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Canadian students at a mass demonstration, the main banner reads: ‘Education is not for sale!’
Quebec students and their supporters took to the streets of Montreal last Saturday and promised a summer full of demonstrations unless the dispute over tuition fees is resolved.

The long list of grievances offered by protesters was further evidence that the conflict extends far beyond tuition fees.

‘This isn’t a student strike, it’s a society waking up,’ read a huge banner at the front of the march.

Canadian Grand Prix organisers have cancelled the Open Doors event ahead of next Sunday’s race in Montreal, fearing it will be disrupted by student protests.

More than 2,500 people have been arrested since demonstrations about rising tuition fees began.
‘We cannot control the thousands, in fact the hundreds of thousands of citizens who are angry in Quebec right now,’ said CLASSE student coalition spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Quebec students face a 10% fees hike this year – that will mean fees of close to 2,500 euros.

Martine Desjardins, President of the Federation of Students Unions of Quebec (FEUQ) said yesterday: ‘We need to preserve what we have, and not become like what is happening to people in the United States, who are still paying for their university programme when they are 70 years old.’

On Saturday in Montreal, Quebecois, young and old, joined students on the festive afternoon march through the city.

The event, organised by CLASSE, was a chance for supporters to express their anger with the lack of progress in ending a crisis that has gripped Quebec for nearly four months, and with Bill 78, the province’s new emergency law that limits protests.

Talks between students and the government over the planned tuition increases broke down last Thursday.

Nadeau-Dubois said the group will continue to hold demonstrations, even if it means disrupting the tourist season and getting fined under the new legislation.

He told reporters: ‘We are going to hand out information so that tourists who visit Quebec will know what’s going on here, and so they understand why they see images of protests on television every day.’

He added: ‘We will be announcing several large protests in Montreal throughout the summer to keep up momentum.’

Many at Saturday’s march said they were upset not only with the provincial government’s policies, but with the way Quebec Premier Jean Charest handled negotiations.

The afternoon march was declared illegal as soon as it began because CLASSE hadn’t provided a route.

However, it was allowed to continue and the police kept their distance. No arrests were made.

A few hundred more took part in a protest amid heavy rain on Saturday night, for the 40th night in a row.

That march was also declared illegal but police allowed it to proceed.


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