Prince Charles's official visit to Canada has been marred by anti-monarchy protests as a group of Quebec nationalists clashed with riot police during a demonstration in Montreal.
group staged a sit-in protest outside the regimental hall of the Black
Watch of Canada last night. More than 100 protesters held a
demonstration as Charles, who is colonel-in-chief of the regiment, was
due to present new regimental colours. The arrival of the prince and
Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, was delayed by 40
minutes as police cleared the streets.
Waving the provincial flag
of Quebec and anti-royal placards, protesters chanted "Majesty go home"
and the independence call "The Quebecois in Quebec". Some of the group
threw eggs at soldiers leaving the regimental hall before police
A Canadian riot unit was called and began forcing the group away
from the hall's entrance but scuffles broke out as demonstrators
clashed with officers carrying shields and batons. The protesters were
eventually pushed down a side road and the prince – dressed in full
military uniform complete with beret and sporran – and duchess were
able to enter.
The prince reportedly apologised to people in the
hall for being delayed. "First of all I just wanted to say how very
sorry my wife and I are to have kept you all waiting so long – I hear
there's a little local disturbance," he was quoted as saying.
Gaudeau, a spokesman for the militant nationalist group Réseau de
Résistance du Québecois, which organised the protest, said the prince
was "a symbol of power given by the blood".
"We don't want this
kind of symbol in Quebec, more than 80% of the population in Quebec is
opposed to the monarchy," he said. "In every other province, despite
the numbers being low (in the polls) they are still pro-monarchy. The
only one that isn't is Quebec. That's just one more reason for us to
A Clarence House spokesman accompanying Charles and
Camilla on the trip said they had been made to feel "very welcome
throughout their visit to Canada".