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'Parasites Go Home,' Protesters Heckle Royal Couple in Quebec

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MONTREAL (The Blaze/AP) -- Prince William and Kate were met by a small group of protesters Saturday in the French-speaking province of Quebec as the royal couple visited a children's hospital during a nine-day journey through Canada on their first official overseas trip.

About 35 protesters, including members of the separatist group Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois, or Quebecker Resistance Network, stood outside Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre in Montreal chanting "A united people will never be vanquished."

They carried signs that read "Parasites go home," "War Criminals," and "Your fortune came from the blood of our ancestors."

"It's a symbol of English dominance over Quebec," said 30-year-old lawyer Antoine Pich of the couple's visit.

Dressed in black capes, the protesters were drumming and booing as the royal couple's motorcade pulled up to the hospital. William was whisked into the hospital as Kate stepped out of the car and smiled at the crowd before going in.

The demonstrations were a rare moment of criticism aimed at the young royals, who have for the most part been welcomed with open arms by Canadians eager to catch a glimpse of the glamorous newlyweds.

The protesters were outnumbered about 10 to one by William and Kate supporters gathered outside the hospital. "Give me one good reason why you should hate someone. They're good people," said Elyane Lafontaine, 51.

Protesters were angry that Canada still has ties to the monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is still the country's figurative head of state and new Canadian citizens still pledge allegiance to the Queen during their swearing-in ceremony.

Michael Behiels, an Ottawa University professor, said there was much hostility between the French and the English in the years following Great Britain's 1759 Conquest of New France - which is present day Quebec.

The continued presence of the monarchy atop Canada's constitutional order is a reminder, after 250-plus years, that the country's two founding countries formerly waged war against each other.

Others said they were angry that taxpayer money is being used to pay for the royal tour.

Maxime Laporte, head of the Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois, said the monarchy doesn't represent Quebec and is illegitimate here because the province has never accepted Canada's constitution. He called the royal tour a "nation-building exercise" funded by taxpayers.

The royal couple left the hospital and headed to the Inistitut de Tourisme et D'Hotellerie du Quebec, where they were met once more with a handful of protesters who were again dominated by about 150 supporters. Some spectators held signs that said, "Bienvenue Will et Kate sur Le Plateau," which welcomes them to the trendy Montreal neighborhood where the institute is located.

Quebec has always been the most vocal anti-monarchist province in Canada. The royal couple are in Quebec for a two-day stay.

The Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois planned a larger protest outside city hall in Quebec City on Sunday, with supporters coming in by bus from other parts of the province, said RRQ spokesman Julien Gaudreau.

A 2009 visit by Prince William's father, Prince Charles, to Montreal was disrupted by more than 200 separatist protesters. The protesters sat in the street, blocking the prince's way into a ceremony planned at an armory, and threw eggs at the soldiers who were accompanying him and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. The couple were forced to enter the building through a back door and missed an elaborate welcoming ceremony that had been planned.

Prince William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, found herself in the eye of a Quebec nationalist storm during a trip in 1964. As she toured Montreal, helmeted police officers clashed with several hundred boisterous marchers, who flashed obscene, two-finger "V" signs at the young monarch.

In 1990, Canada Day celebrations were disrupted briefly by protesters from Quebec who booed and turned their back on the queen.

However, support for the separatists among Quebeckers has been on the decline in recent years as the 80-percent French-speaking province has enjoyed plenty of autonomy even without quitting Canada.

The royal couple leave Canada for a three-day trip to California on July 8.

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