Canadians sure are a creative and quirky bunch. In Montreal there have been riots for over four months by University students and last night they decided to try something different in order to regain the attention of the media. They protested in the nude, or almost nude. Hundreds of protesters rocked the streets of Montreal Thursday night, as police used stun grenades and truncheons to prevent them from confronting Formula One parties.
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.
Montreal police mean business, but protesters are showing them where they can shove it.
Throughout the night, police hunted groups of protesters through downtown streets, shoving those who didn’t move fast enough, beating some with their batons and arresting others.
“Why are we being held here? Did we do anything wrong?” one woman yelled at police, who did not reply.
Protesters chanted “Dans la rue, avec nous” “In the streets with us, in the nude”
Over 700 people marched downtown, chanting dans la rue, avec nous — “in the streets with us,” a slogan that, intentionally or not, played on the French word nu for “naked.”
Although we can’t show it here, many in the crowd wore just underwear or were totally naked. Quebec news channel LCN even interviewed three naked men on live TV, with their private parts in full frame (go Canada!)
Montreal Formula One Grand Prix and the wealthy that attend are the target of demonstration.
In the past few weeks, protesters have threatened to do their best to interrupt the Montreal Formula One Grand Prix, one of the biggest tourist events in Canada.
The Grand Prix race usually attracts 300,000 people, including hundreds of wealthy tourists who pay up to several thousand dollars for tickets to the event. This year’s F1 event has also become a focal point in Quebec’s nearly four-month-long student uprising, which began as a battle over tuition fees but has evolved into a broader ideological and social struggle.
Montreal has been the site of daily, often turbulent, street protests.
We wish the Montreal people well and we hope nobody is too roughed up in the protests this weekend.