Anarchopanda unofficial symbol of Quebec student movement

August 2, 2012

Mass students demonstrations against planned tuition fees increases in Quebec are set to resume this month, meaning a return to a familiar routine for one CÉGEP professor: dressing up as a panda, taking to the Montreal streets, and perhaps hugging a few police officers. Anarchopanda is the brainchild of Julien Villeneuve, who first appeared in costume in May. Since then, Anarchopanda has become the unofficial symbol of the Quebec student movement, complete with his own tribute song. Villeneuve has appeared at a dozen protests, often standing on the frontline facing a wall of cops in riot gear. "Police don't know how to react when they're charging a line of students and they see a panda," he says. Villeneuve stresses that despite Anarchopanda's cult-like status, if students derail the Liberals' plan to raise tuition fees, he'll drop the character and move on with his life. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)