Home News Anti-capitalist activists march in rainy May Day protest

Anti-capitalist activists march in rainy May Day protest

by Savanna Craig May 2, 2017
Anti-capitalist activists march in rainy May Day protest

One person arrested amid multiple peaceful protests in Montreal

Activists marched from the streets of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to downtown Montreal denouncing capitalism in the annual May Day protest on Monday, May 1.

May Day—also known as International Workers’ Day or Labour Day in certain countries—honours the struggles and working conditions of the working class, promotes anti-capitalism and is supported by various anarchist, socialist and communist groups worldwide.

Activist fills the air with a green smog ahead of the crowd as they march along Ontario street. Photo by Savanna Craig.

One group of about 50 anti-capitalist supporters initially gathered outside Frontenac metro station in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district around 5:30 p.m., while a small band played a melody with trumpets, flutes and a drum.

This particular march was organized by the Syndicat industriel des travailleurs et travailleuses de Montréal-Industrial Workers of the World (SITT-IWW), a working-class union with the mission of improving working conditions and creating worker-driven workplaces, communities and industries, according to the SITT-IWW website.

A large cloud of red smoke from a smoke bomb filled the air as the protesters at Frontenac metro were joined by another march that had originated elsewhere. The combined crowd of approximately 150 people marched along Ontario Street, cheering and chanting.

Officers marched along each side of the manifestation. Photo by Savanna Craig.

“Tout le monde déteste la police,” marchers cried out, which translates to “everyone hates the police.” As participants howled in unison, a line of police officers marched on either side of the protest, and cops on bicycles rode ahead and followed behind the crowd.

Protesters continued to set off smoke bombs throughout the march, filing the air with yellow, red, blue and green smoke. In addition to the haze of smoke that hovered above the crowd, protesters were soaked by alternating light and heavy rainfall.

Approaching the downtown core, protesters continued to chant against capitalist agendas as they marched through lanes of traffic along René Lévesque Boulevard. “Police de Montréal: milice du capital,” they shouted—‘Montreal police: capital militia’ in English.

All three protests eventually converged in Phillips Square. Photo by Savanna Craig.

As participants headed towards Phillips Square, they were greeted by another May Day march that had begun mobilizing in the square.

Just before the two groups joined forces, one protester was arrested for the alleged armed assault of a Montreal police officer, according to the SPVM’s Twitter feed. The SPVM also reported that no one was injured during the march.

SPVM Officers guard SPVM station 20 on Ste Catherine street. Photo by Savanna Craig.

As the march continued along Ste. Catherine Street, a police bus and a row SPVM officers stood guard in front of the SPVM’s Station 20 near Concordia University. To avoid approaching the station, protesters turned down Bishop Street, heading back towards René Lévesque. A protester fired a flare into the air, and one participant used their phone’s speaker to play N.W.A’s “Fuck Tha Police.”

The rain began to pour more heavily and the streets filled with large puddles as the crowd of now almost 300 people headed towards the Plateau.

The beat of a drum rumbled through the crowd as the march neared UQAM. When the march drew to a close around 9 p.m. on the corner of Kimberley and Ste. Catherine Street, the crowd erupted into cheers before many headed into the Place-des-Arts metro station.

The march concluded at Place-des-Arts station. Photo by Savanna Craig.

The march concluded at Place-des-Arts station. Photo by Savanna Craig.

SPVM officers followed the protesters into the metro, and the drumming and cheering continued as people waited on the platforms. It wasn’t until the doors closed and the metro cars pulled away from the station that the march officially ended and silence fell at Place-des-Arts station.

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