Anarchopanda during a demonstration May 22nd in Montréal
Anarchopanda (French pronunciation: [anaʁʃopɑ̃da]) is a giant panda and the unofficial mascot of the 2012 Quebec student protests, known for hugging both students and police officers. He favours free education, thus opposes the tuition hike.
Anarchopanda made his first appearance at a protest May 8, 2012. By day he is philosophy professor Julien Villeneuve at Montreal CEGEP Collège de Maisonneuve, with a strong affinity for Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.
A self-described anarcho-pacifist, he tries to create a buffer between police and students to avoid violence "without betraying [the students'] struggle or co-opting their discourse". In an interview in Montreal's Le Devoir, he expresses a desire to oppose police brutality. "If peaceful students deserve to be beat with police batons, pepper sprayed, shot with rubber bullets or flash grenades for demonstrating, so do I."
The panda suit was chosen because it was the nicest cheap costume he could find on eBay China. Before buying it, he participated in 70 student demonstrations in his "human skin" to protect demonstrators from police, which he found impractical and paternalist.