MONTREAL – Hundreds of protesters took over Montreal city hall Monday night in a long, loud and messy demonstration.
It was a tense few hours that left many councillors rattled, coming just ahead of parliamentary hearings on a provincial bill to overhaul municipal pension plans.
Horns blared and smoke bombs went off as Montreal firefighters took to the streets.
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Then, the chaos made its way inside as municipal employees took over the council chamber to deliver a very loud message in the latest protest over Bill 3.
“I’m disgusted,” said Mary Deros, a city councillor in Montreal’s Parc-Extension borough.
“This is the kind of bullying that should not be happening.”
There have been a slew of demonstrations over the last few months, but many say this is a new low.
“I can’t believe this happened, that they would do that,” said Peter McQueen, a city councillor for NDG.
Gallery: Protesters storm city hall
Laptops were sprayed with water and papers were flung up in the air.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in 32 years,” said Marvin Rotrand, a city councillor for Snowdon.
“It’s an affront to democracy.”
The infamous protest stickers that have been seen throughout the city were plastered on desks and chairs.
Some citizens, who were on hand for question period, sympathized with demonstrators whose pensions are at risk.
“I think in the end what was it, a lot of noise – no real violence,” said Michel Lacroix, a Montrealer.
“Their situation is hard their pension is going to go away.”
During the ruckus, Montreal’s mayor insisted that the council meeting continue despite the disruption, saying that his administration won’t be intimidated.
“The bill will go to the union leader that’s for sure,” he said.
Eventually, the head of the firefighters union told protesters to leave out of respect for the police officers handling security, while those still inside were left to clean up the mess.