Riot Cops End Student Vigil

Protesters Gather After Student Hit by Stun Grenade

Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks
Photo Riley Sparks

A student vigil was violently broken up by riot cops near Berri-UQAM the night of March 7.

“The protest was on Ste Catherine St., and took refuge next to the Berri UQAM metro,” said a student protester, asked to be identified only as Max.

“We took some candles and lit them up. We were peaceful.”

But whatever their intentions, things rapidly escalated.

“The SWAT [riot cops] arrived and started shoving everybody,” said Max, who claimed there was no warning issued prior to the violence.

The vigil started at 9:00 p.m. and was organized after St. Jérôme Cegep student Francis Grenier was severely injured in the eye earlier that day during a protest.

“We don’t know yet if his eye could be saved,” wrote CLASSE spokeperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in an email to The Link.

Grenier, who remains hospitalized, was injured during a student protest that started at the CREPUQ offices and was later dispersed by the SPVM.

Due to numerous ongoing demonstrations, the SPVM was unable to comment but stated that two people were arrested during the vigil.

ASSE was also unavailable at press time.

Watch the video below by The Link reporter Pierre Chauvin to see the police intervention at the vigil. Our photojournalist, Riley Sparks, was confronted by police at the 1:00 minute mark.

Today, a follow-up vigil took to the streets of Montreal, the fourth student demonstration in a 24-hour period.

Those in the crowd gathered for International Women’s Day, anti-police brutality and Israeli Apartheid Week demonstrated alongside students against tuition hikes.

“We’re here today fighting tuition [hikes] and gathering for International Women’s Day,” said Audrey Pilon, a student at CÉGEP Vieux-Montreal.

“We combined the two together to support people that aren’t able to go to university,” she said.

The unplanned protest worked its way peacefully from Concordia University to Berri-UQAM Metro station and into the east end of the city. Protesters marched under the Jacques Cartier Bridge and went to the Hydro-Quebec building that students had marched to the day before. A pile of roses were laid at the feet of police lined up at the entrance of the building before the group headed back toward downtown.

Protesters reconvened at Concordia University outside of Norman Bethune Square around 6:00 p.m. before heading back to Berri Square, where another vigil is being planned for 8:00 p.m. tonight.

More to come.