Students protest in spite of tuition hike rollbacks
Published Saturday, September 22, 2012 11:42AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:27PM EDT
MONTREAL - Two demonstrators were arrested and one police officer hurt at a lively tuition march in Montreal on Saturday afternoon.
The CLASSE student group organized the demonstration, which marched off from Lafontaine Park at 2:50 p.m, in spite of the PQ government’s recent tuition rollback.
The demonstrators did not provide the itinerary for the march and then some protesters started pelting police with projectiles.
One was hit at a spot near the Lotto-Quebec building on Sherbrooke St. and suffered a slight injury to the knee.
The police declared the protest illegal at around 4:30 p.m. and warned protesters to disperse. The two arrests made were on as-of-yet unspecified charges.
The protest was held in spite of attempts to appease the demands of the tuition protesters, whose request to rollback the Charest Liberals' hikes was rapidly addressed when Premier Pauline Marois took power.
However the student group hit the pavement in spite of the rollback, as it has on the 22nd of each month since the spring.
CLASSE co-spokesperson Jeanne Reynolds conceded that the group, “must celebrate a victory,” but that the struggle must continue.
The CLASSE student group seeks free education and the Marois government has instead proposed tuition hikes indexed to inflation.
Reynolds believes that future tuition hikes necessitate keeping pressure on elected officials.
The former leader of one of the other two most vocal student groups disagreed with that view.
PQ MNA Léo Bureau-Blouin, former leader of the Quebec Federation of College Students, now believes that indexing is “reasonable and acceptable.”
Quebec Solidaire, which supports free education, was represented at the march by MNA Françoise David.
“Just a little tax on the banks profit could make the difference. So yes, it’s possible but we have to take our time,” said Quebec Solidaire Co-Leader Francoise David.
Some protesters expressed the sentiment that the demonstrations should continue as a method to keep the tuitions low.
"These victories prove that a social movement can win further goals and of course we will keep pushing,” one told CTV Montreal.
Another agreed that university tuition fees, already at the bottom of the Canadian scale, are low thanks largely to the marches.
“It's cheap because we fight for it,” she said.
-With a file from The Canadian Press