Street Party on Maisonneuve

Police Said Go But Peaceful Protest Continued

Photo Corey Pool

A couple hundred Concordia students gathered on de Maisonneuve Blvd. outside the Hall Building in a flash mob that blocked traffic during rush hour on March 20.

The road had been blocked since earlier in the morning as groups of students occupied the street while singing, dancing, holding workshops and discussion groups.

“The police have pretty much been here all day. I don’t think that anyone really called them in so much as they just finally got fed up,” said CSU VP External Chad Walcott. “They want us to go because this is a main artery of the city and it’s rush hour. Our answer is no.”

At 4:00 p.m., just as the provincial budget was being announced in Quebec City, the small group of students received a message from police: unblock the road, or risk the possibility of being arrested.

“They approached me and basically said, you can either leave or be arrested, so I called a general assembly of the people that were present to give them the information and they decided to stay,” said Walcott.

After deciding to stay, the group took to chanting, singing and flashing signs at the two or three police that were stationed at the corner of de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Bishop St.

Several witnesses reported that a small group of riot police and up to 10 police cruisers and riot vans were seen waiting on adjacent streets.

Though police would not make an official comment, they did explain that the students would eventually have to leave, and a negotiation would have to be met.

“We really haven’t done anything wrong,” said Walcott. “We’re a bit annoying, but aside from that we aren’t hurting anyone–we’re just having a party.”

After several hours the protest dispersed peacefully.

The flash mob was only one of several different demonstrations that took place in Montreal on Tuesday as students continued actions against raising tuition fees.

Both the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Champlain Bridge were blocked earlier in the day, resulting in multiple arrests and fines.

Students also led a march from Concordia to Interim President Frederick Lowy’s condo on Doctor Penfield Ave., where a “teach-in” took place, followed by a symbolic auction of the president’s condo.

With files from Brian Lapuz.