MONTREAL - Across Montreal and in other cities in Quebec, protesters came out in a countless number of 'casserole' protests against the provincial government.

In some places by the dozen, in others by the hundreds, Groups of people stood on balconies, in parks, and in the streets to bang pots and pans together as a symbol of opposition to Bill 78, the emergency legislation passed last week to limit mass protest and permit students to return to classes..

"Les Casseroles" were heard in Quebec City, Longueuil, St. Jerome and St. Eustache.

"It's a social revolution in Quebec, we need it," said one protester.

The pot-banging protests originated in 1971 in Chile to oppose food and supply shortages caused by the policies of President Salvador Allende.

They resumed in the 1980s to oppose the military dictatorship of Auguste Pinochet.

Here in Quebec protests are short -- usually 15 to 45 minutes, but that is too much for some commuters to tolerate.

"I was supposed to be in Laval about 10 minutes ago, but I'm stuck here," said one man sitting in his car.

Police received at least two complaints of drivers trying to run down protesters.

Meanwhile two large marches rambled through the streets of Montreal, both declared illegal by police at the outset but with officers making no attempt to stop the thousands of ambulatory demonstrators.

The protest marches, the largest about 5,000-strong, ended around 2 a.m.

Police in Montreal arrested four people for what they called isolated incidents.

Pirate vs. Ninja afternoon costume march

The march was preceded by another march held downtown under a blazing hot sun.

A few hundred marchers walked together downtown Thursday afternoon in a costumed march which saw some defy the mask ban by keeping their faces covered.

The march was themed "ninjas versus pirates" and included many protesters clad in either bandanas on their foreheads or full face masks.

The face masks were presumably sported as an intentional violation of the recently-passed P-6 bylaw which bans face coverings in marches, as well as Bill 78 and the tuition hikes.

Only a few of the protesters kept their faces covered, however.

The march was organized by the CLASSE student group and saw the groups split off in two and reunite later around Sherbrooke and Mount Pleasant in sunny and blazing hot weather conditions.

The protesters tossed confetti and chanted slogans after stopping at the corner of Westmount Ave. and Victoria, not far from where Premier Charest lives.

A line of police officers blocked access to Victoria, leading the protest to remain stationary at the intersection.

The protest remained peaceful and otherwise uneventful. (See brief video below).