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Canada students protests erupts!
« on: May 24, 2012, 11:33:05 AM »
Canada student protests erupt into political crisis with mass arrests

"More than 500 people were arrested in Montreal on Wednesday night as protestors defied controversial new law Bill 78
"Bill 78 places restrictions on demonstration rights and was rushed through by legislators in response to the student protests. Photograph: Olivier Jean/Reuters
Protests that began in opposition to tuition fees in Canada have exploded into a political crisis with the mass arrest of hundreds of demonstrators amid a backlash against draconian emergency laws.

More than 500 people were arrested in a demonstration in Montreal on Wednesday night as protesters defied a controversial new law – Bill 78 – that places restrictions on the right to demonstrate. In Quebec City, police arrested 176 people under the provisions of the new law.

Demonstrators have been gathering in Montreal for just over 100 days to oppose tuition increases by the Quebec provincial government. On Tuesday, about 100 people were arrested after 150,000 people took the streets, according to some estimates.

But what began as a protest against university fee increases has expanded to a wider movement to oppose Bill 78, which was rushed through by legislators in Quebec in response to the demonstrations. The bill imposes severe restrictions on protests, making it illegal for protesters to gather without having given police eight hours' notice and securing a permit.

On Wednesday night, police in Montreal used kettling techniques – officers surrounding groups of protesters and not allowing them in or out of the resulting circle – before conducting a mass arrest.

Using the provisions provided in Bill 78, police immediately declared Wednesday's protest illegal, but allowed it to continue for about four hours before surrounding protesters and making arrests.

The Montreal Gazette reported that 518 people were arrested, the largest number detained in a single night so far. Montreal police constable Daniel Fortier said rocks were thrown at police, the newspaper added. Fortier said most of those arrested would face municipal bylaw infractions for being at an illegal assembly.

Protesters have vowed to continue the nightly protests that began on 14 February when Quebec's liberal provincial government announced it would introduce tuition fee increases over a five-year period. The Quebec government's department of education, leisure and sport says fees would go up by $325 (£200) per year for five years from autumn 2012, a total increase of $1,625.

The protests have resulted in a backlash against the Quebec prime minister, Jean Charest, who has refused to back down over the tuition fee increase, and the new law.

Students have been boycotting classes over the past three months, arguing that the increases would lead to an increased dropout rate and more debt.

In response to the protests, the provincial government rushed through emergency legislation 18 May. The bill suspends the current academic term iand provides for when and how classes are to resume. Controversially, Bill 78 also imposes severe restrictions on when and where people are allowed to protest.

The law requires demonstrators to give police a precise itinerary and eight hours' notice before being allowed to protest in groups of over 50 people.

Some legal experts argue that the bill contravenes Canada's charter of rights and freedoms. Montreal constitutional lawyer Julius Grey told the Vancouver Sun that Bill 78 was "flagrantly unconstitutional". Opposition has come from the Quebec Bar Association and the Quebec human rights commission.

In an appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live in the US on Saturday night, the Grammy award-winning band Arcade Fire, who come from Montreal, wore symbolic red squares of cloth on their chests during their performance, in support of the protests."


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Re: Canada students protests erupts!
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 11:52:25 AM »
Mel that's really interesting and I hope the students and law specialists win their fight!
Missed that  SNL.
- Yowbarb


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