Quebec police arrest 19 protesting students as classes resume
Police arrested 19 students Monday under the terms of Bill 78, which ordered a suspension of university classes back in May and their reinstatement in August even if the students planed to continue their strike. The bill also restricts the student demonstrations and imposes fines for those who impeded classes, starting at CAD 1,000.
The classes were supposed to resume this week, as the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province against proposed tuition fee hikes.
Some 2,000 students at the departments of anthropology and cinema voted to continue their protest and prevented the start of classes.
The recent protest comes ahead of next week’s provincial election, which will decide whether the province’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.
The latest opinion poll shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) led by Pauline Marois heading for a victory in the election to be held on September 4th. Marois is the protester’s favorite candidate and has been wearing the red square, the symbol of the demonstrators’ cause, on several public occasions.
If the separatist PQ is elected in the upcoming provincial election, it will consider holding a referendum on separation of Quebec from Canada.
Since February, students have been protesting against the hikes and the provincial government’s controversial anti-protest Bill 78. The protests later turned into a larger movement dubbed the “maple revolution,” which reveals deeper social unrest.
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