I usually leave downtown Montreal to tourists on Sundays. But last Sunday I had to not only be in the downtown core, but was so with car. Having a few stops to make made driving necessary, not something you want to do downtown on any day, let alone Sunday. The problem last Sunday was dodging two groups of protesters and their inherent phalanxes of police cars.
Sunday was May Day, when the world pays tribute to workers, with the exception of North America where we have Labor Day in September. One group of marchers was calling for better working conditions, including better pay and security. The other group was made up of outright anti-capitalists. This latter bunch was not content to block traffic in an effort to make their point, resorting instead to vandalism.
Motorcades of cop cruisers and buses of riot police zigzagged through traffic in an attempt to cut off the protesters as they snaked through the city’s core. Eventually tear gas was employed and arrests were made. Before it was all over, several police vehicles were damaged (beyond merely being defaced with anti-government stickers already placed on them by the police as they seek a new contract themselves), one police station had two large windows smashed.
I have never been one to march in the street, and when it comes to capitalism I am probably more Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump, but one thing just does not make sense to me. The anti-capitalism protesters succeeded in causing havoc that resulted in several retail outlets shutting their doors for a brief period. That I understand.
However their actions created a windfall for those who: replace store-front windows, remove spray paint from cars and buildings, fix damaged cars and buses, make tear gas and other crowd control devices, and manufacture riot gear. All of whom I suspect are capitalists.
Perhaps a more effective approach to fighting capitalism, should one so desire, would be one that did not directly create business opportunities.
Then again could these protesters actually be more concerned with causing trouble than any real cause? Every year Montreal has an anti-police brutality march. This inevitably ends in an ugly battle between marchers and police. The marchers claim this is actual proof of police brutality while the police insist they were provoked and acted in the interest of public security.