student avoids criminal record from occupation of school building during student strike

by Tim Phillips

During the student strike in Québec in 2012, there was only one brief attempt at a lasting occupation of a school building. François Vivier Gagnon, one of approximately 150 people who stormed the school and attempted to barricade themselves inside, was charged with vandalism related to the occupation. As CrimethInc. explains,

On February 17, 2012, the students of Cégep du Vieux Montréal voted to go on strike… The strike vote took place online, but as soon as the results were announced, students voted in a general assembly—held in the cégep’s cafeteria—to occupy the building. … The occupation lasted nine short hours altogether.

Police cleared the school, arresting 30 people. Yet a judge recently gave Vivier Gagnon an absolute discharge, meaning he will not have any criminal record related to the occupation. The judge ordered Vivier Gagnon to pay $650, however, for damage apparently caused by the action.

A couple months after the occupation, Vivier Gagnon allegedly set off smoke bombs in the métro system with two other people. According to CrimethInc., these three people are “the first in history to be charged with a certain provision in Canada’s post–9/11 anti-terrorism legislation that forbids anyone from committing a terrorist hoax, defined as the creation of a situation in which it is reasonable for people to believe that terrorism is occurring or is about to occur.” That case is still pending.