Billboard percher surrenders to police
The 26-hour standoff between police and a man who had perched himself on a sign next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge is over. Mario Morin climbed down from the billboard at about 4 a.m. Thursday after fatigue, hunger and cold weather finally got to him.
Two negotiators from the Sûreté du Québec took over the case late Wednesday afternoon from Longueuil police.
Morin climbed onto the ledge of a billboard on the Longueuil side of the bridge early Wednesday morning, holding a photo of his daughter, claiming a connection to the fathers rights group, Fathers 4 Justice.
He was quoted as saying that he wanted the organization to be properly recognized as a credible support group.
Meanwhile, F4J distanced itself from Morin, saying he was not a member of the group, but rather, someone with severe problems who had attended a few group meetings.
Morin's protest was a spectacle in many ways. He spent the day waving to passersby, tossing large planks of wood down on fire and police crews below, and shouting while pointing to the photo of his daughter.
- Modus operandi -
Overnight, police pulled up a vehicle on the bridge, close to where Morin was perched. They played loud rock music from the vehicle to distract him while they raised a cherry-picker just below where he was sitting.
Inside the cherry picker were two SQ negotiators, who climbed onto the platform next to the protester, 30 metres above ground. Police then turned on bright spotlights so all parties could see each other as negotiating began again, this time face-to-face.
On Wednesday, Morin had refused police requests to negotiate.
But early morning negotiations worked, and the man climbed down with officers without incident. He was immediately arrested and will face charges.
Morin's stunt caused traffic headaches for the thousands of commuters who use the bridge. During the afternoon rush hour, drivers were stuck in gridlocked traffic as they tried to find alternative routes off the island of Montreal.