Project 365 – Day 82: 200,000 students march in Montreal

March 22 2012

200,000 students from across Quebec descended on Montreal today to participate in a mega demonstration in their ongoing fight to get the Charest government to reverse their decision to raise tuition fees.

For today’s image I was trying to capture the movement of the demonstrators as they made their way down rue Berri beneath Sherbrooke street. I was quite happy that despite it being just under a 1 second exposure the girl in the center remained stationary…sometime you need a bit of luck.

Montreal Student March

Montreal Student March

Before I get into the other pictures of the demonstration, I caught this guy roller blading across Sherbrooke street ahead of the march carrying a shirt on a hanger…thought it was worth a shot.

Guy on roller blades makes it across Sherbrooke with clean  shirt

Guy on roller blades makes it across Sherbrooke with clean shirt

Seems like every day now the police helicopter is hovering over downtown with student demonstrations almost a daily occurrence. With the march stretching over 5km, I think they may have needed more helicopters today. At one point it seemed like the first demonstrators would reach the end of the march in the old port before some even left the starting point at Place du Canada.

Police helicopter keeps watchful eye on protesters

Police helicopter keeps watchful eye on protesters

I caught up with the march on rue Sherbrooke, just east of ave du Parc. Some grandparents had grabbed an early front seat at a local bar to be in a prime position to demonstrate their support to the marchers.

Grandparents in support of students

Grandparents in support of students

The next shots were all taken on Sherbrooke street and corner of Jeanne Mance. The atmosphere was party like and louder than Saint Patricks parade the other week.

Student march makes its way along rue Sherbrooke

Student march makes its way along rue Sherbrooke

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Student marchers on Sherbrooke street

Given the huge crowd, there didn’t seem to be a big police presence and from what I have heard there was no confrontation. I guess they were stationed on the side streets in case, but I didn’t see them. The one incident I did see was a group of youths with scarves covering their faces doing a face-off with this group of police, but each went their separate ways after a few minutes.

Police kept reasonably low profile

Police kept reasonably low profile

I had planned on the Sherbrooke overpass as being a good spot to catch some overhead shots as the marchers descended down rue Berri. I wasn’t alone in my thinking. However, in not having a better idea, I jostled with the crowds of other photographers to get some shots.

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

This next image was close to being selected as my main shot of the day. I really liked how the road made the red confetti stand out, unfortunately the protesters were a bit more blurred than I would have liked, but all in all I was happy with the composition. You may have gathered by now the mark of support for the student strike is the color red.

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

In case you are wondering, the big red dot in the following image was a red balloon carried by a protester.

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

The next few shots were more attempts at doing long exposures so that the marchers would appear blurred.

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Students leave their mark with red hands painted on Berri street

Students leave their mark with red hands painted on Berri street

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Victory salute from supporting spectator

Victory salute from supporting spectator

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Student march heads down rue Berri

Mounted police trailing student march

Mounted police trailing student march

Good excuse to take the dog for a walk

Good excuse to take the dog for a walk

Police cars trailing student march

Police cars trailing student march

Spectators with front row balcony seats

Spectators with front row balcony seats

It was good to see the ice cream seller from Mount Royal at the tail end of the march – I guess he realized this would be a good business opportunity.

Refreshments for student marchers

Refreshments for student marchers

Finally, here are a few shots of some spectators that caught my eye.

Showing support for the student marchers

Showing support for the student marchers

Face paint in support of student protesters

Face paint in support of student protesters

Legs in support of student spectators

Legs in support of student spectators

I took a few pictures of this next girl blowing bubbles, I couldn’t decide which of these two I liked best, so included both.

Blowing bubbles in support of student protesters

Blowing bubbles in support of student protesters

Blowing bubbles in support of student protesters

Blowing bubbles in support of student protesters

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

– Martin

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