Anti-tuition protesters target Liberal offices, Port of Montreal
Published Wednesday, March 28, 2012 7:49PM EDT
MONTREAL - Another day, another protest over $1625 in university tuition fee hikes.
With a stated goal of causing as much disruption to public life as possible, on Tuesday morning demonstrators gathered in front of the provincial Liberal party's headquarters on Waverly St. just north of Jean-Talon St.
About a dozen protesters climbed onto the roof of the two-storey building.
Meanwhile other students upset that university tuition in Quebec will approach the Canadian average by 2017 are also protesting at de Maisonneuve CEGEP and in Emilie Gamelin Park.
After protesting at the CEGEP, the demonstrators marched along Pie IX blvd. to the Port of Montreal, where they blocked the gates.
When protesters refused a police order to leave the area, officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
In Quebec City, students from the University of Laval protested in front of the Premier's official residence in the Price Building.
The protesters are not drawing exclusively from the ranks of students. At noon on Wednesday teachers from Edouard-Montpetit CEGEP in Longueuil will occupy De Gentilly St., where they will conduct an open-air class.
They say the outdoor classroom will symbolize the principles of an open, free education.
On Tuesday anti-tuition protests were held across the province, and in several cases police had to intervene, notably at the SAQ head offices in Montreal and at the offices of the Ministry of Finance in Quebec City.
In the afternoon several thousand protesters blocked Guy St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. before marching along Sherbrooke St. to the Loto Quebec offices.
One angry driver caught in the demonstration punched a protester in the face, but apologized when he was quickly surrounded.
Other commuters caught in the traffic chaos said the demonstrators were not gaining any support for their cause.
Premier Jean Charest said on Tuesday that the provincial government would soon be announcing a new financial aid program.
"We have changed the bursaries and loans program and adjusted it so we are able help those with low-income students and protect accessibility for them," said Charest.
Many students aware of the announcement said that was not enough.
"We're more and more determined than ever to fight back against the government and its tuition fee policy," said Martine Desjardins of the Quebec Federation of University Students.
Students have four demonstrations planned for Thursday, all of which will converge on Berri-UQAM metro in the afternoon.