Rally shines a light on importance of French in Montreal

WATCH: Raw video from the French-language protest

MONTREAL – A protest to shine a light on the importance of French in Montreal took place on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Place des Festivals, with many holding lamps. They grouped together to create an enormous glowing “101” and “MTL 101.”

Hundreds of people took the streets of Montreal to protest what they call the decline of the French language on September 18, 2013. Sebastien Gagnon-Dorval/Global News

The idea behind the rally is to “highlight the fact that Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world.”

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Billed as the “101 in Lights,” the rally was organized by Partenaires pour un Québec français (“Partners for a French Quebec”), which is made up of groups like the Société St-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal and the Mouvement national des Québécois, as well as several trade unions whose members care about the importance of French in the city.

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READ MORE: Analysis, stories and more on Quebec language issues

The event took place as another group called for Montreal to have special status as a “city-state”.

Watch: Montreal as city-state?

Under Quebec’s Charter of the French Language, also known as Bill 101, all businesses in the province are required to have a French-language name and signage.

But many concerned about language erosion are frustrated with the refusal of some businesses to translate their names.

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