Masked activists in Quebec City begin protests against G7 leaders’ summit

QUEBEC — Masked activists posing as G7 leaders mimicked household tasks in front of Quebec City’s legislature on Thursday morning as the first of a series of demonstrations and protests kicked off in the provincial capital.

The event, staged by aid organization Oxfam, was one of many protests and demonstrations scheduled to take place between Thursday and Saturday as the G7 leaders meet 140 kilometres northeast in the resort town of La Malbaie.

On Thursday morning, an actor wearing a papier-mache mask of Donald Trump wielded a feather duster, while a likeness of Justin Trudeau carved a turkey next to laundry-folding Angela Merkel.

Oxfam Quebec director Denise Byrnes said the aim of the event was to highlight women’s unpaid labour and to push the G7 countries to improve social services such as childcare in order to relieve the burden placed on them.

“I think we have an opportunity this year with Canada’s G7 presidency, which prioritizes women’s equality, to advance on certain issues,” she said.

While the G7 summit will be held in La Malbaie, diverse groups including unions, aid organizations and anti-capitalists are expected to protest in the provincial capital. Others were gathering near the summit site itself, in an area officially designated for speaking out.

Byrnes said it would O be “too bad” if the often-violent clashes that occur between protesters and police on the margins of such summits were to overshadow the peaceful demonstrations by groups with a message of social change.

“It would be too bad if the images that dominate are of disruption,” she said.

“I think people have the right to protest, especially those who want to call for things peacefully, we’re with them, but it would be too bad.”

At least three major demonstrations are scheduled in Quebec City: one Thursday night, another on Friday and the third on Saturday. Some shops along the city’s popular St-Jean Street were boarded up to prevent damage.

Some 10,000 civil servants who work in buildings in and around Quebec’s legislature have been given this afternoon off as well as all day Friday in anticipation of the discord.

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