Montreal student protest mascot Anarchopanda gets head back

Four days after the head of one of the most recognizable figures of Montreal's student protests was seized by police, Anarchopanda is whole again.

Philosophy teacher in panda costume fined for violating municipal bylaw

Anarchopanda arrives at the Montreal courthouse last June to protest a Montreal bylaw that prevents the wearing of masks during demonstrations. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The panda that became the mascot of last year's Quebec student protests has been reunited with its head.

Montreal police seized the head of the panda costume last Friday during a downtown protest against a controversial municipal bylaw.

Anarchopanda, as he has come to be known, was a fixture near the front lines of demonstrations last spring as students in Quebec protested tuition fee increases.

Bylaw P-6

Montreal amended its public order bylaw last year to specifically address the situation surrounding the student demonstrations.

Those amendments included the following revisions:

  1. It is prohibited for anyone to participate in a demonstration (assembly, parade or gathering) with their face covered, such as by a scarf, hood or mask.
  2. It is mandatory to disclose the location and itinerary of a demonstration to the police.

  3. The amount of the fine for a violation has been increased from $100 to $500.

(Source: Montreal police)

The man wearing the panda costume — a philosophy teacher at a Montreal college — was fined along with 278 other people for participating in the illegal protest Friday. 

A city bylaw, the very one that protesters were demonstrating against, prohibits the wearing of masks during street demonstrations. Police seized Anarchopanda's head under that provision.

Police said the head was considered evidence and could be used in court.

The mascot confirmed on his Facebook page that the head had been returned Wednesday morning, posting a picture of himself giving a thumbs-up with a beer in hand and the head in place.

He stressed that the attention raised by the temporary confiscation of a key piece of Anarchopanda's getup actually shed more light on the fight against the municipal bylaw, which sets out the rules of a legal demonstration.

He also mockingly thanked the Montreal police for helping him raise awareness of the cause.