Montreal Grand Prix met by Nude Protesters

Hundreds shed their clothes in Montreal to protest tuition hikes and draconian laws

They came in hundreds to protest in downtown Montreal at the start of the Grand Prix race in June 7, 2012 Then many of them stripped to strategically placed red squares or nothing at all.

In Tehran when students protested the elections in 2009, the police arrested and shot people. Western governments protested the police actions. When it happens in Canada, the English media whip themselves into a frenzy of anti-student and anti-Quebec bigotry.

Montrealers protest in the nude (photo G. Morel Creative Commons)

The Government of Quebec is bringing out the inventive streak in Montrealers. When large marches were banned, ordinary people took to the streets banging pots similar to the Acadian Tintamarre festival.

Lawyers, civil servants and housewives were banging on pots and pans to protest the new laws that forbid assembly.

Whenever the protests approached the restaurant and bars along Crescent and Peel Streets on Thursday night, the police pushed them back from the Grand Prix party goers. The people in restaurants obliged by getting out their smart phones and taking pictures.

Police arrested people wearing the black masks or hoods and those using umbrellas to escape photography from the police helicopters.

“All evening, sports cars revved their engines, police sirens blared, helicopters hovered, riot police marched in formation through crowded streets, semi-nude and nude students paraded, and pot-bangers joined the cacophony, while tourists dined in sidewalk cafes, taking it all in. Police arrested at least 39 people, but no injuries were reported. Throughout the evening, police used pepper spray, batons, brute force and sound grenades to disperse the crowds. Things only settled down at about 11 p.m. when a steady rain set in.” The Montreal Gazette

“There were brief clashes between some of the demonstrators and police. Pepper spray was used on a crowd of protesters as some of them tried to enter a public party on Peel Street. Later in the same area, officers set off a flashbang to disperse a crowd. Tear gas was also reportedly used by police. Throughout the evening, phalanxes of truncheon-wielding police chased groups of protesters through downtown streets, shoving those who didn’t move fast enough, striking a few with their batons and arresting a handful of others.”

“The tumult began at around 6 p.m., as a group of about 300 protesters moved toward the F1 party for race teams and officials. Several protesters gathered at the St. Henri site donned masks, violating a recently adopted bylaw forbidding face coverings at demonstrations. The bylaw outlaws an entire demonstration if even a few participants are masked, and Montreal police moved swiftly to kettle the crowd.” CBC by Huffington Post.

Grateful thanks to the photographers who shared on Flickr with Creative Commons licenses (some rights reserved).

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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