MONTREAL, Quebec, March 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A raucous crowd of about 60 to 70 university students besieged four pro-life activists holding vigil at the Montreal 40 Days for Life campaign on Wednesday afternoon, destroying their signs as 10 police cruisers looked on, says the campaign leader.
“Four vigilers were swarmed by a throng of disgruntled university students,” Brian Jenkins of Campagne Quebec-Vie told LifeSiteNews. “After this experience I better appreciate the meaning of spiritual warfare.”
The students were a breakaway group from the crowd of tens of thousands of university students protesting this week against a decision by the government of Premier Jean Charest to hike tuition by $1,625 per year. The sheer volume of protesters has reportedly shut down traffic in Montreal’s downtown area.
Jenkins said the youth descended on them at about 4:45 p.m. “Wherever we turned there they were - in front, behind, to our right, to our left,” he said. “The crowd was raucous. Led with blowhorn, chants were sung. Many motorists encouraged them on and the mob reacted jubilantly whenever a car horn was blown.”
The protesters broke the support frame for the 40 Days for Life banner and stole several of the frame’s struts, while leaving a 12-inch gash in the banner itself.
“The outcome of our other materials was not as kind,” Jenkins said. “Our enlarged fetal picture despite being broken in two was saved from any further damage by one of the vigil participants.”
Pro-life signs were destroyed by the students.
The protest lasted until around 6:00 p.m. The pro-lifers say they were able to have more fruitful conversation toward the end when the more boisterous protesters left.
Jenkins said a Sgt. Filion explained to him that he had not ordered police intervention because they did not have enough officers.
“And so, for over an hour the vigilers prayed and tried to dissuade the youth as much as they could,” says Jenkins.
In the end, he says, police levied fines on three of the university students.