Quebec students mobilize in largest demonstration to date

March 23, 2012

Tens of thousands of Quebec students descended on downtown Montreal Thursday for the latest -- and so far the largest -- in a series of protests against planned tuition fee increases. The total number of participants could not be determined, but one student representative claimed that 200,000 were in attendance (the number of students supporting the unlimited strike is approximately 300,000). Police said there were no arrests during the demonstration and credited the peaceful march for keeping to the planned route. Quebec Premier Jean Charest remained unmoved by the turnout, which came two days after the provincial budget was tabled. He said the tuition fee increases were thought out for years, and reflect the Liberal government's will to give the province a "world-class" PSE system. Even after the hikes, students will end up paying 17% of the cost of their education, he said. Students argue that the hikes will limit access to education in Quebec and have vowed to continue demonstrating until the increases are abandoned. Throwing her support being the striking students, Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois has pledged that a PQ government would annul the hikes. A provincial election has to be held by the end of 2013. Globe and Mail | Montreal Gazette | CBC | CTV