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Student strike and protest marks 10-year anniversary of Quebec's Maple Spring

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Ten years ago, massive student protests took over Montreal, in a movement that came to be called the 'Maple Spring.'

At the time, they were demanding a freeze on tuition, and they are credited as helping to bring down Jean Charest's Liberal government.

To mark the anniversary, protesters are gathering in Montreal's downtown core on Tuesday again, demanding free education at all levels.

The event began at 1 p.m. at Place du Canada. The group Gratuité scolaire said 50 student associations representing 85,000 students are planning to strike, demanding free tuition.

"It has been 10 years since the historic demonstration against the tuition fee hike in 2012," organizers of the protest wrote on their Facebook event page. "Although the drastic increase being proposed at the time was blocked, it has been replaced with yearly indexed increases, causing access to post-secondary education to become more and more expensive and inaccessible."

The protests launched the political careers of some of the protesters including Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who was a leading figure and is now the parliamentary leader for Quebec Solidaire.

The group says it costs $4,310 annually to attend post-secondary education.

"Even today, free education is a viable project that, with the necessary political will, could be implemented without much difficulty," the organizers wrote.

 

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