Hundreds of protesters clashed with police for a second day in downtown Montreal on Saturday, demanding an end to the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) iteration of the Plan Nord – an $80-billion plan to develop northern Quebec. Snowballs were hurled at police lines around the Palais des Congrès – where a trade show connected to the Plan Nord was being held – who responded with batons and plastic bullets.
A window of the Palais was smashed at around 9:40 a.m., and a flare was fired inside.
One family from Saint-Basile told The Daily that they were protesting against the environmental effects of the Plan. An oil pipeline is slated to be built one kilometre away from their home.
“The pipeline is crossing the Richelieu river upstream from where the water is drawn. It passes through fields, and has about 30 breaks per year. They never tell anyone,” they said.
Demonstrators circled the Palais de Congrès for hours in a cat-and-mouse game with police. At one point, a protester tried to enter the job fair through an unlocked side door, but was arrested moments later by charging police. Several police officers were seen kicking and shoving nearby demonstrators who had slipped during the chase.
Several targeted arrests were made, including up to 13 individuals near the job fair. The protesters were later held inside the Palais.
After dispersing the crowd, police vans patrolled the downtown area and confronted scattered groups of protesters.
36 people were arrested in total, according to police.
–with files from Jacob Greenspon