec recently passed to severely restrict freedom of assembly and protest. This has been an extreme and sudden response from the government that has many Canadians concerned for the safety of their constitutional rights.
This event, inspired by the cacerolazo of Chile, has been unique in its positive undertone, which is unlike the anger, violence and militaristic quality typical of protests. The pot banging is more akin to musicians gathering for a cause, building community, celebrating their city and their cherished freedoms by taking back the streets with pots and pans. In an era where streets are increasingly losing their social function, especially in North America, this casserole-dish protest has been a special and worthwhile use of public space.