The annual March for Life gathering in Ottawa ended in another humiliation for the far-right reactionaries who want to take away women’s and other gender-oppressed people’s control over their body. The Proletarian Feminist Front – Ottawa and La Riposte Féministe from Montreal successfully organized a counter-protest on May 12th that disrupted the anti-choicers’ planned parade, while the night before, those reactionaries were also met with resistance as the PFF planned a vigil for the victims of unsafe abortions just an hour before their own “vigil for unborn babies”. Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party as well as the Revolutionary Student Movement were there to support.
On the evening of May 11th, as the PFF and its supporters took the Memorial for Human Rights on Elgin Street, the anti-choicers, who had already begun setting up gradually became more restive, calling on the police to dislodge the pro-choice militants. One of the main Campaign for Life organizers, Paul Lauzon, eventually erupted and started attacking the women and other gender-oppressed people on stage, attempting to throw away the PFF banner and ripping up signs. This clear provocative behaviour was met with no action from the cops, who instead warned the militants against pushing the misogynist agitator back. He then directly assaulted one militant, triggering a police intervention that exclusively targeted the pro-choice vigil. While our supporters successfully de-arrested one comrade, two militants were violently pinned down and taken in by the cops while others got pepper-sprayed, while the anti-choice assaulters were allowed to keep harassing and taunting the militants. The complicity between the state and the patriarchal violence was in full display. We all stood strong however, and people stayed on stage holding the banner and signs and yelling slogans until the end of the anti-choice vigil.
On the day of the parade, we gathered in Confederation Park alongside the PFF and other supporters, as reinforcements came bussing in from Montreal and Québec City. Over 200 feminists, communists, anarchists and other militants took to the streets with signs and slogans, under heavy police surveillance, and marched through Centertown before swinging back to Elgin Street to block the intended parade from a distance (as seen in the picture). As the thousands of anti-choice supporters, many of which were Catholic High School students bussed in from across Ontario as part of a “school trip”, were left stranded right at the beginning of their march, the police were unable to push back the counter-protest. This forced the”March for Life” to shorten their march significantly. Even as they tried to make their way further into Centertown, the counter-march was able to push on and block their way. The anti-choicers had no choice but to retreat to Parliament Hill and come to grips with their second defeat in a row. The victorious counter-protesters then marched on to the Ottawa police station to wait for the one arrestee from among their ranks, who was released with no charges.
This is the third year in a row that the PFF leads a counter-march, and the anti-choice contingent was smaller than all previous years. It is a great victory for women and all gender-oppressed people, as well as for the working-class to have fought off this patriarchal parade. Those who would like to take away women and gender-oppressed people’s bodily autonomy had better think twice before showing off like that in Ottawa again. We salute the hard work that went into the planning of this initiative by the PFF and other militants. Their confrontational tactics were proven right to be the most effective yet again, and the dedication of gender-oppressed comrades amidst this particularly challenging effort has been remarkable. These fighters are at the frontlines of the struggle for liberation in this land, and we call on all people interested in helping with this to get involved with the Proletarian Feminist Front as it pushes on. The PCR-RCP will continue to support this movement to smash patriarchy.
Solidarity with all victims of state and gender oppression!
Rise up and destroy the March for Life!