100+ arrests as protesters and police clash in May Day demonstration
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2012 10:37PM EDT
MONTREAL - Over 100 people have been arrested after anti-capitalist protesters gathered with students in a May Day march Tuesday in what quickly became a violent clash with police.
May Day protest turns ugly
Of the arrests during the anti-capitalist march, 75 were for unlawful assembly, while the remaining 34 were for criminal acts, said police.
In what's now become a familiar scene in Montreal, protesters smashed windows, and tossed objects at police, and officers responded with chemical irritants, rubber bullets and billy clubs. One person was hurt.
Police released chemical irritants on the crowd, which began to disperse at Saint-Louis Square off St-Denis St. in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Protesters then began to gather at Emilie-Gamelin Park near Berri-UQAM metro in a tense standoff with police, which was later diffused.
The earlier protest included masked and unmasked demonstrators of all stripes, who gathered at Champ de Mars in Old Montreal Tuesday afternoon. They amassed to speak out against various issues, including tuition hikes, the Quebec government and labour inequities.
Several hundred protesters were on the move, but did not reveal their route to police.
The afternoon protest was organized by the Convergence des luttes anti-capitalistes (CLAC) as part of a global protest marking International Workers' Day.
The May Day march was described on the website of one group as part of a more ambitious plan.
"We call for an unlimited general strike, because we do not want to be the oil that drives the gears of capitalism," said the CLAC website.
"We will be the iron bar that will derail it!"
Protesters threw chunks of asphalt, bottles and sticks at police. They also mocked police by dangling donuts in front of them, off of makeshift fishing rods. At least a half-dozen windows were smashed at one bank on Ste-Catherine Street.
Police responded by pumping chemical irritants into the crowd and used riot gear to try dispersing the protesters -- a reaction some marchers called excessive.
Demonstrations also took place across Canada, including a march to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office in Ottawa.
Student demos continue
In Montreal, an earlier student protest took place in front of Premier Jean Charest's office to show ongoing frustration over increasing tuition fees.
Yet another peaceful student march began at the park at 8:30 p.m., the eighth in eight consecutive nights. To get real-time updates of the march, follow the Montreal police on Twitter, or the hashtag #manifencours. Two more were arrested in that student march.
On Tuesday, student groups FECQ and FEUQ proposed a seven-point counter-offer to the province's planned tuition hikes. Education Minister Line Beauchamp called the offer disappointing.
Victoriaville mayor pleads for calm
Meantime, Victoriaville Mayor Alain Rayes is pleading for calm in a video he has posted online.
Charest decided to move this weekend's Liberal meeting to Victoriaville from Montreal in hopes it would reduce disruptions.
Student group CLASSE has said buses will be at the ready to transport students to the event.
With a report from The Canadian Press