Montrealers mark somber Polytechnique anniversary

White ribbons bear the names of each of the 14 victims of the Polytechnique massacre.
Patrick Lejtenyi/CJAD

An sad annual ritual took place on the steps of the Montreal courthouse today — the commemoration of the Polytechnique massacre of Dec.6, 1989.

The names of the 14 women murdered in the school's hallways and classrooms that night were read aloud, followed by a minute of silence.

The massacre of women by Marc Lépine marked a crucial turning point in the women's movement in Canada, as well as for gun control advocates.

For women's groups this day is a constant reminder of the threats half the population faces, often at the hands of someone close to them.

Alexa Conradi of the Quebec's women federation says gun violence is just one of the most obvious dangers to women.

"When you see sexist advertising, when you see women making less money than men...those are conditions that make women's lives more dangerous," Conradi says.

She adds that courts and police services also need to be more responsive to women's needs.

Women's groups also decried the federal Conservative government for eliminating the long gun registry — a direct legacy of the massacre — and for continuing the fight against Quebec's attempt to preserve the province's data for a gun registry of its own.

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