A dozen arrests at tuition protest
Student protesters are hitting the bricks yet again, voicing their opposition to planned tuition hikes.
And, student radicals are promising more to come.
Tuesday afternoon, protesters marched from Victoria Square through McGill Ghetto and down to Place Emilie-Gamelin.
There was a confrontation between riot officers and the protesters on the corner of St-Denis and Cherrier.
"Our officers spotted some protesters breaking the law," said Sgt. Laurent Gingras with the Montreal Police. That's when he says police went to arrest them, and they were attacked by other protesters. It didn't take long before the tension grew. Police launched stun grenades into the air in an attempt to dissipate the group of what organizers say was 10,000 strong.
Many left but one group went north on St-Denis, the other south. Eventually, they met back at the corner of Berri and Ontario streets.
One male police officer and several protesters were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Protesters smashed two police vehicles and damaged business-front windows, including at the Loto-Quebec building.
There were 13 arrests, three women and 10 men.
The cause is the same, the tactics are pretty much the same, but the target is different.
Instead of the Charest Liberals, the PQ under Pauline Marois are in power. Earlier in the day, as she wrapped up a two-day summit on higher education, she declared the era of student protests are over, though it appears the government is pressing ahead with its preferred option of indexing university tuition fees to the cost of inflation, which would effectively mean a tuition hike of roughly $70 per year.
The student groups who took part in the summit were generally in favor of a freeze on tuition fees. The militant ASSÉ group, which boycotted the summit, is in favor of free tuition.
ASSÉ organized Tuesday's protest, which made its way through the streets of downtown, starting at Victoria Square, and wrapping up at St. Louis Square, near the corner of St-Denis and Cherrier in the Quartier Latin district.
Protesters have been throwing things at police and government buildings during the protest. Some eggs have been thrown at the Loto-Quebec building, which houses CREPUQ, the group that brings together Quebec's university rectors.
Montreal police report two arrests so far.
Meanwhile, a group calling itself Mouvement Étudiant has started a Facebook page, calling for nightly protests to begin at Place Émilie-Gamelin, the focal point of last year's nightly protests, starting on Tuesday, March 5.
• No consensus on tuition at summit
With files from CJAD's Richard Deschamps