Montreal police shut down an anti-capitalist protest in Montreal Tuesday evening as police and protesters clashed on May Day.

Police said at least five people were arrested and charged with crimes including assaulting police, police obstruction and mischief.

Witnesses described a volatile scene, saying police hit protesters with batons and set off tear gas and demonstrators, in return, were igniting fireworks and launching rocks.

Three different events were taking place Tuesday throughout the city as part of the annual demonstration for workers' rights and anti-capitalism.

Police ordered the public to avoid Lafontaine Park and the nearby area as policed the protest led by the Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes de Montréal (CLAC) that began at 6 p.m.


More protesters were at Phillips Square downtown, also accompanied by a heavy police presence. That march began at about 7 p.m., and police say officers were assaulted and two people were taken into custody there.

By the end of the night officers had arrested two men aged 38 and 26, a 17-year-old male, and a 21-year-old woman.

A sixth person was stopped for violating a municipal bylaw.

A third demonstration, which began in the city's Park Extension neighbourhood at about 4.30 p.m., was peaceful.

A helicopter surveilled the city as protests took place and the SQ riot squad assisted Montreal police in shutting down the unruly events.

All events were wrapped up by 10 p.m.