Responding to calls on social media and on the Coalition Large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) online events calendar, around 250 protesters gathered at Phillips Square on Tuesday morning for a “Méga Manif-Action” with the intent of causing economic disruption in Montreal’s city center.
At around 7:40 a.m., demonstrators marched south in two groups toward the World Trade Centre Montreal (Centre de Commerce Mondial de Montréal). Protesters blocked all entrances to the Centre, preventing its workers from entering.
Protesters also formed blockades at the intersection of Saint-Jacques and Square-Victoria streets. At Square-Victoria, around fifteen SPVM officers in riot gear arrived and formed a line facing protesters. The protesters advanced and taunted police. Many were masked and carried goggles.
A reinforcement of approximately ten officers joined the face-off at around 8:40.
At 8:45, the SPVM declared the march illegal in response to an expulsion request from the Montreal World Trade Centre management. Protesters were asked to disperse. Police rushed the demonstrators five minutes later and succeeded in removing them from the street.
One protester who had taken refuge from the police in a doorway was harassed by workers waiting to enter the center. “Here’s another one,” a man called to oncoming police. “Get a job,” added another person nearby.
The protesters then gathered on Bleury near Viger and marched north. Pyrotechnic materials were launched. The group dispersed when it came back to Phillips Square.
The event’s Facebook page expressed anger at the result of last week’s negotiations, saying in French, “Nothing is being done by the government except for its ‘offer’, which is really more of an insult.”
Displeasure with the negotiated offer, which will be voted on in general assemblies throughout the week, continues to inspire nightly protests departing from Parc Émile-Gamelin. Monday night’s march drew 2000 and was largely peaceful.