Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mass Montreal protests on 100th day of student strikes

Many protesters wear red or sport red felt squares emblematic of the protests. They are marking the 100th day of student strikes in the province of Quebec. The students are protesting the Quebec government plan to hike tuition fees. Now they are protesting as well legislation to stifle protests.

.Although the Montreal march is the main event there are smaller gatherings in other places in Quebec. Events are also taking place in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and even New York and Paris.

The huge demonstration is taking place shortly after a new Quebec law was passed restricting demonstrations. The main demonstration conforms to the requirement of the new law. There can be huge fines for breaking the law. Some demonstrators plan to break off from the main route to challenge the law.

The crowd comprised a wide range of people from students carrying revolutionary slogans to senior citizens, mothers of students, and people bused in from outside. Although many Quebeckers support the tuition increases they are angry at the Quebec government for passing the restrictive law and also for other issues such as corruption charges. The major and more radical of the student groups CLASSE is encouraging a group of protesters to veer off the main route to defy the new law.

The Quebec government has taken to showing that the law is not that draconian by citing other cities such as Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles that have as tough or tougher laws. It is claimed that Los Angeles requires 40 days notice. The Quebec law requires 8 hours notice. No doubt this just shows what wimps anglophones are as far as CLASSE is concerned. For more see this article. The day and night are not yet over so there could be problems later today as happened over the weekend.

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