Students shed their shirts in protest

Protesters strut their stuff at the semi-nude May 4 demonstration. Photo by writer.
Protesters strut their stuff at the semi-nude May 4 demonstration. Photo by writer.

Approximately 4,000 protesters stripped down as they took to the streets of downtown Montreal for the 10th night in a row on Thursday.

A sea of red unmentionables travelled alongside other protesters for several hours as they continued to denounce the provincial government’s tuition hikes.

The semi-nude protest started at approximately 7 p.m. and eventually merged with a second protest around 9 p.m. at Place Émilie Gamelin. The movement made its way through the downtown core to the Plateau Mont Royal and Mile-End and eventually to Outremont. Towards the end, demonstrators made their presence known outside Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s house.

A confrontation took place between protesters and riot police in front of the mayor’s home, where projectiles were thrown at the police and chemical irritants were used to control the movement.

Shortly after the protest was declared illegal, but people marched past midnight, heading back toward Place Émilie Gamelin.

The event was publicized on La Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante’s website and other social media outlets. Protesters were invited to dress down in order to support the fight against the tuition increase and gather attention to their cause. The description on CLASSE’s website read:

“Because all tactics have been used, because [Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp] continue to ignore us, because Tremblay does not want any more masked protesters, because it’s spring, because nudity is catchy…”

Although it is illegal to be nude in public, demonstrators were barely dressed. Hundreds were clad in red underwear and paint in what was probably one of the most covered protests during the last three months. A few individuals went completely nude despite warnings from the Montreal Police.

The protest ended with four arrests according the Montreal Police, two of which were for armed aggression.

The student movement against the tuition increase for upcoming academic year has been holding daily protests since last Friday.

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