Thousands Gather in Front of Quebec Premier’s Office During Anti-Austerity Demonstration

Thousands of protesters converged outside of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard’s office at McGill College Ave. and Sherbrooke St. on Tuesday to denounce funding cutbacks to the public sector.

The demonstration was a part of an ongoing week of strikes and protests against the provincial Liberal government’s austerity agenda. More than 1,200 organizations participated in actions across the province throughout the day, according to the Coalition des Tables Régionales d’Organismes Communautaires.

In Montreal, the large crowd was comprised of a diverse coalition of unions and community organizations, from the Services Juridiques Communautaires to Personnes Handicapées pour l’Accès aux Services, CEGEP associations to Cuisines et Vie Collectives St-Roch.

The crowd’s message was one of a hopeful prescription for society as much as it was a denunciation of the status quo. For every picket sign that displayed a red dollar sign, there appeared one that brandished a red heart.

As the large crowd gathered at the foot of Couillard’s office building on McGill College Ave., loudspeakers mounted on a small truck blared speeches by union leaders, who called on the premier to restore public funding to the public sector.

The march followed shortly after with chants emanating from the truck that rolled meagerly ahead of the crowd east on Sherbrooke St. Amused onlookers smiled at the noisy display while some joined the march. Cars crawling by honked in support.

Police presence was light, although the police cars close-by shadowed the anarchist Industrial Workers of the World contingent, who donned all black and carried large black and red flags.

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