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Protests Rock Montreal—as Police Enforce a Controversial New Law | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Protests Rock Montreal—as Police Enforce a Controversial New Law

A collection of reports—more later—on the under-covered (in the US) current wave of protests by students and others in Canada, principally Montreal. At least 300 people were arrested and twenty were injured in Montreal during weekend clashes between police and protesters, according to CTV. The movement began after a proposed tuition hike of $1,625, which would be implemented over several years. Support rallies were held in some cities in the US yesterday with more planned today. Check out this photo gallery of the arrested posing with messages on signs.

--UPDATES:  Canada's education minister says she is willing to meet with students but no new talks set so impasse continues.  Also:  the new anti-protest laws are "not on the table.".... Trade unions outside Quebec have sent money "pouring" into the student strike fund....A handy guide to 10 key points to remember relating to the protest movement (for English speakers since protest material has been largely in French and "misconstrued"), including it's more about student debt than tuition, since tuition is still relatively low there.

—From today’s Toronto’s Globe and Mail: “Montreal police brought the hammer down on student demonstrators Tuesday night, enforcing a controversial law that brought tens of thousands into the streets in a protest earlier in the day that drew international support. By the end of a cat-and-mouse operation that marked the fourth straight night of clashes, police spokesman Simon Delorme said that at least 100 people had been arrested and two police officers had been injured.

“Four other people were taken to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known. It is believed to be the first time Bill 78 and the city’s new anti-mask bylaw were used by police although Sherbrooke police used the provincial law on Monday to round up 36 protesters in that city.”

—From same newspaper late yesterday: “A river of red-clad protesters rippled through downtown Montreal to mark the 100th day of Quebec’s student strikes, while smaller events were held in other cities Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people clogged Montreal’s city core in a festive, multi-headed march designed to make a mockery of a new provincial law that demands protest routes be approved in advance….

“While polls in recent weeks suggested the striking students had lost considerable public support, they appeared to have been galvanized in recent days by the new Quebec law. Since that law passed, people in central Montreal neighbourhoods have appeared on their balconies and in front of their houses to defiantly bang pots and pans in a clanging protest every night at 8 p.m.”

—A prominent labor leader calls on students in Ontario to take to the streets and join the protests—especially since tuition is higher in that province.

--Cool time-lapse video charts yesterday's massive protest:

Montreal Gazette on prime minister “boxed in.” Also, the battle of the polls: days after one poll show two out of three backed crackdown bill, another found the reverse.

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