Thousands Take to the Street to Demand Action on Climate Change
Montrealers Join International “People’s Climate March”
Several thousand people marched in Montreal on Sunday in solidarity with the People’s Climate March in New York City. Held to coincide with the U.N. Climate Summit, the march’s goal was to “bend the course of history,” according to its organizing group, 350.org.
A student contingent left from Concordia University at 12 p.m. to join Montreal’s march at Lafontaine Park.
“This is the beginning of a larger mobilization to rid ourselves of the fossil fuel economy we know is largely responsible for climate change,” said Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, the Concordia Student Union’s VP External and Mobilization.
The demonstrators leaving Concordia hit a bump, however, when patrol cars surrounded them and forced them onto the sidewalk.
“Get onto the sidewalk! You’re obstructing traffic!” police officers said from their cars.
Despite being relegated to the sidewalk, the students continued to walk on Ste. Catherine Street. Holding signs bearing statements like “Frack off Gasholes!” and “Pipeline = Climate Crime,” they made their way to the main event, arriving around 1:30 p.m.
“The Energy East pipeline is a national catastrophe,” Bernard Roy of the Quebec Association for the Fight Against Atmospheric Pollution said.
The association was one of a diverse roster of organizations present at the march.
The Montreal Raging Grannies, a group that lends its voice to various social injustices, sang to express their disenchantment with the tar sands and hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” a technique of oil extraction.
Demonstrators filed out of the park around 2:30 p.m., preceded by electric cars and police cruisers. Heading the demonstration was a marching band and a troupe performing a “silent disco.”
The dancers, dressed in colorful costumes, some as frogs and others as flowers, added a festive air to the protest despite the persistent drizzle.
The march continued on La Fontaine St. to Ontario St., and wound its way up Park Avenue.
“Electrify our transport!” chanted the crowd, referring to electric energy. “Electrify Harper!” a few participants added jokingly.
The protest came to an end in Jeanne-Mance Park around 4 p.m. Protesters formed a circle around the marching band with many dancing as the music played, some even playing a game of Ring Around the Rosie.