Quebec students protest for social justice on tuition hikes

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Quebec seeks to increase tuition by 75 per cent over the next five years. This has fuelled student protests. Student fees would still be among the lowest in Canada, but the increase is significant, and represents an assault on social contract ideals.

The Premier Jean Charest provincial government’s decision to reject a new round of discussions over access to post-secondary education has inspired protests on Montreal downtown streets. Student groups have vowed to protest every night until talks resume.

The breakdown came after Education Minister Line Beauchamp barred members of the Coalition de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) from participating in talks.

CLASSE, considered the most radical of the major student associations by the government, denounced violence carried out during the 10-week-old student strike, but refused to condemn civil disobedience or acts of self-defence.

Quebec student demonstrations have been linked to vandalism. However, is it possible that there are police operatives acting as agent provocateurs of violence in the student crowd toward the demonization of student protests? Indeed, the police had been linked to such activities during the G-20 summit which had been held in Toronto in late-June 2010

More than 5,000 protesters gathered at Place Émilie-Gamelin at around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday before marching through the streets of downtown Montreal.

The demonstration remained calm until protesters reached the intersection of Ste. Catherine and Guy. Demonstrators overturned garbage bins, smashed bank windows, and hurled rocks at police cars.

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