76 arrested during morning student protest
Published Wednesday, April 4, 2012 1:18PM EDT
Montreal police made nearly 76 arrests on Wednesday morning after a student demonstration turned ugly, leading to mischief at the Eaton Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
Starting near Victoria Square at 8:00 a.m., the plan for the demonstration called for the students to walk towards McGill campus. However, police soon reported that protesters had entered the hotel and downtown mall.
Dishes were broken in the hotel and as police chased students, display cases were turned over in the Eaton Centre, damaging goods. With students setting off a pyrotechnic device on the streets of Montreal, police began arrests an hour into the protest.
Using the McGill metro station, a number of students travelled to the St. Laurent metro. Police chased those students with cars and vans, arresting them in nearby Chinatown. The majority of the arrests took place near the corner of Rene-Levesque Blvd. and St. Laurent St.
Laith Marouf, a cameraman with Concordia University's student television was arrested along with the protesters.
Police say they are meeting with those arrested to determine what charges would be laid against them.
Meantime, about 3,500 students walked through Jean Charest's home riding in Sherbrooke on Wednesday afternoon.
"We are going to show the government that we are not ready to stop our pressure. We are going to show them that we are determined and that if they are unwilling to step back, we are going to continue to stay on strike," said Guillaume Raymond, a political attache for the University of Sherbrooke Student Union.
When asked how long students would continue to protest, Raymond answered: "How long will the government continue to ignore the students who are on the streets for eight weeks now? How long will they continue to refuse to negotiate with us at a negotiating table where everything is up for discussion?"
After eight weeks of protests, students on Wednesday continued to oppose the Charest government's decision to increase tuition by $325 annually until 2017, the increase would nearly double the tuition paid in Quebec.
While the province would maintain one of the most affordable university systems in Canada, students have pledged to protest in front of economic targets until the government is willing to negotiate with student leaders.
Four more student protests took place Wednesday, including one near Square St. Louis in Montreal at 1 p.m.