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Quebec Student Protestors Target Montreal Grand Prix

Quebec Student Protestors Target Montreal Grand Prix

Well, you can’t say Montreal doesn’t know how put on a show for the Grand Prix weekend.

Student protestors demonstrating against tuition fee hikes in Quebec this week targeted Montreal’s biggest tourism weekend: The Formula 1 Grand Prix. The GP is vital to Montreal’s tourist industry, an industry already hurting from the effects of months-long protests across the province. 300,000 people are expected to make the trek to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve over the three-day event, spending on hotels, restaurants and shops to the tune of $100 million in between jaunts to the grandstands.

But protestors are doing their best to rain on the parade (don’t they know that rain makes for a good race?). Threats of protests caused race organizers to cancel the popular Open Pit day on Wednesday, the day fans are given free access to wander around the track and see the race cars up close. Undeterred, the groups made their chanting way towards Montreal’s Crescent street, the focus of the Grand Prix nightlife with restaurants, bars and patios jammed with tourists and F1 stars. “1-2-3-4, this is f—ing class war”, they chanted. “5-6-7-8, overthrow this fascist state!” Police attempted to stop the protestors from entering the street, kettling the group and bringing out the pepper spray in order to subdue the crowd. Police made several arrests, but protestors vow to return and disrupt as much as possible.

The contrast could not be more stark. Students protesting tuition fees and claiming fascism in the face of the champagne-sipping Ferrari-driving Formula 1 glitterati. The cost of an individual part on a Formula 1 car is probably more money than the tuition fee increase itself. There are, however, more similarities between the two groups than the protestors might like to think: visitors to Montreal on Grand Prix weekend also like to partake in some of the more exotic offerings on Rue Ste Catherine, while the protestors seemed to be doing the same thing.

Protestors are objecting to government plans to raise tuition fees in Quebec by up to 75%. Fees at Quebec universities are currently the lowest in Canada, and would still be among the lowest with the hike.


Related Stories:

Tuition Hike Protests in Quebec: Entitlement Mentality or Legitimate Outrage?

Quebec Attempts to Quash Students’ Free Speech with New Law

Viral Video of Quebec ‘Pots and Pans’ Protesters

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3:11PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Not real smart of those students. Hurting tourist revenues only'll cause tax collections to fall. Less tax dollars, higher tuition. And since even with the hike their tuition'll still be among the lowest in the country, they don't seem to have much of a case.

2:54PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

I've never really understood the appeal of the Grand Prix - just a bunch of fast cars driving around the same track for a couple of hours. I wouldn't miss it if it left Montreal...

1:20PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012


12:00PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

The oligarchy will bail out the banksters and WS gamblers but not our children. Another reason we need decentralized direct democracy.

10:41AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Good for them, lets see if the big media is going ti hide this protest like they do with the OWS...

10:37AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

They are nothing but spoiled BRATS in bed with the big corrupt unions!!!

10:06AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

It is a shame that people in this country can't take the time to stand against the dismantling of our educational system.

10:01AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

It is a shame that people in this country can't take the time to stand against the dismantling of our educational system.

12:57PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Changes Are Good

10:38AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

There is more to this protest than meets the eye. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the current leadership in Quebec. Corruption in local governments, particularly in the construction industry that has alienated the population to the point that they are marching in the streets regardless of the purported reason.

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