As leaders of the Americas met in Argentina to launch the Summit of the Americas last Friday evening, the people of Montreal were encouraged to go to Dorchester Square for a carnival themed march in solidarity with the protests in Argentina.
Social justice and human rights activists took to the streets this weekend in opposition to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). Protestors paraded through the downtown core on foot and bicycle to achieve a mass demonstration that paralysed rush hour downtown traffic. The whole ended in a street party, complete with couches and all sorts of furniture laid out to simulate a house party, orchestrated at the intersection of Ste-Catherine’s Street, corner Aylmer. The “party” also included artful sculptures, music and dance, and at its height, the demonstration was estimated to have 500 participants.
The event united 34 countries of the Americas into a hemispheric free-trade zone, which risks benefiting only the U.S. while the populations of Latin America sink into deeper depths of poverty. Protesters believe that the FTAA attacks democracy and small nations’ autonomy as it renders sovereign governments subservient to the needs of transitional corporations. Thus, FTAA opponents believe the agreement threatens to lead to privatized healthcare, water distribution systems and other social services, decreased environmental standards, wider gaps between rich and poor citizenry, as well as the simultaneous decimation of the middle class in the nations where it exists.
Argentine President N