Talk:Sir George Williams affair
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This article is supposedly about a riot, yet this is what it says:
- "Most of the occupation was quite peaceful: the police were not involved, and negotiations continued...The occupation continued until February 11 when negotiations broke down and riot police were called in. A fire broke out in the computer lab"
- About the use of the word "Riot"
I lived in Montreal at the time, though I was away at university during the period the "riot" occurred. In a sense, I think you are right, it was a student demonstration through building occupation that was part of, and inspired by, earlier events in the congeries of similar student disturbances worldwide in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and not a "riot" in the classical sense of people "running wild and committing illegal acts in he street." However, I think the reason it was called a "riot" in the media (a metaphor) is that, at the end, something triggered the students to destroy the facility, throwing computers and such out the windows, and generally trashing the university equipment. As I vaguely seem to recall, while this was illegal and shocking, there was also some sort of perceived significant betrayal by the school administration that led to it. The media coverage at the time, as with coverage of student demonstrations in many other places, was not a model of impartiality and careful investigation (all counterarguments welcome), but rather more an exercise in ideological posturing. Adjusted for inflation, the value of the damage was in the order of $12 million, so it was not inconsiderable.
The article definitely is in need of expansion. As it is now, it seems to me, holding it up as a "cloth" in front of actual memory from years ago, to be so sketchy that it does not present a coherent account of the affair. It seems particularly weak on what the university faculty and administration did to cause the demonstration. As I recall, though I think the university post mortems denied this, the students presented a fairly disturbing case (or so gossip had it) that unethical in-class conduct had occurred, and this was never answered convincingly to the contrary by the school whose process was seen (perhaps inaccurately) as aiming more to mask the truth than reveal it, raising legitimate concerns in the public mind about the possibility that the students' actions were fair, though extreme; a legitimate protest of last resort where internal mechanisms of control and rectification of racialism had not functioned. In fairness to all reputations affected by lingering doubts about the actions of the parties to the dispute, we do need a more through treatment.--FurnaldHall (talk) 05:53, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Not a riot, it was an occupation of a room. Further no one knows who actually set the fire. What is more likely is that cops flash bang grenades set off a fire in the office filed with paper cards. Recall the officers were trying to clear the students out the room. Based on the events it is highly unlikely the students set the fire as they barriacaded themselves inside a the computer room. It doesn't take a university student to figure out if you set a fire in a room you are in your going to die of smoke inhalation.
We know for sure that the students threw paper cards out the window. We don't know who set the fire. We do know that there was a largely white crowd outside that was on the brink of rioting and who got violent to the protestors and carried signs that said all niggers must die and shouted let the niggers burn according to John Rodney Ph.d in psychology who was an occupier at the riot. source turning points in history-st george williams episode
I was part of the "white crowd" at the time. People were simply milling around outside the locked building. I did not see any signs as described here ("all niggers must die") nor did I hear anyone shout "let the niggers burn." Generally speaking, the crowd outside supported the protesters and were deeply concerned about what was going on. When I saw police officers smashing windows, letting the glass fall onto the crowd below, I assumed we were seeing a police riot. In retrospect I realize that that was probably not the case, though I did see a Montreal officer pull his firearm halfway out of its hostler before another officer grabbed his arm to prevent him from doing so. As the soaked and shivering students were taken down the elevators to police vans, there were two officers per student in each elevator and many reported that the students were beaten. That would jib with what we knew of the attitudes of Montreal police force of the time, especially those from Station 10 which was known for having violent officers on staff.
please clarify wording
"saw police confiscating locking doors and exits"
Article Fails to Adhere to Neutral Point of View
I've rarely read a Wikipedia article that so clearly failed to adhere to a neutral point of view. The article goes out of its way to defend the student actions during this event without giving serious consideration to any other perspectives. I would recommend a complete rewrite of the article by someone who has carefully studied the "Sir George Williams Affair" but is able to present the events in a more even-handed manner without trying to advance a partisan agenda. (In case anyone responds to my comments by making the ad hominem argument that I'm engaging in right-wing griping, my politics happen to be left-of-center. But I don't want Wikipedia to be a mouthpiece to propagate specific political positions, whether they're my own or anyone else's.)