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Protest threat to Canadian GP?

The Canadian Grand Prix could be targeted by disaffected students protesting against hikes in tuition fees.
Having left the unrest of Bahrain in the rear view mirror, F1 could have been forgiven for thinking that threats of disruption were over for another year, only for a new problem to rear its head.

This time, the disruption could come from disaffected students in Montreal, who view next month's grand prix as the ideal vehicle via which to air their grievances. The students, numbering 150,000, have been 'on strike' for 100 days in protest at escalating tuition fees, and clashes with police have become increasingly violent, despite new laws preventing protestors gathering without prior approval from the authorities. According to the La Presse newspaper, art least one group has now threatened 'a weekend of disruption' surrounding the grand prix, which they claim 'represents ​​sexist, non-environmental values and economic elitism', and is due to take place at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve over 8-10 June.

"I cannot deny that we have an eye on the situation and will follow the evolution of conflict in the coming days," promoter Francois Dumontier admitted, "It is not clear that we will be targeted but, student protests or not, this is an international event and we already have a safety plan that ranges from simple mischief to wider disruption.

"The grand prix is ​​often targeted because we are a major event. We have experienced similar situations in the past - in the case of the striking unions, for example - even though none has had this magnitude.

"Some say [the grand prix] is capitalist and there is plenty of money there, but we must not forget that it [brings] a lot of new money into Montreal [and] also helps us offer a job to many students, whether in the concessions, in our organisation and in shops and restaurants."

While some believe that the protestors could target the grand prix itself, Dumontier also suggests that interrupting transport links to the circuit could pose a bigger problem.

"It is certain that the location is not the same for the grand prix," he noted, "The Jazz Festival, the Francofolies, are in the city centre. We are on an island on a private site. Our client takes the subway...."

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Steve - Unregistered

May 24, 2012 3:08 PM

Give me a break! Here's a solution for these students - FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL THAT'S CHEAPER!!! No need to worry about the race though, everyone in Canada knows people in Quebec are wacked. Take their hockey team for example... Let's not forget that the race is hosted in a province here that actually wanted to (and maybe still does) separate from the rest of our country, yet they still don't mind hosting "our" Grand Prix. Personally I think the race should go back to Mosport once they get the upgrades done...

Mark _

May 24, 2012 7:28 PM

@JR Whittam - if the Canadian government were to arrest and jail the doctors and nurses who treat any injured protesters I will be one of the first to say that F1 should cancel this race. From what I can tell Canada is not refusing to allow foreign journalists in to cover the protests nor is their president's family running the race. If you cannot tell the difference between the Canadian government's treatment of it's citizens and the Bahraini monarchy's then you may not be in the best position to comment on this. Bahrain had the Saudi military come in to keep order. I doubt that the Canadians will make that same request of the U.S.

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