Police peacefully end G7 protest outside Quebec City
QUEBEC — Anti-G7 protesters declared victory Friday after an early-morning demonstration that stopped traffic for about one hour on a road outside Quebec City leading to the summit site of La Malbaie.
Protesters, mostly young and clad in black, gathered in a parking lot north of Quebec City by a road overlooking the St. Lawrence River and began marching in the street chanting anti-capitalist slogans.
But police dressed in riot gear were ready, and stood in formation at every corner of the intersection, blocking all exits.
An officer yelled through a loudspeaker that the protest was illegal because demonstrators didn’t provide police with their march route prior to the demonstration.
Protesters, trapped with nowhere to go, had no choice but to walk in a circle.
A tense standoff lasted about one hour.
“I want socialism,” said William, 22, who didn’t want to give his family name. “I’m against this G7. I’m against seven people running the planet.”
The G7 summit is an annual and informal gathering of the leaders from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan and Italy — which represent the majority of global wealth. The European Union also attends the summit as do other dignitaries from around the world.
Samy Camus, 23, said he doesn’t like the economic system in Canada at the moment. “But I don’t know what I want to replace it with.”
Protesters screamed at police, but remained peaceful and civil.
After about 45 minutes into the standoff, one flank of officers began slowly closing in on protesters.
Shortly after, officers without the imposing riot gear of their colleagues, wearing yellow vests and helmets, began politely asking protesters to move off the street and onto the sidewalk.
They grudgingly obliged and the protest ended calmly.
There were no apparent arrests.
“This is still a victory,” said a man yelling into a loudspeaker. “They shut down the legislature; 10,000 provincial civil servants were told to stay home; daycares have been closed. And we shut the road down leading to La Malbaie!” he said to cheers.
As the street re-opened to traffic, protesters lazed around on grassy patches between the road and the parking lots of fast-food restaurants.
Environmental groups, anti-capitalists and other activists are planning several protest actions on Saturday, but it was still unclear what kind of events would take place for the rest of the day Friday.
Lambert Drolet Premont, a 17-year-old who was at Thursday night’s protest, was draped in an Albanian flag, as he was the night prior.
“I’m just here because something interesting is finally happening in Quebec City,” he said.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018
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