University students in Montreal are staging a 12-hour 'marathon' protest as their ongoing demonstrations over a tuition fee hike come to a critical point.
Organizers have waves of students heading out on the streets of downtown Montreal every hour, from seven this morning until 7 this evening. Today's protest follows months of actions on the streets of Montreal in addition to boycotting classes.
Now Quebec's longest student strike ever, it is widely supported with 185,000 students striking -- nearly half the university body. The strike began in February with students demanding the government drop their plan for a $1,625 tuition increase over five years.
Student leader Jeanne Reynolds said bluntly, “There’s only one way to end this strike: cancel the tuition fee increase.”
Protesters today have cited police use of pepper spray on protesters, and the Montreal Media Co-op tweeted this earlier today:
— Coop média Montreal (@mtlmediacoop) April 11, 2012
And Montreal City and Press reports that police have used "chemical irritants" on protesters.
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A day of rolling student protests in downtown Montreal started off with police declaring a blockade at the Banque Nationale illegal.
The demonstrations Wednesday will take place over 12 hours in what organizers are calling a “marathon of intensive vindication.”
A new march will start every hour, originating from Victoria Square, and will take different routes through the city’s core.
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MONTREAL - It’s a crucial week in what is now historically the longest student strike in Quebec’s history, but there is no resolution in sight to the dispute over tuition fees or to the social unrest it has sparked.
Exams and final papers are just around the corner for Quebec’s university and CÉGEP students, but students and government officials are still at an impasse - and despite student leaders saying it was important the two sides meet this week, a government spokesperson said on Monday there were no talks planned. [...]
There are about 185,000 students on strike now - almost half the university and college population of 400,000. About 90,000 of them have agreed to an unlimited strike that won’t end until the government rescinds its plan for a $1,625 tuition increase over five years. [...]
The government has repeatedly said it would not enter into negotiations with students until they accept a tuition increase.
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