Premier Jean Charest met with student leaders, before dozens arrested at Quebec City protest
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:56PM EDT
MONTREAL - The provincial government and student leaders are meeting once again Tuesday afternoon, and both sides hope the mass arrest that took place outside the negotiations won't have much of an impact on the talks.
For the first time since the student conflict began more than 100 days ago, Premier Jean Charest met with the student leaders on Monday evening, sitting in on the negotiations for an hour.
That round of talks between student leaders and the provincial government wrapped up with neither side saying anything about what happened behind closed doors.
Outside, dozens of people held a noisy but peaceful protest that ended with the arrests of dozens of people, including two negotiators from the student group CLASSE.
Around 10 p.m. Quebec City police declared the protest illegal and were set to move in when outgoing FECQ leader Leo Bureau-Blouin pleaded with police for time to convince the protesters to leave.
"I'm appealing to everyone's reason. We have a chance to make sure things don't end badly tonight, that it doesn't degenerate," Bureau-Blouin told the crowd.
"I ask you please, we are in discussions, we are in negotiations and you know the climate is fragile with the government, you know it's not easy.
"If we can make sure things don't end badly tonight it seems to me that it's everyone's best interests."
Unfortunately Bureau-Blouin's appeal to reason failed, and 84 protesters refused to leave.
Several dropped to their knees and were dragged away by police, while others willingly walked away once apprehended.
Among those arrested were CLASSE negotiators Philippe Lapointe and Justin Arcand. Lapointe was quickly released
All were fined $494 for violating article 500.1 of the highway code.