Earth Day Protest Fizzles Out
Anti-Capitalism Protest Ends in Disappointment with Police Presence and Small Numbers
A legal protest against capitalism and austerity ended in under 30 minutes in the Berri-UQÀM metro underground as a police presence deterred the assembly on Earth Day.
The demo was the latest in a string of protests denouncing the provincial government’s recent cuts to education as well as the federal government’s environmental policies. Organizers provided their itinerary in advance as per municipal bylaws.
The protesters began marching at around 6:30 p.m., heading east on Ste. Catherine St. from Place des Arts. The police presence was almost equivalent to the number of protesters. They flanked the march on all sides, after having told demonstrators to walk in the direction of traffic.
Blocked off from exiting Berri square, the group of protesters eventually filed into the Berri-UQÀM metro station, remaining loud despite the police’s efforts to quell their presence.
“The police don’t understand the point of a protest, which is to disrupt,” said Manuel Falardeau, a high school student.
Falardeau is expectant of the the police’s tendency to herd protest marches around the Émilie Gamelin Park area.
“What we want is to send a message, and it’s not by walking around a park that we’re going to do it,” Falardeau said. “People just get discouraged and end up not coming.”
“This protest went poorly,” said Béatrice Cuierrier-Legault, another highschooler. “The police should allow us more freedom to march where we want.”
“It’s disappointing because the (protest) itinerary was given to the police as per the city’s requirements, but they still force us through a short, looping route,” she said.
Chanting continued in the underground tunnels as protesters marched towards UQÀM’s underground area. By then, the initial group had diminished by half.
Eventually, the protest ended with no arrests or major disruptions.
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