Striking Montreal students mark 100 days of protest


Students protest April 27, 2012, in Montreal in response to plans by Quebec Premier Jean Charest to raise tuition.



Striking students in Montreal marked 100 days of protest today with one of their largest marches yet, and they received support from cities such as Paris, New York and Vancouver.

About one-third of Quebec’s post-secondary students are staging a “strike” to protest rising tuition costs.

They’ve held near daily demonstrations since Feb. 17. Today’s march was especially tense because it comes after a weekend of violence sparked when the provincial government passed new laws designed to break the strike on Friday.

“The special law won’t kill the student movement,” student spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said, GlobalNews reported. “The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended.”

While students and supportive union groups filed their protest route today (a requirement under new laws), police still warned organizers they would declare the event illegal at the first sign of violence, CBC News said.

A statement issued by Montreal police said the crowd must listen for police broadcasts.

“If you have not heard the announcements and you see the police intervention squad, get out of the way,” the release said, according to CBC.

If the squad appears, it “means the demonstration has been declared illegal and the police are ready to intervene.”

Quebec students pay some of the lowest tuition in Canada, and the government announced it would increase fees by $1,778 over seven years to combat failing budgets.

Protests have often denigrated into violence, which in turn spawned the tough new anti-demonstration laws, and it’s all generated international attention.

More than 150 students in Paris – through a Facebook group – said they would march today.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is organizing an event in New York City, and students on Canada’s West Coast are planning to march today.

“It is time for Vancouver to stand up in solidarity with the brave student movement of Quebec and for the rights of students everywhere,” organizers of the Vancouver rally said, according to Postmedia.

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