Protests Force Cancellation of Canadian GP Opening Day Event

Ongoing student protests in Montreal, Canada are starting to impinge upon more than just the sleeping habits of the city’s residents, with organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix announcing the cancellation of festivities on the first day of the race weekend.

The “open house” event, which was to take place this Thursday ahead of the Formula One race, has been shelved due to security concerns. In the past, the open house gave fans free access to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, including the track, paddock and even the drivers.

“Considering the various disruption threats made public recently, the free admission and the naturally openness character of the open house day, revealed some risks that we could not neglect,” said Francois Dumontier, president of the Canadian GP in a statement.

Student group CLASSE, which is helping organize protests in Montreal, had said it would use the race as a venue to voice its opposition to increased student tuitions.

The Canadian Grand Prix, Formula One’s only stop in North America on the 2012 calendar brings 300,000 spectators to Montreal and generates over $100 million in revenue for the city.