Heavy police presence at Montreal Grand Prix

Police officers stand near the entrance to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before the third practice...

Police officers stand near the entrance to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before the third practice session of the Canadian F1 Grand Prix, in Montreal June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Giuseppe Valiante, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:03 PM ET

MONTREAL - Police had a heavy presence at Grand Prix venues across this city on Saturday as some protesters remained determined to remind race revellers that all things aren't well in Quebec.

Two people were briefly detained Saturday afternoon at the metro leading to the Formula One race track for carrying bags filled with fireworks, police said. Police gave the young man and woman tickets and confiscated the pyrotechnics.

Hundreds of police were posted to metro stations across the city as race fans made their way to the F1 qualifications for Sunday's big race.

About 50 people banged pots and pans for about a half an hour outside the F1 street festival in the downtown core. No one managed to break through the closed section of the street where hundreds gathered to drink alcohol and take pictures of expensive cars.

Protesters marched along a few downtown streets before dispersing.

Police said there were no major incidents to report as of 5 p.m.; however, two protests were planned for Saturday evening, including the city's 47th consecutive night protest.

Meanwhile, a group claiming to be part of the loose coalition of online hackers called Anonymous announced it hacked into 3,000 Grand Prix user accounts.

The hackers said they broke into the online system of a Montreal-based company called Formula Tours, which provides travel packages to F1 races around the world. Anonymous published what they said were emails from Formula Tours' newsletter list as well as requests the company's clients had allegedly made to hotels around the world.

QMI Agency was not able to reach the president of Formula Tours on Saturday, nor was QMI able to confirm if the emails published by Anonymous corresponded to Formula Tours' client list.

Hackers targeted the Grand Prix's website at the end of May, publishing the private information of more than 100 ticket holders.

Naima Alebay, a Montreal university student, banged a pot outside the F1 street festival on Saturday. She said she is against the provincial government's plan to raise tuition by $1,800 over seven years. But she is also against the Grand Prix, which she said represents capitalist, sexist, corrupt values.

"I don't want the Grand Prix in my city," she said.

A couple, from a city just east of Montreal, were sitting on a downtown terrace, enjoying the street party. They both told QMI that they had empathy for the student movement, but "when they disrupt things like the Grand Prix, it starts to get annoying," said Claude Bouchard.

However, they both reserved their strongest criticism for the province's Premier Jean Charest.

"Charest should have settled this already," said Francine. "Charest, his time is done. He should have woken up a long time ago."


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