Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day Protests in Canada

Several hundred public sector workers staged a demonstration outside Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office in Ottawa to protest the government austerity measures. They sang, chanted, and listened to speeches. There was no violence. Some demonstrators sported buttons that read "Stephen Harper hates me!" Union officials reported that a group of students were prevented from crossing into Ontario to join in the protest. Ottawa is just across the river from Hull Quebec. I really do not understand how the students would be prevented from joining the protest.

In Toronto there was a rally at a city square around 11 AM but the crowd was not large. However, they were entertained by a street theater group. The CBC reported that police outnumbered protesters. The protest group also plans a re-occupation event this evening which will last for a day.

There were also protests in Winnipeg Manitoba, Halifax Nova Scotia, Edmonton and Calgary Alberta and Vancouver B.C. and Windsor Ontario In Montreal Quebec a new conference of leaders of two student groups was disrupted by masked hecklers. The two student groups were presenting an alternative to the concessions offered by the Quebec government. A third more radical student group did not attend the news conference. There has been considerable conflict within the student protest movement. In recent protests the minority who engage in vandalism have been roundly booed by the majority of protesters.

A later May Day march resulted in smashed windows and conflict with police. The police in turn used chemical irritants, rubber bullets, billy clubs , and tear gas in response. Dozens of arrests were made. For more detail see this article from Global News.

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