Credits: (JOEL LEMAY/QMI Agency)
Pauline Marois told reporters that she was ready to face criticism even from the hundreds gathered in downtown Montreal.
"I am the leader of the Parti Quebecois, I am used to it," she said.
People chanted, "Quebec: A country!" as they marched down the city's main commercial artery towards City Hall.
Marois had to defend her title as recently as Wednesday, when her party held a caucus meeting on her leadership. The meeting lasted late into the night and ended with Marois still at the helm.
Several MNAs defected from the party in the summer, claiming Marois wasn't acting fast enough on the question of separation. Marois' poll numbers are down and members of the party question whether she can lead the PQ to a victory in the next provincial election.
The question of her leadership the next time the province heads to the polls was echoed by many of the people QMI Agency spoke with at the march.
But for Frederic Morin, Quebec will gain independence because of its people, regardless of who is leading the PQ.
"I think we shouldn't be waiting for the messiah," he said. "It's in a group that we will make separation happen. Marois is a leader, she has her qualities and her faults - but it's going to be the same with whoever leads the PQ."