Convicted Quebec student protester seeks funds for appeal
Published Friday, November 2, 2012 1:08PM EDT
The face of the massive student protests in Quebec last spring says he plans to appeal a contempt of court conviction, and is asking for donations through PayPal to help fund his cause.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a charismatic spokesperson for the left wing of the student protests, was convicted on Thursday after encouraging students to ignore a court injunction. The court order had banned protesters from interfering with the classes of students who wanted to attend school during the drawn-out protests.
At a news conference outside a Montreal courthouse Friday morning, the former figurehead for the CLASSE student group said he doesn’t have the financial means to pay for his appeal himself.
His supporters have set up a website to collect donations, featuring a flowery poem in support of Nadeau-Dubois.
“Where is the outrage, exactly?” it reads, in French, comparing the hopeful student movement to the leaf of a maple tree in spring. “Is respecting collective decisions a crime? Is freedom of speech an outrage?... We continue to have hope despite the ravages of these courts.”
A self-assured public speaker, Nadeau-Dubois became famous throughout Quebec and beyond during the months-long standoff between students and the government over a proposal to raise tuition fees. He resigned from his post as CLASSE spokesperson over the summer.
On Thursday, a Quebec Superior Court justice ruled that the former leader told students to contravene the injunction when he advocated continued protest during a television appearance in May.
His lawyer said there was no evidence his client knew about the injunction when he made the call to protest-- a claim the judge rejected.
Nadeau-Dubois did not testify at his own trial.
Several hundred Montrealers took to the streets in protest of the verdict on Thursday night. Taking a tactic from their well-used handbook, they banged pots and pans in support of the student leader. While mostly peaceful, the protest was eventually declared illegal, with riot police moving in on the crowd near the city’s police headquarters.
Nadeau-Dubois’ sentencing begins on Nov. 9. He faces up to a year in prison.
With files from The Canadian Press