MONTREAL - Another student protest is underway downtown Montreal, causing police to urge drivers to avoid Sherbrooke between St. Denis and the Main Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp urged students to condemn intimidation against students who oppose the student strike.

Some opponents of the strike report to have been mocked, ridiculed and even jostled in hallways.

The Socially Responsible Students Movement, which claims 2,000 members through social networks, says they have been particularly targeted for bulling after supporting the tuition fee hikes.

Group leader Arielle Grenier said that her e-mail inbox has been flooded with hate messages and threats.

Education Minister Beauchamp said in a press conference Thursday that student representatives should act to end the climate of confrontation.

Thousands of striking students were expected to assemble in front of Premier Charest's downtown offices in Montreal Thursday to express their opposition to the tuition hikes.

About 48,500 students are now on strike, a total split almost evenly between college and university students.

Those numbers are expected to grow as more votes take place. Student groups say that the votes are attracting rough 75 percent student participation rate with some votes have supported the strike action up to 90 percent.

Seven learning institutions are currently on strike as are several departments and faculties at UQAM, Universite de Montreal and Universite Laval.

Votes are underway or planned at other institutions, including Concordia, McGill and Sherbrooke.

With a file from The Canadian Press