• Canadian Grand Prix

Student activists target Canadian Grand Prix

ESPN Staff
May 30, 2012 « Under-fire Mallya comes out fighting | New York F1 race in doubt - Ecclestone »
Protesters opposing Quebec student tuition fee hikes demonstrate in Montreal at the weekend © Press Association
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Concerns continue to circulate over the possible disruption of the Canadian Grand Prix which takes place on June 10. Protesting students have warned the weekend could be targeted as part of their ongoing dispute with the government.

Local media sources have become increasingly worried that there could be a significant impact to an event which attracts more than 100,000 people and earns an estimated £100 million in revenue to Montreal.

A row between students and the government has grown increasingly unpleasant with more than 2500 arrests and local businesses are reporting a significant downturn in turnover as protests have been deterring customers from venturing out to bars and restaurants.

While the official line is that the authorities will take additional measures to ensure the race weekend passes peacefully, the students at the city's main university earlier this month passed a resolution which promised to "organise a weekend of disruptions in order to cancel the Formula 1 Grand Prix and its jet-set events which represent sexist, anti-environmental, elitist and economic values that must be abolished".

Despite rhetoric reminiscent of the 1960s, it is a threat which is being taken seriously as it is attracting the usual coterie of anti-establishment campaigners such protests appeal to. The US authorities have warned tourists to Montreal they could face "unforeseen violence," "vandalism" and "arrests" in Montreal caused by the social unrest.

Talks between student leaders and the government are continuing.