Tear Gas, Stun Grenades End Anti-Austerity Protest

Police used tear gas and stun grenades on anti-austerity protesters Thursday afternoon, after protesters continued to march past the end of the official protest organized by Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ).

“[Tear gas] struck someone beside me. My eyes stung a bit because it was in really close proximity to me,” Concordia student Katerina Sevelka told The Link.

According to Montreal police media relations officer Laurent Gingras, protesters threw projectiles at police officers, who responded by using tear gas.

Many protesters were struck with batons by police as well after riot police came to reinforce a standoff between protesters and police on Maisonneuve and Beaudry at around 3:30 p.m..

Police suddenly started spraying tear gas and charging, hitting people with batons. The Link saw one cop smash the window at the back of a van and then push an injured-looking protester into it.

The protest, which was estimated by organizers to be around 75,000 people, had been peaceful until that point. Multiple student associations and labour unions joined the protest, including the Quebec province-wide labour union, the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.

The protest started out in Square Victoria in Old Montreal at 1 p.m. before winding its way up to Sherbrooke and finally arriving at Place Emilie Gamelin near Berri Metro, around 3 p.m.

“ASSÉ considers austerity to be an ideological measure which aims to dismantle the welfare state [to the] benefit of private corporations,” ASSÉ Mobilization Committee member Benjamin Gingras told The Link. “This is directly affecting the quality of life of the entire population of Quebec.”

At press time, there were still protesters at Place Emilie Gamelin.

with files from Willie Wilson @williewilson39

Anti-Austerity Protest Video by Laura Lalonde

Arrest Video by Alannah Lavoie