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Student shocks Canada with stunt inside parliament

Monday June 06, 2011 10:47:57 AM, Gurmukh Singh, IANS

Toronto: A young Canadian woman has become an instant national celebrity by pulling off a protest stunt against Prime Minister Stephen Harper inside parliament.

Brigette DePape, 21, stunned the Senate by raising 'Stop Harper' banner and disrupting the speech by the governor-general to open the first session of the new parliament Friday. The young woman, employed as a page in parliament, said she raised the sign 'Stop Harper' to protest the prime minister's agenda on environment, defence, tax and other issues.

She had smuggled the protest banner inside by hiding it in her skirt.

DePape was arrested and fired from her job. A page is someone employed to run errands or carry messages in parliament in North America. They are mostly students who work with legislature during summer holidays.

The protester said the prime minister's agenda is "extremely harmful" for Canada. "We need to challenge the assumption that democracy happens only once every four years. Real democracy happens in our everyday lives and in everyday actions.''

As the young student became an instant celebrity, she got many offers of job.

Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore came out in her support and urged Canadians to back her.

The maker of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' also posted the photo of DePape's protest on his website.

"For a young person to do that and to do it peacefully, and quietly and with grace, I thought it was a very powerful moment," Moore told the Canadian Press.

"Every now and then there is an iconic moment where an individual takes action, and it inspires others to think about, you know, what else would we be doing."

The young protester's mother said she was proud of her daughter.

"It is only through these inappropriate actions that we will challenge the status quo. If it weren't for non-violent direct action taken by women for the right to vote, as a woman, I wouldn't have been able to vote in the last election,'' the mother said.



(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

 




 


 

 

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