The group that arranged massive protest marches during the "red square" student movement, and that helped organize a rally for thousands on a sunny Friday afternoon in October, failed to generate much enthusiasm among protesters on Wednesday.

ASSE was hoping for thousands of demonstrators at a series of protests against "austerity," their term for the provincial government's plan to reduce spending on a host of social programs.

Turnout ranged from a handful of people at a 6 a.m. rally, to about 100 people for a protest at 8:45 p.m.

At some of the demonstrations there were more police officers than protesters.

Police said the final march, which began at Emelie Gamelin park, turned into a cat-and-mouse game when a handful of protesters hurled items at police, then ran off.

The protesters were dispersed but nobody was arrested.

Cegep du Vieux-Montreal was closed Wednesday, with ASSE claiming that its 33,000 students supported the protest movement.