Montreal

Protesters disrupt Harper rally in Montreal

A group of about 25 rowdy protesters gathered outside the location of a Conservative campaign event in Montreal Friday morning.

A group of about 25 rowdy protesters gathered outside the location of a Conservative campaign event in Montreal Friday morning.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper was speaking at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in the riding of Mount Royal, in support of candidate Saulie Zajdel.

Several of the protesters tried to barge their way into the building before being ejected by volunteers and security guards.

One of the volunteers had several scratches on his arms after the altercation, and Montreal police were called in to monitor the situation.

The clashes happened before Harper and his entourage had arrived.

The protesters said they simply wanted to ask the Conservative leader some questions.

Organizers, however, said if they had registered, they might have had the chance to participate in the rally.

The Conservatives have pinned much of their hopes of winning a seat on the island of Montreal on the Mount Royal riding, where 36 per cent of the population is Jewish.

Zajdel has been playing up Harper's commitment to Israel during the campaign.

Liberal incumbent for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler criticized Harper's presence in the riding Friday, saying it was the first time the leader had visited the riding in five years.

Cotler said Harper was promoting divisive politics, instead of focusing on uniting Canadians.