Sunday, February 10, 2013
Canada - Police cruisers vandalized at Montreal protest over job fair
The familiar sight of young protesters clashing with police in Montreal made a reappearance Friday, although the demonstration centred on a different cause than last year’s.
The scene in downtown Montreal was reminiscent of numerous street marches last year in which students resisted tuition hikes. But this time the protesters, who were smaller in number than at last year’s huge marches, opposed current plans to extract resources in northern Quebec. Many in the crowd of several dozen protesters wore the red squares associated with last year’s student strikes. A number were masked. Police said three cruisers were vandalized while riot cops chased away the demonstrators from a convention centre, eventually dispersing them.
They had been protesting at a job fair designed to promote opportunities in the natural-resources sector. Police declared the gathering illegal as soon as it began because no route for the march had been given to police beforehand. A small number of protesters, some carrying sticks and rocks, broke away from the main mob and moved toward the convention centre where the job fair was taking place. They pounded on the windows of the convention centre and someone began spray-painting the words, “Idle No More.”
Police said the cruisers were damaged after the crowd was told to disperse. The two-day convention is being sponsored by the Metropolitan Montreal Board of Trade. A news release said visitors would get a chance to network and discover job opportunities that would allow them to work in what was described as a “dynamic” sector. Mining giant Rio Tinto Alcan, engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, and the pipeline company Enbridge were included on the list of oil, gas and mining companies taking part in the event