MONTREAL -- One year after the September 27, 2019 demonstration that brought together hundreds of thousands of people in downtown Montreal, a coalition of militant groups gathered in the streets of the metropolis for Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

At around 1 p.m., several hundred people gathered at Place du Canada, at the intersection of Peel St. and René-Lévesque Blvd. to start the demonstration, which headed east on Sherbrooke St.

Among other things, the pandemic appears to have eclipsed the fight against climate change, and activist organizations are banking on the convergence of struggles to breathe new life into the movement.

The coalition is calling for carbon neutrality by 2030, but also the regularization of migrant rights in Canada and Quebec, the full and complete recognition of Indigenous right to self-determination and the defunding, demilitarization and the decolonization of police services.

Co-spokesperson for the Student Coalition for an Environmental and Social Shift (CEVES) Lylou Sehili does not believe that bringing together different social protests in the same movement is detrimental to climate mobilization.

"There may be people who are going to be afraid, but these causes go hand-in-hand. Everything is connected, everything comes from the same system of oppression," she said.

"These police forces operate on the principles of an oppressive state, the colonization made on the lands of the Wet'suwet'en nation in British Columbia to exploit oil. It is the same oppression that is present in the SPVM (Montreal police) report, which indicates that Natives are more likely to be subjected to police arrests."

Sehili said it is necessary to review the system as a whole.

"We cannot exclude social justice from the climate fight," she said.

The vast majority of the demonstrators wore face coverings, and organizers insisted sanitary measures be respected.

"COVID-19 is a public health situation, but so is climate change," said Sehili, adding that volunteers "really insist on respecting health measures."

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2020.