First Anti-Austerity Demo of Season Illegal but Peaceful

Police presence was high, but there were no serious clashes. Many officers were in full gear, wielding batons and tear gas guns.

The march launched from Parc des Faubourgs, near the headquarters of numerous organizations that are considered to be close to the issue of austerity.

James Bujolb, 21, is a UQAM student of political science and history. He explained why they chose to commence the march so close to organizations like the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux and La Fédération Nationale D’Éducation.

“It’s for show. It’s to let them know that we’re still here, and they need to start doing what they promised they’d do in the fall,” Bujolb said. “They promised actual mobilization in the fall. They promised a popular struggle, not just a student crisis, but for teachers, workers.”

“That’s what we need. We need the common man to join us our here to prove [to the] government that it’s not just a fringe group of students.”

Bujolb also commented on the high police presence.

“You know there’s racial profiling, we know there’s sexual profiling, [and] there is political profiling. I think that’s the next big issue,” he said.

He compared police presence at anti-austerity demonstrations to a march that took place last week that was tackling a daycare issue. Despite the fact that last week’s march was technically illegal, there was no SPVM presence, according to Bujolb.

“What kind of society do you live in if you can’t even assemble to express your thoughts anymore,” he said. “We’re getting closer to a totalitarian state, and there’s a lot of police profiling.”

Activism that revolves around students, international workers or the communist party tends to increase police presence, he continued.

There was a small clash on St-Catherine St. in front of UQAM, when protesters tried to pass a police blockade. The situation deescalated.

The majority of demonstrators were dispersed at Berri metro, but a small group reconvened at Frontenac metro.

After a short march, the police announced the end of the protest near the corner of Germain St. and Adam St.

Video by Matt D’Amours