April 22, 2001

The street cleaners are out again today. This time, they clear broken glass, rags and the topsoil washed out of parks and yards by water canons – as they do after a rainy morning in April. Down in Saint Roch, where the worst fight happened last night, they are using front-end loaders to clear away the charred debris.

The teller in snakeskin with the nose diamond that I spoke to just a couple of days ago won’t be coming to work today, as she foretold: all the windows of the bank are broken.

The whole city is covered with graffiti, right up to the sky.
My favourite: Be the change you want for the world.
My least favourite : Fuck Bush, kill ’em all.

The damaged bodies of police and protesters are being fixed in separate hospitals: the police are in Saint Sacrement, the demonstrators in Hotel Dieu. This is a shame, I feel. Three centuries ago, English and French bodies were both fixed in Hotel Dieu.

I see my friend in Saint Jean Baptiste – a working-class district on the perimeter whose narrow streets were drenched in tear gas all night. This morning, people are relieved, haggard, weepy, angry. A family I know had to tape up the windows and doors of their childrens’ bedrooms all night to keep the tear gas out. They are angry they werent warned about this possibility.

I meet a man who’d brought a giant medieval catapult to pelt Dubya with soft toys. Ten minutes after we meet, he was arrested for refusing to take his scarf off his face.

We all need debriefing.

I talk to a young woman who lives alone near the battlefront. She had spent the day sitting at home waiting for her apartment to be blown up, paralyzed with terror. She hadn’t spoken to anyone all day. A neighbour comes to my place trembling: she had been sitting reading the paper in front of her house, and after declining to converse with one of the muscular bibbed and wired security agents, he had obscenely abused and threatened her.

I speak to my friends on the edge of town. They are refugees from Burundi. They lived twelve years in refugee camps, fleeing from country to country. I don’t want to dramatize my tales of tear gas and fear and outrage. For a total of about two hours, I experienced what they lived for years on end.

Anyway, Dubya’s gone home. The gates are open. We can paste our security passes in our scrapbooks, go to bed, and try to think this all through in the morning.

The Journal

  • Day One
  • Day Two
  • Day Three
  • Day Four
  • Day Five
  • This is Day Six.

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    Louisa Blair is a mother and writer who lives in Quebec City. The Journal of Citizen #R7263 will be a daily account of her life behind the fence during the Summit of the Americas and the People’s Summit of the Americas.