Thursday, March 29, 2012

Massive Montreal student protests once again over tuition hikes

Quebec students many in colorful costumes starting from several locations and taking several different routes wound through Montreal streets this afternoon. The protests are to go on until evening.

Today's protests (March 29) are just another of many almost daily protests some of which have involved clashes with police. According to the student group organizing the protest over 300,000 students are now on strike protesting against projected fee hikes to be imposed by the Quebec Liberal provincial government. The students are striking in spite of the fact that Quebec tuition fees are the lowest in Canada at present. The student organizations favor free tuition as is still prevalent in some European countries.

The protesters have blocked access to Montreal's main courthouse for some time, clogged a number of boulevards and apparently vandalized some police cars. There are plans to block downtown roadways. This is not likely to produce sympathy for their cause from motorists.

Most of the protesters were masked. This fits in with the theme picked by organizers of the Charivari an old folk tradition. It included noisemaking and mockery. No doubt the masks make it difficult for police to identify protesters as well!

Montreal police released a map of the four different routes planned by demonstrators. The police also issued a set of rules "for a successful demonstration". Protesters were urged to leave an area if and when the police declared the demonstration illegal. Demonstrators have been known to ignore such warnings! For more see this CBC article.

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