Apparently there have been massive protests in Quebec over recent tuition hikes. Like most of you I didn’t even know about the situation until things got violent.
Due to a tuition increase of 75% over the next five years about 170,000 students have been on strike for three months, however things turned sour on Friday, April 20th.
According to the Toronto Sun
Montreal police had to call on their provincial police brethren to help control the protesters, some of whom pelted officers with bricks, rocks, and bottles. Protesters also set up barricades made from construction site materials and restaurant patio furniture to impede the circulation of police.
Officers responded with stun grenades, pepper spray and batons.
Student federation spokesman, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said that violence broke out after the authorities “quickly and brutally” intervened at the Montreal Convention Centre where the Premiere of Quebec, Jean Charest was scheduled to speak.
According to Montreal police
their actions were in response to protesters who entered the centre through the garage and others who started to vandalize the building.
Montreal police say that two protesters were injured, however the QMI Agency reports that many protesters were beaten with batons and that they were bloody and bruised.
Charest was very nonchalant about the whole ordeal saying “The (event) that we’re holding today is very popular. People are running all over the place to get in.”
Nadeau-Dubois was not pleased with the premier’s antics. He told the QMI Agency that Charest’s comments will likely result in more violence. According to Nadeau-Dubois “After (Charest’s comments), all my calls for calm won’t do anything. He’s laughing at us. I don’t know if he realizes were in a crisis right now.”
The protests have been dubbed the Maple Spring and according to Canadian news outlet the Chronicle Herald they encompass more than dissatisfaction with tuition hikes.
According to the Herald
That point was repeatedly driven home Friday by protesters who signaled that the unrest was about more than university fees — it was about the general direction of the province.
Student protester, Alexis Remartini stated “It’s not just the tuition increase, the movement has grown to include other things we don’t agree with.”
Another protester, Nicolas Moran was bloodied by the police. According to him “I wasn’t doing anything violent. A police officer hit me over the head… But I doubt the education minister will denounce violence from police.”