More than 25 people have been arrested as hundreds of Canadian's took to the streets of Montreal, protesting against a proposal to raise education fees and Canada hosting this weekend's Formula One Grand Prix.
Banging pots and pans, some 500 protesters began the march peacefully on Saturday. As they entered an area where Grand Prix viewing stands had been erected, they were blocked by police who used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Pepper spray was used on several protesters as the crowd began to jeer, boo and curse at authorities.
Witnesses told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency they had seen police cars with broken windows and others covered in graffiti.
Students in Quebec, as well as anti-capitalist and feminist groups have held protests over the past four months against the government's plans to increase university tuition fees by 75 percent.
Protesters have labeled Sunday's Grand Prix motor race an "elitist event." They are using the event's international race-going audience, as well as media attendance to promote their fight against the rise in fees.
The student union, La Classe, considered to be the most radical, insisted it had no intention of interrupting the motor race.
Talks with student unions and government broke down, and the protest movement has since transformed into a campaign of perceived government corruption, mismanagement and corruption.
"We are in a real social crisis in Quebec. And at the moment we are witnessing police brutality, for no purpose, really," Zac Daoust Lefebvre, a student at the University of Montreal told AFP.
jlw/sb (AFP, AP)