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MONTREAL – A masked gunman opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec's new premier, killing one person and wounding another.

Erika By Erika | September 05, 2012 | Canada

The new premier, Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois, was whisked off the stage by guards while giving her speech and uninjured.

The suspect was wearing a black ski or balaclava mask and a blue bathrobe over black clothes. Police didn't identify what weapons he had but camera footage showed a pistol and a rifle at the scene. Police said there is no reason to believe there are other suspects.

Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said he opened fire in the back of the hall,   the gunman was captured.  He was heard shouting in French "The English are waking up!"

Marois returned to the stage after the shooting and seemed to finish her speech before asking the crowd to peacefully disperse. She left the hall amid a tight cordon of provincial police bodyguards.

The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence at political events.

 Emergency medical workers said one victim was pronounced dead at the scene and a second person was wounded. A third person was treated for shock.

 The separatist party won Tuesday's provincial election, but failed to win a majority of legislative seats. Though the Parti Quebecois wants the province to break away from Canada, its victory is unlikely to signal a new push for independence. Opinion polls show little appetite for a separatist referendum after previous ones had been rejected by voters in 1980 and 1995.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Marois on her victory but: "We do not believe that Quebecers wish to revisit the old constitutional battles of the past," he said in a statement.

The most sustained student protests ever to take place in Canada began in February, resulting in about 2,500 arrests.

 It's not the first time there has been political violence in Quebec related to tensions between the French and English. In the 1970s Canadian soldiers were deployed to the streets of Quebec because of a spate of terrorism by a group demanding independence from Canada. In 1970, the shadowy militant FLQ demanded "total independence" from Canada. Its members kidnapped and killed Quebec's labor minister and later abducted, then freed, a British diplomat.

  • Tags:   MONTREAL Canada Pauline Marois separatist Parti_Quebecois masked gunman fire midnight victory rally Quebec's_new_premier speech Police camera footage suspects Montreal_police_Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere attack Canadians violence political events Emergency_medical_workers Tuesday's_provincial_election majority legislative_seats separatist_referendum voters 1980 1995 Canadian_Prime_Minister Stephen Harper Quebecers student February 2 500 arrests French English 1970 Canadian_soldiers Quebec terrorism group independence shadowy militant FLQ kidnapped killed Quebec's_labor_minister abducted British_diplomat
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