Daily Archives: June 3, 2012

Canadian Grand Prix to be subject to protests?

A sickening poster showing the protestors' complete disrespect for Zanardi

A sickening poster showing the protestors’ complete disrespect for Zanardi

After the furore of the Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 has again become subject to protests, this time from a Canadian students group.

The student group CLASSE has already forced the cancellation of an open day next Thursday before the Grand Prix weekend. Circuit organisers claimed they had received “direct threats” of protests to cause disruption of the event, and it was abandoned for safety reasons.

Furthermore, threatening emails have been sent to around 100 people who bought Grand Prix tickets online:

"If you intend to use a car, know that your road may be barricaded. If you want to 
stay in a hotel, know that we may enter it. If you seek to withdraw money from a 
bank, know that the shattering glass may sting. If you plan on watching a race, 
know that your view may be obscured, not by exhaust fumes but by the smoke of the 
fires we set. Know that the evacuation order may not come fast enough."

Obviously, there may or may not be credibility to these statements, but it is worrying nonetheless.

On the Sunday of the Grand Prix, a protest is being planned at the Berri Metro Station in Montreal, the only metro which will serve the race. To make matters worse, the poster promoting the demonstration shows Alex Zanardi’s horrifying CART crash from 2001, in which he lost both of his legs.

This has absolutely no relevance to F1 whatsoever, and only serves to show the sickening ignorance of some of the protestors.

This uproar does have a cause, but it has absolutely nothing to do with motorsport. Students have been voicing their disapproval at raised tuition fees (an extra $325 per year) for some time, and it has recently turned into periodic demonstrations. Emergency legislation was passed to curtail the demonstrations, but students say it infringes on their right to protest.

This rasises one important question: If this has nothing to do with Formula 1 – and it doesn’t – then why are they targeting race-goers? There appears to be some convoluted logic from the protestors’ side, I feel.

We will have to wait and see if these threats are actually carried out. However, it sets a dangerous precedent – F1 has already been targeted for political reasons, and it would do well to avoid such a conflict here.