Protests flared through the streets of Montréal today as thousands gathered at the Place du Canada to march against tuition fee hikes and the Liberal government of Jean Charest. For the past six months mass demonstrations have been held on the 22nd of each month to keep the heat on the government. With a provincial election scheduled for September 4, students are determined to keep the issues of access to education and the draconian Bill 78 alive.
Yuko and I arrived into Montréal late last night, just in time to join the festivities. It was exhilarating to take part and witness the revitalization of the protests. Organizers were encouraged to see more people participating than previous months, but estimates varied widely.
According to the Montreal Gazette, La Coalition large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE) put the number at 100,000, while a counting firm hired by Radio-Canada put it at 12,250, and some journalists placed it at closer to 20,000.
(With Guerrilla Panda)The whole event was conducted peacefully and lasted about two hours. Much of the media has been trying to write off the students, calling past turn-outs "anemic" and suggesting the movement is dwindling. But after today, that may only be wishful thinking.
(Socking it to Charest)