Occupy Montreal enters third week with march on premier’s office
Injured U.S. veteran becomes rallying point
Near a thousand protesters rallied in Montreal’s Victoria Square, site of the Occupy Montreal movement, before marching through the downtown core to Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s office on Saturday.
Dubbed the People’s Plaza by Occupy Montreal organizers, Victoria Square and the surrounding area is now home to over fifty tents on three adjacent lots in Montreal’s financial district.
The Montreal movement, part of the larger Occupy Wall Street protests against economic inequality and excessive corporate influence in politics, organized the march in solidarity with international Occupy protests. Marchers wound their way through the streets up to Premier Jean Charest’s Montreal office chanting, “Whose Montreal? Our Montreal!”
Retired Canadian air force pilot Joe O’Connell watched as the march passed his hotel. “I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “We just got back from a tour in old Montreal and we had to get out of our taxi a block sooner because we couldn’t get to the hotel.”
O’Connell, visiting from Ottawa, hadn’t yet seen what he called the tent city in the capital, but sympathized with the middle- and lower-class or what has come to be known as the 99 percent.
“I think the fact that the big industrialists and millionaires get away with the taxes, that’s the hard part of it,” said O’Connell. “They have all this money and they have the wealthy lawyers to do everything they can to reduce their taxes whereas us middle class guys are taxed 45 or 50 percent– you’re struggling all the time.”