Hundreds of protesters have been arrested during a demonstration against Canada’s police tactics in the country’s second-largest city of Montreal.
The Friday demonstration was held in protest against the controversial municipal bylaw called P-6, which allows the police to declare a protest event illegal in case no itinerary is given to authorities prior to the protest.
At least 279 protesters were arrested and fined 637 Canadian dollars for participating in an ‘illegal’ protest.
The P-6 also forbids participants to cover their faces during a protest.
Critics say that the P-6 is a form of police repression.
The event on Friday was organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, also known as CLAC, who said the protest was a family-friendly event that aimed to “take back the streets.”
CLAC argues that holding a peaceful gathering is a right within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Since February, several protests against the P-6 have been held in Montreal, with a total of nearly 600 people arrested and fined.
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.
Students in the Canadian province of Quebec have pledged to continue protests after a court rejected a petition to scrap parts of a law that was passed to crush student protest over tuition hikes.
The controversial law was passed in May in the wake of clashes between police and students fighting an 82 percent hike in tuition fees in the French speaking province.
Judge Francois Rolland said on Wednesday that the parts in question do “not prevent protests, even if certain limitations are imposed.”
Students and their lawyers rejected the court’s ruling, saying they would consider appealing.
Under Special Law 78, the organizers must inform the police about the timing and locations of marches at least eight hours before they stage a protest. It also allows imposing heavy fines on protesters who fail to do so.
Critics believe the law breaches rights of assembly and free expression. Police have arrested many people since the start of the protests more than four month ago.
University students and student unions have been protesting since mid-February to draw international attention to the government’s announced plans to raise tuition fees and the passing of the controversial law.
- Canadian police arrest 400 in student protest in Montreal (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Canadian police have arrested some 400 people in Montreal in the latest student protest against tuition hikes, police say.
Several thousand demonstrators poured into Montreal’s central square late Wednesday to protest tuition hikes and to denounce a new legislation aimed at ending months of anti-tuition hikes protests.
Police clashed with the demonstrators and arrested nearly 400 protesters.
On Tuesday, tens of thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal to mark the 100th day of protests.
The protesters, carrying red banners and signs, marched through central Montreal to commemorate the day and also voice their opposition to the Quebec provincial government’s new law that would make protests more difficult to organize and impose stiff fines on those who disobey.
Since the law was passed on Friday, daily protests have often turned violent.
Under the new legislation, any individual, who prevents students from entering an educational institution or disrupts classes will be fined between CAD 1,000 and CAD 5,000.
The punishment will rise to between CAD 7,000 and CAD 35,000 for a student leader and to between CAD 25,000 and CAD 125,000 for student federations or unions.
The law also forces regulations to govern student protests, requiring protesters to inform the police of their demonstration plans, including an eight-hour notice for details, such as the itinerary, the duration, and the exact time of the action.
Quebec students have been holding almost daily demonstrations since February in an attempt to show their outrage at the proposed tuition fee rises.
Under the provisional agreement, university fees would increase by CAD 1,780 over seven years or about CAD 254 a year, bringing the total to CAD 4,000 per year. The plan is scheduled to be effective from 2012-13 until 2016-2017 academic years.